MIAMI (CBSSports) – Despite having an ice pack hugging his right shoulder, LeBron James insists he’ll be on the court for the Miami Heat’s next game.
He’s also insisting that the latest defeat for his team wasn’t a step back.
James and the Heat will try to avenge what was possibly their most embarrassing defeat of the season when they host the league-worst Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
Miami (14-6) fell 97-95 at home to Golden State on Wednesday. James was flagrantly fouled by David Lee in the second quarter and needed ice on his shoulder afterward.
“I’ll be ready by Saturday,” James vowed. “That’s all that matters.”
The Heat fell for the third time in five games, but James said there is not cause for concern after he had 31 points to extend his run of 20-point efforts to 25 consecutive games – the longest current streak in the NBA.
“It wasn’t a step back,” James said. “We played well, sometimes you don’t win all those games you play well.”
Miami fell to 2-2 on a six-game homestand after starting the season 8-0 at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
“It’s an inordinate amount of time that we spend here at home and we should be able to take advantage of that,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We haven’t done it quite the way we’ve liked to so we’ll move onto the next game.”
This homestand began after a surprising 105-101 defeat at Washington (3-17) on Dec. 4. The Heat wasted a triple-double by James, who had 26 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds, while Dwyane Wade scored 24.
Jordan Crawford scored a team-high 22 points off the bench for the Wizards, who expect the Heat to want to exact a measure of revenge.
“It’s good that we just played them and it’s obviously good for our guys I think that we won,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “I think they know that, they’ve played in this league long enough to understand that there are games that different teams point to with what’s happened before.”
The Wizards have actually won three straight over the Heat, but two victories in April came when James sat out since he was gearing up for the postseason.
Washington will present a different challenge with two new starters in its lineup compared to the last meeting. Crawford has started the last three games at point guard while Martell Webster is at forward in place of Trevor Ariza, who has been out since he strained his left calf in the win over the Heat.
Webster may not be as much of a concern to Miami since fellow swingman Cartier Martin scored a season-high 21 points in Friday’s 102-96 home loss to the Lakers.
“With Trevor being out, he’s been getting minutes and you base off those minutes, how the game’s flowing,” said Wittman about Martin. “He’ll have every opportunity again in Miami tomorrow to come out and do those same things. That’s kind of how I believe in him.”
Washington is 1-9 on the road.
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