James scores 22 points in return from flu but Spurs still beat Cavaliers 105-98

By Paul J. Weber, AP
Friday, October 16, 2009

James scores 22 in return from flu, but Cavs lose

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James is apparently feeling much better.

James returned from missing a game with the flu and scored 22 points in 19 minutes in a 105-98 preseason loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

James, who said before the game his flu recovery was going well, was 7 of 14 from the field and had six rebounds. He’s still expected to sit out Saturday’s game against Dallas.

Tony Parker scored 22 points to lead the Spurs, who were without coach Gregg Popovich who wasn’t sick, just taking the night off.

Along with James, Darnell Jackson and Coby Karl of the Cavaliers also tested positive for Influenza A. Six Cleveland players have had flu-like symptoms this week.

Karl and Jackson returned with James, and Cleveland coach Mike Brown said everyone was on the upswing.

Mo Williams scored 15 points and had six assists for Cleveland, while Shaquille O’Neal made just 3 of 11 shots, finishing with eight points and 13 rebounds.

Tim Duncan scored 13 points and had nine rebounds for the Spurs before watching the second half from the bench, where he was the key authority figure in Popovich’s absence. Popovich gave his assistants a crack at coaching, which isn’t a unique move for him during the preseason.

James stayed home Wednesday when the Cavs lost to Washington. He had spent two days in bed battling the bug but arrived in Texas looking refreshed.

He sailed high just 4 minutes into the game to snatch a half-court alley-oop pass from Williams and throw it down. He ran backward with a huge grin after hitting a tough 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, then took a seat for the rest of the night.

The crew of replacement officials called 61 fouls, and the teams combined to shoot 78 free throws.

Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili didn’t play for the Spurs. Parker shot 7 of 14 from the field and had seven assists, and George Hill scored 13 points.

Jamario Moon scored 12 points and Russell Robinson had 11 for Cleveland.

James has said he believes he may have gotten the flu from the shot he and his teammates got recently to fight the virus. The Cavs treated James, Jackson and Karl as if they had the H1N1 virus but have only tested positive for Influenza A. The team has not gotten the results to see whether they had H1N1.

Jackson scored four points in 23 minutes and Karl went 1 for 7 from the field, finishing with two points.

Cavs guard Delonte West, who has spent time away from the club this month while dealing with personal and legal issues, was with the team but didn’t play. Brown said he’ll let Cavs general manager Danny Ferry decide when West is ready to return.

West is being treated for bipolar disorder and has pending misdemeanor weapons charges after he was arrested in Maryland carrying three loaded guns.

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