LeBron James inactive and out against Bulls


Jan 15

When Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said LeBron James was doubtful to face the Bulls following the Heat’s morning shootaround, he wasn’t kidding. James will be inactive when the teams face off at the United Center for the first time this season.

Spoelstra said approximately two hours before tip-off that that James was a game-time decision after receiving treatment all day on his sprained left ankle and would take the court to warm up before a determination is made.

James didn’t participate in his team’s Saturday morning shootaround at the United Center.

“We have not ruled him out for tonight, but it is doubtful [he plays],” said Spoelstra of James following the team’s shootaround. “He is feeling better and he’s going to come over on the first bus, get treatment and try to loosen it up. We’ll make that determination then.”

Spoelstra acknowledged that the team will factor in that the Heat have only two games in next 11 days when determining whether James plays in Chicago.

“That’s part of it,” said Spoelstra. “He’s moving around better. It will come down to two things. One, can it become worse? Two, what’s his comfort level with it? He’s a very competitive guy, he wants to play, and we will have some time off to rest if he needs it after this.”

James suffered the sprained ankle during a 111-105 loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers on Wednesday. It kept him out of action on Thursday, when the Heat fell 130-102 in Denver to the Nuggets.

Prior to those contents, Miami had won 21 of 22 games. The Heat haven’t lost three games in a row since Nov. 20-24.

Audio— Miami coach Erik Spoelstra at shootaround (01.15.11):

Audio—Heat guard Dwyane Wade at shootaround (01.15.11):

Audio—Heat forward Chris Bosh at shootaround (01.15.11):

Bulls vs. Heat season notes

Miami took the season series last year (3-1) … it was the second straight year Miami claimed the season series (defeated Chicago 3-1 during the 2008-09 season) … Chicago’s lone victory was a 95-91 win at the UC on Feb. 6, 2010 … the last time Chicago won the season series was during the 2007-08 season (2-1) … in two games last season, Luol Deng averaged a team high 25.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg, while Dwyane Wade posted 19.8 ppg, 7.0 apg and 3.5 rpg in four games against the Bulls … Chicago is 26-14 all-time against Miami in Chicago … last season, Miami averaged 99.3 ppg, while Chicago posted 87.8 ppg against the Heat … the Bulls are 18-23 all-time in Miami … on the year, Miami ranks second in FG% (.475), second in points allowed (92.2), first in opponents FG% (.423) and first in opponents 3FG% (.316) … LeBron James (25.3 ppg) ranks third in the NBA in scoring, while Wade (24.9 ppg) is tied for fifth.

Audio—Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau’s pregame comments (01.15.11):

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