TORONTO Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who had a sprained left index finger sat out Friday's game against the Toronto Raptors, who were without forward Chris Bosh because of a strained groin.
James, the league's leading scorer, is averaging 30.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said guard Devin Brown would start in James' place.
Brown said the decision to sit James was more precaution than necessity.
"If it was a playoff game, I don't know if I could sit him down," Brown said.
Bosh, Toronto's leading scorer and rebounder, left Wednesday night's victory over Memphis early in the second quarter. He is averaging 18.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
PROTEST REJECTED: NBA commissioner David Stern denied a game protest Friday by Dallas, ruling that a field goal incorrectly counted as a 3-pointer didn't impact the outcome of the Mavericks' four-point loss to Indiana. The official scorer inadvertently recorded a basket by Troy Murphy as a 3-pointer with 9:59 left in the second quarter of the Mavericks' 111-107 loss on Nov. 23. Stern decided against a replay of the game because there were 34 minutes remaining at the time of the error, giving Dallas "substantial opportunity to overcome the 1-point error," according to a statement released by the NBA.
PARKER STILL MISSING: Smush Parker was on the Miami Heat inactive list again Friday night, while the team investigated an altercation earlier in the week between the guard and a valet parking attendant. Parker is not expected to travel with Miami on Saturday. The team opens a six-game road trip in Denver on Sunday. He has not been suspended by the team, yet will remain inactive until the team completes its look into what happened. Police have said Parker got into an argument Tuesday morning over whether he had paid a $12 valet parking fee at a condominium. He has not been charged, but an incident report was filed by a female attendant who alleged she was assaulted by Parker.
O'NEAL BACK FOR PACERS: Jermaine O'Neal was back in the Indiana Pacers' starting lineup on Friday after missing the previous five games because of a knee injury, Coach Jim O'Brien decided to put O'Neal in the starting lineup instead of bringing him off the bench, and intended on playing him in spurts of about 6 minutes.
KNEE SIDELINES MCCANTS: Minnesota Timberwolves guard Rashad McCants was a surprise scratch Friday night against San Antonio because of what the team called a sore right knee. McCants, who is Minnesota's second-leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, missed one game earlier this season after spraining his right ankle. His right knee, however, is more of a concern for the Timberwolves; the third-year player from North Carolina, a first-round draft pick in 2005, had microfracture surgery on that knee in June 2006 and missed more than half of last season.