"But he still played through the game, and I thought he was great. We needed it, definitely", James told ESPN after the hard-fought victory.
There was also a moment of uncertainty when, near the end of the game, Orlando's Aaron Gordon sank a 45-footer as the horn sounded. But Gordon committed a jump-ball violation with the move and Cleveland then only had to inbound the ball to come away with a win that shouldn't have been so hard. "I know I am getting close".
LeBron James followed up with 16 points despite not having his A-game on Thursday - going 7-for-16 from the floor but missing all four three-point attempts and finishing just 2-of-8 from the stripe. "It was a lot of back and forth".
"Us just being in a little funk".
More pressing for James is the need to keep the Cavs on track for a return to a fourth straight NBA Finals, what would be the eighth in a row for James and ninth overall after his run with Miami. Obviously we had a great first half on Monday (against Golden State), great first half today and the same result. "Obviously, we know we've been struggling as of late, so we're just trying to figure out how we can put two halves together".
"Whatever we do, we've got to do better in the third quarter", Lue said. He is 25 points away from becoming the seventh player in National Basketball Association history to reach 30,000 career points.
"We got stagnant on offense".
That will be particularly important against a potentially explosive Oklahoma City team led by reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook. It seems, even at 33 years old, James is finding new ways to dazzle with his court vision. It's going to take some work. He has missed two of the last five games and has been on a minutes restriction as well. "We can't play around with the game and we did that in the third quarter".