MIAMI – LeBron James, unhindered by the mask protecting his broken nose, poured in 31 points on Thursday to lead Miami to a 108-82 NBA rout of the New York Knicks.
James played for the first time since his nose was broken in a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder a week earlier.
He sat out the Heat’s victory over Chicago on Sunday, and said before the game he was a little concerned that the black protective mask obscured his vision just a bit.
“More than the fit, it’s just the peripheral vision gets a little slurred, looking to the left, looking to the right and having a little piece of plastic that you can kind of see,” he said.
On the floor however, the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player didn’t seem to be bothered, connecting on 13 of his 19 attempts from the floor.
Dwyane Wade added 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Miami, who shot 60.3 percent overall and pulled away for their sixth straight victory with a dominant third quarter.
The reeling Knicks dropped their fourth straight.
Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for New York and Tyson Chandler delivered a double-double of 19 points and 16 rebounds.
The Knicks, down by as many as 16 in the second quarter, trimmed the deficit to 55-50 at halftime.
But the Heat hit 12 of their 17 attempts in the third quarter, outscoring the visitors 32-14 to take firm control of the contest.
Wade capped an 11-0 scoring run with a three-point play that put Miami ahead by a 75-61 margin with less than four minutes remaining in the third.
James scored seven points in a 10-0 run that left the outcome in little doubt heading into the fourth period.
Knicks guard Raymond Felton, who was arrested on gun charges two days earlier, shot 1-of-7 from the field for two points.
Felton, facing charges of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm, can travel and play with the Knicks until a hearing on June 2.
Anthony said before the game that while interest in the matter could be a distraction for the Knicks, he thought game time was a respite for Felton and the rest of the team.
“I think the gym, the arena, is a place you can come and just kind of leave all that stuff behind for the two and a half hours that you’re in there,” Anthony said.