Masked James top-scores as the Heat trounce Knicks

AFP, MIAMI

Sat, Mar 01, 2014 - Page 19

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.

However, on the floor the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player did not 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.

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 one-of-seven 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.

In other play, it was:

‧ Indiana 101, Milwaukee 96

‧ Washington 134, Toronto 129