Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is pressured by New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Photo by Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
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.
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