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LeBron, Heat thrash Knicks

AP

For LeBron James, the mask was distinctive.

His effort, that was basically the same as usual.

So, too, was the outcome for the New York Knicks.

Playing with a dark carbon-fiber mask to protect his broken nose — a “menacing” look is how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra described it — James scored 31 points to help Miami beat the reeling Knicks 108-82 on Thursday night.

“I tried to put pressure on the defense, tried to make plays and I was happy to be back on the floor,” said James, who missed one game because of the nose, which got broken on Feb. 20 at Oklahoma City.

James made 13 of 19 shots and topped 30 points for his fifth consecutive outing. He said he plans to play with a mask for the next couple weeks, at least.

“As much as I don’t like it, I have to figure out how to make it work,” James said.

Dwyane Wade added 23 points, shooting 10-for-13 from the field. The Heat outscored New York 23-3 over the final 7:02 of the third and won their sixth straight.

Miami shot 61 percent, while the Knicks shot 37 percent.

Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points for New York, but none in the final 21:38. Tyson Chandler had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 11 points for the Knicks, who fell to 2-10 in February.

“I don’t know if we got defused or what,” Anthony said. We didn’t bounce back.”

Raymond Felton, in his first game since being arrested on gun charges, missed six of seven shots and scored only two points for the Knicks.

Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen each scored 11 points for the Heat.

James got the buzz for this one going just before tipoff, strapping the mask over the top half of his face, the deviation from the usual clear-plastic look enough to send Twitter users into some sort of commenting overdrive.

“He played like Batman,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said.

More importantly for Miami, the mask didn’t seem to impair James’ vision much. He had 11 in the opening quarter, and the Heat finished the period with a six-point lead and soon stretched the margin to 16 in the second quarter.

Wizards 134, Raptors 129 (3OT)

In Toronto, Trevor Ariza scored the go-ahead basket on a fast-break layup with 1:20 left in the third overtime and Washington outlasted the Raptors for its fifth straight victory.

Marcin Gortat fouled out with 31 points and 12 rebounds, John Wall also had 31 points, and Ariza fouled out with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points in 58 minutes for Toronto, and Kyle Lowry fouled out with 18 points, 10 assists and nine boards in 54 minutes. Greivis Vasquez added a season-high 26 points.

Pacers 101, Bucks 96

In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds to help Indiana rally to beat Milwaukee.

Paul George and Lance Stephenson had 18 points apiece for the Pacers.

Nets 112, Nuggets 89

In Denver, Paul Pierce scored 18 points and Brooklyn rebounded from its worst loss in 11 years by routing the slumping Nuggets.

Randy Foye had 15 points to lead Denver.