James helps Heat beat Magic 112-98

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm •  Published: March 1, 2014
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MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James caught an alley-oop flip from Dwyane Wade on a fast break, threw down a dunk and then headed up court with his arms spread like some superhero.

James can look the part, whether he's wearing a clear mask or a black one.

Switching to a clear protective cover at the NBA's request, James had 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists Saturday to help the Miami Heat earn their seventh consecutive victory by beating the Orlando Magic 112-98.

James dispensed with the black mask he wore Thursday when playing for the first time since he broke his nose.

"He was a clear-mask guy tonight," teammate Chris Bosh said. "He was just a regular dude, a regular citizen of Gotham."

Wade scored 24 points and Bosh 20 for the Heat, who shot 58 percent. Eleven players scored for the Heat, and their bench totaled 39 points.

James said league officials wanted him to wear something that would allow opponents to see his face. The newer mask seemed to bother James more than the black one did, and he frequently took it off when the clock was stopped.

"It's not comfortable," he said. "Having something on your face isn't comfortable, but it is what it is."

While the mask was a nuisance and James' nose remained tender, neither hindered his performance.

"It's another challenge for a great player," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "His game is an aggressive, attacking game, and there's going to be contact. But coming off the injury, he has been as aggressive as he was before."

James' streak of five consecutive games with more than 30 points came to an end, but he took just 12 shots and played only 31 minutes.

"When you come out and take care of business, that's a reward," he said.

After sitting out a week because of his broken nose, he avoided another injury when he went stumbling into the third row after making a fast-break layup and settled in an unoccupied seat.

The Heat improved to 10-1 since Feb. 1, and they've won their past four games by an average of 19 points.

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