James misses Bulls game because of broken nose

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 23, 2014 at 5:53 pm •  Published: February 23, 2014
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MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James was held out by the Miami Heat on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls because of his broken nose, missing a game for only the second time this season.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said the decision, announced less than two hours before tipoff, was "somewhat close." But after Miami beat Chicago 93-79, Spoelstra said he didn't want to risk James aggravating the injury.

"One serious hit to the face would have been very tough," Spoelstra said. "It would have been a big setback."

James was replaced in the lineup by center Greg Oden, who made his first NBA start since December 2009. Oden, a former No. 1 overall draft pick mounting a comeback from knee trouble, had five points and five rebounds in 13 minutes.

James has been in top form lately, scoring at least 33 points in each of the past four games, all wins. But he had no problem with the decision to keep him on the bench, Spoelstra said.

"He didn't stand up and put up his dukes and fight us," the coach said. "We still understand the big picture. The fact that we don't play until Thursday, it makes the most sense."