Masked LeBron James scores 31 points as the Miami Heat ripped the New York Knicks 108-82

Mask is protecting his broken nose

UNDATED (AP) -- LeBron James wore a dark mask on Thursday to protect his broken nose, and it did nothing to alter his usual offensive display against the New York Knicks.

The Miami forward hit the 30-point plateau for the fifth consecutive game, pouring in 31 on 13 of 19 shooting as the Heat ripped the Knicks 108-82 in Miami. James was back on the court after missing Sunday's game due to his busted beak.

Dwyane Wade also had the hot hand, hitting 10 of his 13 field-goal attempts to finish with 23 points.

The Heat shot 61 percent overall and turned it into a rout by outscoring the Knicks 23-3 over the last seven minutes of the third quarter. Miami also shut out Carmelo Anthony after he torched them for 29 points over the first 26 1/2 minutes.

The Heat's sixth straight win keeps them two games behind Indiana for the NBA's Eastern Conference lead.

The Pacers blew a 17-point lead in the first half before improving to an NBA-best 28-3 at home.

Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Pacers rallied for a 101-96 win over lowly Milwaukee. Paul George and Lance Stephenson each scored 18 points for the Pacers, who led by 12 late in the first half before the Bucks went on a 22-4 run to go up by six early in the third quarter.

   Indiana still owns the NBA's best record after improving to 44-13.

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