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The New York Knicks' Shannon Brown dunks against the Miami Heat's Norris Cole during the first quarter at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

Masked man of dominance in Miami

MIAMI -- Nothing is slowing down the Heat at this point in the season -- not broken noses, not masks and certainly not the broken New York Knicks and their masquerading excuse for a basketball team.

With LeBron James back in the lineup after sustaining a broken nose last week, the Heat made easy work of the Knicks, defeating Carmelo Anthony's team 108-82 on Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. James waited until the lights were dimmed for player introductions to reveal his protective black mask. The scene played out like some kind of hardwood adaptation of Phantom of the Opera.

And that was the only compelling scene on a night when the Heat shot 60.8 from the field, James outscored Anthony 31-29 and the Knicks -- the dreadful, embarrassing Knicks -- allowed 66 points in the paint, went 31 of 83 from the field (37.3 percent) and made just 4 of 23 attempts from three-point range.

The Heat went 9-1 in the month of February and is playing its best basketball of the season. James subbed out of the game with 6:49 left in the fourth quarter with the Heat leading by 28 points. He was 13 of 19 from the field, 1 of 2 from three-point range and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line to go along with four assists and four rebounds.

"He played like Batman," Chris Bosh said of James.

"It was swag," Norris Cole said of James' mask.

Amid his best stretch of the season, Dwyane Wade was once again active offensively and finished with 23 points. He was 10 of 13 from the field, including 7-of-10 shooting in the first half. With James somewhat tentative to begin the game, Wade went deep into his repertoire of moves during a first half that featured a running hook shot and a driving Euro-step against Tim Hardaway Jr.

In his first game at AmericanAirlines Arena as a professional, Hardaway, the son of the Heat legend, went 2 of 14 from the field for six points. He was outplayed by Heat reserve guard Cole, who went 5 of 9 from the field for 11 points.

The only bright spot for the Knicks this season has been the play of Anthony, the high-volume scorer and close friend of James. Anthony had 24 points in the first half, and the Knicks trailed by only five. But the one-man scoring machine couldn't keep up the pace. He finished the game 11 of 20 from the field, 3 of 8 from three-point range and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line.

An alley-oop dunk by Tyson Chandler from Pablo Prigioni cut the Heat's lead to 61-59 less than four minutes into the second half, but the Heat easily rebuilt its lead. A nifty scooping layup by Mario Chalmers gave the Heat an eight-point lead, and a cutting dunk by James on an assist from Shane Battier put Miami ahead by 11. Wade gave the Heat a 14-point lead with more artistry inside.

Chalmers scored 11 points in 20 minutes, and Battier was the only Heat player to make more than one three-pointer. He was 2 of 4 from long distance. Bosh had six points in 24 minutes and was thoroughly outplayed by Chandler, who scored 19 points and had 16 rebounds.

Another cutting move by James -- this time with an assist from Cole -- put the Heat up by 20 points with 1:30 to play in the third quarter. Seconds later, Ray Allen made a three-pointer from the corner to begin the celebration. After a timeout, Chris Andersen swatted away a spinning layup attempt by Hardaway, and the rout of rival New York was officially under way.

Nothing is slowing down the Heat at this point in the season -- not broken noses, not masks and certainly not the broken New York Knicks and their masquerading excuse for a basketball team.

With LeBron James back in the lineup after sustaining a broken nose last week, the Heat made easy work of the Knicks, defeating Carmelo Anthony's team 108-82 on Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. James waited until the lights were dimmed for player introductions to reveal his protective black mask. The scene played out like some kind of hardwood adaptation of Phantom of the Opera.

And that was the only compelling scene on a night when the Heat shot 60.8 from the field, James outscored Anthony 31-29 and the Knicks -- the dreadful, embarrassing Knicks -- allowed 66 points in the paint, went 31 of 83 from the field (37.3 percent) and made just 4 of 23 attempts from three-point range.

The Heat went 9-1 in the month of February and is playing its best basketball of the season. James subbed out of the game with 6:49 left in the fourth quarter with the Heat leading by 28 points. He was 13 of 19 from the field, 1 of 2 from three-point range and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line to go along with four assists and four rebounds.

"He played like Batman," Chris Bosh said of James.

"It was swag," Norris Cole said of James' mask.

Amid his best stretch of the season, Dwyane Wade was once again active offensively and finished with 23 points. He was 10 of 13 from the field, including 7-of-10 shooting in the first half. With James somewhat tentative to begin the game, Wade went deep into his repertoire of moves during a first half that featured a running hook shot and a driving Euro-step against Tim Hardaway Jr.

In his first game at AmericanAirlines Arena as a professional, Hardaway, the son of the Heat legend, went 2 of 14 from the field for six points. He was outplayed by Heat reserve guard Cole, who went 5 of 9 from the field for 11 points.

The only bright spot for the Knicks this season has been the play of Anthony, the high-volume scorer and close friend of James. Anthony had 24 points in the first half, and the Knicks trailed by only five. But the one-man scoring machine couldn't keep up the pace. He finished the game 11 of 20 from the field, 3 of 8 from three-point range and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line.

An alley-oop dunk by Tyson Chandler from Pablo Prigioni cut the Heat's lead to 61-59 less than four minutes into the second half, but the Heat easily rebuilt its lead. A nifty scooping layup by Mario Chalmers gave the Heat an eight-point lead, and a cutting dunk by James on an assist from Shane Battier put Miami ahead by 11. Wade gave the Heat a 14-point lead with more artistry inside.

Chalmers scored 11 points in 20 minutes, and Battier was the only Heat player to make more than one three-pointer. He was 2 of 4 from long distance. Bosh had six points in 24 minutes and was thoroughly outplayed by Chandler, who scored 19 points and had 16 rebounds.

Another cutting move by James -- this time with an assist from Cole -- put the Heat up by 20 points with 1:30 to play in the third quarter. Seconds later, Ray Allen made a three-pointer from the corner to begin the celebration. After a timeout, Chris Andersen swatted away a spinning layup attempt by Hardaway, and the rout of rival New York was officially under way.

(c)2014 The Miami Herald

Visit The Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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HEAT


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