James helps Heat beat Magic 112-98
MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James' switch to a clear mask didn't hinder his shooting eye, and he had 20 points Saturday to help the Miami Heat earn their seventh consecutive victory by beating the Orlando Magic 112-98.
At the NBA's request, James dispensed with the black mask he wore Thursday when playing for the first time since he broke his nose. He missed only four shots, grabbed nine rebounds and had seven assists.
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and Chris Bosh 20 for the Heat, who shot 58 percent. Eleven players scored for the Heat, and their bench totaled 39 points.
The newer mask seemed to bother James more than the black one did, and he frequently took it off when the clock was stopped. But while it was a nuisance, it didn't hinder his performance.
His streak of five consecutive games with more than 30 points came to an end, but he played only 31 minutes and took just 12 shots. 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. They completed a sweep of the four-game season series against their in-state rivals.
The game was the first for the last-place Magic since they broke a 16-game road losing streak at Philadelphia on Wednesday. Tobias Harris led Orlando with 20 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 18.
Heat guard Mario Chalmers had the highlight play of the first half, fetching a loose ball while seated at midcourt with his back to his basket, then flipping a pass over his shoulder to James to set up a fast-break basket.
James had a throw-down dunk after catching an alley-oop flip from Wade in the second half for another fast-break score.
NOTES: Orlando's Arron Afflalo missed his fourth consecutive game. He was out with a sprained ankle and is now recovering from a brief illness. ... The Heat improved to 15-0 at home when leading at halftime.