The Miami Heat are glad to have LeBron James around, no matter what he is wearing. However, the Heat were content to see James wear a clear mask on his face on March 1, instead of the superhero/villain-esq black mask he wore in his first game back from a broken nose. But just as the black mask didn't make a difference for James or the Heat, the white mask didn't change anything either as the Heat still rolled past the Orlando Magic.
Miami's 112-98 victory was its seventh in a row, which includes one win without James, one with James in a black mask and now one with a regular white mask. With the black mask, James scored 31 points in an easy win over the New York Knicks on Feb. 27, yet he only had 20 points with a more conventional clear mask.
Nevertheless, he almost had a triple double anyway with nine rebounds and seven assists, and only needed to play 31 minutes while taking only 12 shots. Dwayne Wade actually led the way for the Heat with 24 points of his own, while Chris Bosh added 17.
No other Miami players scored in double figures, yet they combined to shoot over 58 percent from the floor. Although six Orlando players scored in double figures, the Magic only shot 44 percent and went four-for-18 from beyond the arc.
It was a methodical win for the Heat, without any super heroics or big fashion statements. Miami is coming towards the point of the season where wins matter more than style, and it is starting to win in every which way again.
Now that James' mask color isn't an issue, the bigger concern is how long he will have to keep wearing one at all. The Knicks and Orlando Magic weren't equipped to take advantage in any case, and the Charlotte Bobcats don't stand to do much better on March 3 -- yet the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs might be another matter in the week ahead.