LeBron James started things off with a flourish tonight, opening the game with a 6-for-6 tear on his way to 14 first quarter points and a 34-17 Heat lead in Oklahoma City. While their lead waffled a bit, James poured in 33 on the night for a 22-point thrasing of the Western Conference-leading Thunder. But he didn’t finish the game after breaking his nose during a posterization of Serge Ibaka in the fourth quarter.
You can see James line Ibaka up and stutter-step before driving to his right towards the bucket. At the apex of his jump and extension with the ball, when he was most vulnerable, James appears to gets bonked in the nose by a flailing Ibaka right hand. James still finishes the play over Ibaka’s outstretched arms, but crumples to the court.
Serge Ibaka inadvertently hits LeBron in the face, draws blood.
— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) February 21, 2014
After James connected on the dunk, with no foul called, he stayed curled up along the baseline, and cameras caught blood gushing from his nose on to the floor.
LeBron Leakin' pic.twitter.com/D0hXKx2Bja
— jose3030 (@jose3030) February 21, 2014
James went to the locker-room with a towel on his face and never returned. Not that the Heat needed him too. They finished with a dominating 103-81 win on the road, solidifying their new-found interest in the last stretch of the regular season as they prepare to go for a 3-peat.
James was 15-of-22 from the field for a game-high 33 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and four steals. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had 24 points each to round out the Heat who scoring among the big three. Kevin Durant, quiet in Westbrook’s return, scored 28 points in the loss on 10-of-22 shooting.
(video via Frank Den)
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