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LeBron James, on shot to already-broken nose: ‘It feels like my nose is broken’ (video)

The Miami Heat headed to the Toyota Center to take on the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, two teams on remarkable runs as of late. The Heat came into Houston on an eight-game winning streak, the Rockets were waiting for them on a two-game winning streak and winners of eight of the past ten games.

The Rockets defended their home turf admirably, turning away the Heat’s charge and winning by a score of 106-103 after a game-tying prayer of a three-pointer from LeBron James missed the mark at the buzzer.

“I knew I had to put up a heave over top of him,” James said of his shot over Dwight Howard, according to NBA.com. “I felt like I got a good look – just a little long.”

But what transpired between Howard and James just a few moments earlier is the prevailing story from the game.

With time winding down and the score at the aforementioned 106-103, James Harden made what could have been a costly turnover on an errant pass from the backcourt meant for Howard. Both James and Howard jumped for ball and the Rockets center’s elbow inadvertently caught James in the nose. LeBron suffered a broken nose during a Feb. 20 game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and returned a week later wearing a protective mask.

James stayed down on the floor for some time, clearly in pain. The inadvertent elbow obviously couldn’t have hit James in a worse spot, but the Heat star maintained his sense of humor after the game.

“It feels like my nose is broken,” James joked afterward, according to the Miami Herald.

See, it’s funny because his nose was broken even before he took said shot to the nose … meaning, um, LeBron’s a joker.

James, even before the shot to the schnoz, appeared a bit tired throughout the game, perhaps a consequence of the effort and energy expended during his 61-point offensive outburst on Monday.

“I fought through it in the first half. Second half it just wasn’t there for me,” James said. “Got out of rhythm.”

In what could have been an NBA Finals preview, Howard led the way for Houston (41-19), scoring 22 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. While doing so, Howard became the first Rockets player to post 40 double-doubles in a season since Charles Barkley accomplished that feat in 1997-98.

James finished with 22 points while dishing out six assists. Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley led the Heat with 24 points apiece as Miami (43-15) saw its winning streak snapped.

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