If Dwight Howard is Superman, then LeBron James is Batman.
At least that's what Miami Heat teammate Chris Bosh said after James dominated the New York Knicks to the tune of 31 points on Thursday night while donning a menacing black mask to protect his broken nose, according to ESPN's Mike Wallace:
"I think he played like Batman out there," center Chris Bosh said. "I think it really helped him out. He played great."
Of course, Michael Beasley was there to ask the tough questions:
"How you know what Batman plays like?" Beasley shouted toward Bosh. "How does he play?"
If Batman did play basketball, one has to imagine it would be a lot like James, with plenty of aggression and power. James certainly looked the part with his black, carbon-fiber mask, which he said was a last-second choice:
"It went with the uniform," James said of his reason for going with the dark design to match the classic black uniforms the Heat wore for Thursday's game. "I knew we were wearing throwback uniforms. I was able to get a carbon fiber one, which is actually lighter than the one I had been wearing in practice. It came through at the last minute, so I went with it."
James expects to wear the mask for several weeks as his nose heals up after getting broken by Serge Ibaka last week on a drive to the basket. James had expressed a few concerns about adjusting to playing with the mask, but afterward, he said there wasn't much of a problem:
"A couple of times it was (a problem)," James said. "A couple of times, I kept seeing inside the mask sometimes before I could see a player. But for the most part, I was able to get into a good comfort zone and make some plays. And I just kind of tried to forget about it, besides maybe when it got hot a few times. I was happy with a couple of the timeouts when they came, and I was able to take it off."
Judging by his performance, there certainly didn't appear to be any issues. James made seven of his first nine shots and finished 13-of-19 from the field to go along with four rebounds and four assists in the 108-82 shellacking of the dreadful Knicks.
James has stepped up his game of late, re-inserting himself into the MVP conversation as Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have slipped a bit. Over his last five games, James is averaging 35.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 62.5 percent overall and 42.9 percent from three. The two-time reigning MVP clearly doesn't want to give up his throne without a fight.
James may also have to fight for his new look, as Bosh had some fun with it after the game: