Miami Heat

Miami Heat’s LeBron James takes day off to rest bruised knee

 

After playing a total of 90 minutes in the past two games, LeBron James had his bruised knee treated and missed practice.

Friday: Bulls at Heat

When/where: 8 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena.

TV/radio: Sun Sports and ESPN; 790 AM, 104.3 FM, 710 AM (Spanish).

Series: Bulls lead 49-39.

Outlook: The Heat (22-8) is 15-2 at home and 10-5 overall against teams in the Eastern Conference. This is the first meeting between the Heat and Bulls this season. The two teams split their four-game series last season. Miami is ranked fourth in scoring (103.57 points per game) in the NBA and the Bulls, playing without star guard Derrick Rose, are ranked 27th (92.43).


jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com

Heat forward LeBron James received treatment for a knee contusion on Thursday and did not practice.

James injured his knee in the second quarter on Wednesday during the Heat’s overtime victory against the Mavericks. He finished the game despite the pain and scored 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and a block.

Bruised knee or not, James needed a day off. Wednesday was the Heat’s second overtime victory in consecutive games. James played 48 minutes in the Heat’s win against Orlando on Monday and logged 42 minutes against the Mavericks.

While he didn’t practice with the team, James did speak with reporters, a sign that he’ll likely play Friday against the Bulls. When asked if he expects to play, James said, “A lot of treatment [Thursday] and hopefully I’ll feel a lot better [Friday].”

James has scored at least 20 points in each of the Heat’s first 30 games of the season. It’s the longest streak of 20-plus points to begin a season in his career.

“I’ve done it without even really caring about it or worrying about it,” James said. “I just go out and take what the defense gives me and play basketball. I’m not going into each and every game thinking, ‘I’ve got to get my 20 to keep this streak alive.’

“I don’t really care about it. If it goes away one day, which it will, I won’t be down about it. Hopefully, if it happens, it happens in a win. If it happens in a loss, I’m going to be pretty upset.”

James is averaging 26.5 points per game and shooting .544 from the field (a career high). Currently ranked fourth in the league in scoring behind Kobe Bryant (30.3 points per game), Carmelo Anthony (29.2) and Kevin Durant (28.4), James trails only Bryant in average number of field goals per game (10.4 to 10.2).

“I’m playing good basketball,” James said. “Am I at my highest peak? I don’t know. I don’t know if I can continue to improve. I want to. I’m going to study the game; I’m going to continue to not take anything for granted and work on my game each and every day in some way, shape or form.”

James is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game (a career high) and 7.1 assists per game. His career high in assists per game for a season is 7.2.

“The consistency is a true mark of greatest in any field in any profession,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s sustained consistency at a high level, and LeBron has proven that every year, but what he’s also proving is he’s raising that bar each year. I don’t think anyone is putting a ceiling on him because he’s not.”

James wasn’t the only player who rested his legs Wednesday. The team had “more of a mental day” of practice, according to Spoelstra.

“We want to continue to take care of our business at home in this three-game homestand before we head out,” Spoelstra said.

Rebounding remains a key area of focus. The Mavericks held a plus-10 rebounding advantage early in Wednesday’s game, but the Heat closed the gap in the second half. Overall, Dallas outrebounded the Heat 47-46. The Heat has been outrebounded in three of its past four games.

“We have the ability to do it against any team in this league,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t care about the size or the perceived lack of size. We’ve proven we can do it against anyone, anywhere, any building, at any time. It’s just a matter of consistency.”

The Heat has the best record (22-8) in the Eastern Conference, so any concerns Spoelstra might have about his team’s rebounding numbers are relative. Miami leads the league in field-goal percentage (.492) and is second in three-point shooting (.398) behind the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“We’re not going to dominate rebounding,” James said. “We don’t have a dominant rebounder. We’re not going to be top five in rebounding. We don’t have one of those guys who can just pull down 12, 15 rebounds each and every night … but I don’t want to use that as a crutch.

“I don’t want to say, because now we’re not rebounding, let’s try to dominate in other ways. We don’t even say, ‘OK, we’re not a good a rebounding team, so let’s do other things.’ We say, ‘Go out and rebound.’ ”

Read more Top Sports Stories stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category