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NBA short takes

  • March 1, 2014 - 5:55 PM

Who was that masked man?

Every other player, such as Wolves guard Alexey Shved, wears a clear plastic mask to protect his nose after he has broken it.

Not LeBron James.

James strapped on a black carbon-fiber mask — a look Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called “menacing” — against New York on Thursday and then went out and delivered his fifth consecutive 30-point game with a 31-point evening.

He broke his nose against Oklahoma on Feb. 20, missed one game and then came back with the black mask.

“He played like Batman,” Chris Bosh said.

James complied with the NBA’s request and wore a clearer, league-approved mask for Saturday’s game against Orlando

Unfamiliar, unhappy, territory

The once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers are last in the Western Conference and headed toward their worst season since the franchise left Minneapolis for California so long ago and frustrations are mounting.

Veteran Pau Gasol voiced his once again last week, suggesting there’s a lack of discipline guiding the team.

Coach Mike D’Antoni suggested Gasol keep his criticisms “in house” and told reporters, “I just don’t think that’s the way to go and people should understand that we’re all trying to solve the same problem, so let’s just put our heads together and do the best we can.”

Honoring Dr. Jack?

Portland coach Terry Stotts found on eBay that 1970s pale plaid blazer he wore last weekend to commemorate Blazers legendary coach Dr. Jack Ramsay’s 89th birthday, and it took some searching.

“It’s not an easy thing to do, this was in somebody’s closet,” Stotts said. “I heard through the grapevine that he did appreciate it. Putting it on wasn’t the problem, walking out there was the problem.”

© 2014 Star Tribune