LeBron James ditches mask in loss to Spurs

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Is LeBron done with the mask, or is he just taking a break?

Midway through the first quarter of the Heat’s loss to the Spurs, LeBron took his mask off during a timeout. He’d missed his only shot, and Miami trailed by eight.

He didn’t exactly light the world on fire after that, shooting 6-for-18 in a 111-87 loss (though maybe the mask – or other accessories – hindered him in ways other than shooting).

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The mask is a preventative measure. It protects players who’ve already experienced nose injuries from having another while they’re more susceptible and when they’d be more affected. It’s also, surely, a pain to play with.

LeBron is hardly the first player to scrap a mask before he’s supposed to be done with it or even the first to do so mid-game. I’ve never seen someone pay for it with another hit to the nose, but if players keep pressing their luck…

Still, maybe that chance is worth the added comfort and playing better.