With about 15 seconds to go during the Miami Heat's meeting with the Houston Rockets, James took another shot to his already-broken nose from Howard's elbow while defending what turned out to be an errant press-breaking pass from James Harden. LeBron took a moment to collect his marbles after the collision, even removing his clear cover, before readying himself for the final play of the game.
To add insult to injury, James' attempt at a buzzer-beating, game-tying three clanked off the iron to seal a 106-103 victory for the Rockets in Houston. James joked about the pain after the loss, telling The Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman, "It feels like my nose is broken."
James suffered the initial break during Miami's 103-81 annihilation of the Oklahoma City Thunder, when Serge Ibaka raked him across the face on the way to a driving dunk. James missed the following game—a 93-79 win over the Chicago Bulls—before returning with a black mask against the New York Knicks. The NBA subsequently suggested to James that he wear a clear mask instead.
Neither choice has done much to derail James' ongoing rampage through the Association. In his last four games, James has averaged 33.5 points on 63.4 percent shooting from the field (52.9 percent from three) to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists, including a career-high 61-point explosion against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday.
Fall down seven times, tweet back eight.