NEW YORK - LeBron James always said he loved playing in New York.
He must have really, really loved it Friday night — even with a deafening chorus of boos ringing in his ears.
James delivered another vintage performance at Madison Square Garden, scoring 32 points and finishing with his 30th career triple-double to help the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks, 113-91, for their 11th consecutive victory.
James had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, silencing a star-studded crowd that once cheered him lustily — in fact, he was always an MSG favorite — but jeered him this time because he snubbed the Knicks in free agency.
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The frostiness didn’t seem to faze him, certainly not his game.
“This is a great building,” James said. “Myself and D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) talk about it all the time. Certain buildings in this league that you just thrive on and you’re excited about, and this being the Mecca of basketball as a kid you always envision not only playing in the NBA but also having a chance to play in Madison Square Garden.”
Though it was hardly a warm welcome, James’ first visit in more than a year was heralded by nonstop hype on TV and in the tabs and was a must-see for celebrity fans including Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Liam Neeson and Tracy Morgan.
What they saw was the league’s MVP toying with a Knicks team hoping to prove it belonged with the big boys but was, instead, overwhelmed by his brilliance.
James is the active scoring leader in the arena with 30.5 points per game, the only visiting player beside Michael Jordan with multiple 50-point games.
Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 26 points, extending Miami’s longest winning streak since winning 12 in a row from Feb. 26-March 19, 2005. The Heat beat the Knicks for the sixth consecutive time.