Kobe Scores 33, Lakers Beat Wade's Heat 93-83
By Greg Beacham
March 4, 2012
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant scored 33 points in his third straight stellar performance since Dwyane Wade broke his nose in the All-Star game, and Wade managed just 16 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers' 93-83 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday.
Metta World Peace scored 17 points while leading a solid defensive effort for the Lakers, who have won 17 of their last 18 home games. Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 13 rebounds as Los Angeles never trailed in the final 44 minutes against Miami, snapping a four-game skid in Bryant's head-to-head matchups with Wade's Heat.
LeBron James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Heat, who lost on the final two stops of their three-game trip after nine consecutive victories. Only Mike Miller's jumper with 21.4 seconds left saved Miami from its lowest-scoring performance of the season.
Just one week after Wade gave Bryant a concussion with a hard foul in the All-Star game, Bryant scored 18 points in a dynamic first quarter while wearing a clear plastic mask over his still-tender nose. He added just enough big baskets in the second half to keep the Lakers ahead, finishing with his third straight 30-point game as the Masked Mamba.
Wade scored 16 points on 7-for-17 shooting before fouling out with 5:14 to play, committing three fouls in rapid succession for an early end to a rough day. Wade and James were both out of sync, as evidenced by their combined 2-for-5 performance at the free-throw line.
Pau Gasol had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won eight of 10 to challenge the Clippers atop the Pacific Division.
Mario Chalmers scored 15 for the Heat, who played their third straight game without Chris Bosh after the All-Star forward attended his grandmother's funeral on Saturday. Miami beat the Lakers in their first meeting of the season six weeks ago even with James battling the flu and Wade sitting out with a sprained ankle.
Although the Staples Center crowd roundly booed Wade during pregame introductions and the first few times he touched the ball, Wade apologized profusely after the All-Star game to Bryant, his fellow U.S. Olympian. Bryant insisted he bore no grudge, saying Wade would never injure him on purpose.
Bryant then played the first quarter with a fire that sure appeared to be motivated by something even bigger than an elite opponent and a national television audience.
Driving to the hoop and hitting fallaway jumpers with equal grace, Bryant went 8 for 10 and earned a handful of standing ovations while leading Los Angeles to a 10-point lead.
Bryant didn't make a shot in the second quarter, but the Lakers expanded their lead with Bynum's stellar inside play and help from rookie Andrew Goudelock, who made two 3-pointers, and World Peace, who scored eight points and played solid defense on James.
James made just one shot in the second and Los Angeles led 50-38 at the break. The Heat surpassed their lowest-scoring half of the season by just one point after making only three shots in the final 7:46.
Miami controlled the third quarter behind James, who guarded everybody from Gasol to point guard Steve Blake depending on the Heat's needs. But when James slightly shoved Troy Murphy in frustration after missing a layup at the third-quarter buzzer, Gasol stepped in to challenge James, earning matching technical fouls before officials and World Peace restored order.
Los Angeles nursed its lead through the final period, and the Staples Center crowd gave a standing ovation after Wade committed three fouls in less than three minutes. He picked up his sixth when he foolishly tried to reach over the 7-foot Bynum's back to stop an alley-oop pass.
James appeared to injure his left foot with 1:05 to play when he stepped out of bounds and landed awkwardly on the foot of a fan sitting courtside, but he returned to the game after a timeout.
NOTES: Before the game, coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed Bosh won't rejoin the Heat until they return to Miami for Tuesday's visit from New Jersey. Without the 6-foot-11 All-Star, the Heat's starting lineup featured nobody taller than 6-foot-9 Joel Anthony to defend Los Angeles' two 7-footers. ... Bryant set the NBA record for points scored at one arena on Friday night in Staples Center, surpassing Hakeem Olajuwon's 13,783 points at the Houston Rockets' Compaq Center. ... Fans near courtside included Denzel Washington, Lil Wayne, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Terry Crews, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, KISS guitarist Paul Stanley and Jets QB Mark Sanchez.
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