LOS ANGELES -- Although Kobe Bryant hates to disappoint everybody who thinks his 33-point performance in a win over the Miami Heat was payback to Dwyane Wade for breaking his nose in the All-Star Game a week ago, that particular Hollywood fable just isn't true.

"He knew I was going to be ready regardless," Bryant said.

Yet the legend of the Masked Mamba will only grow after the Los Angeles Lakers finally struck a few blows of their own in this previously one-sided matchup with mighty Miami.

Bryant produced his third straight 30-point game while wearing a clear protective mask over his tender nose, and Wade managed only 16 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter in the Lakers' 93-83 victory yesterday.

Metta World Peace scored 17 points and led a solid defensive effort for the Lakers, who have won 17 of their last 18 home games and eight of 10 overall. Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Los Angeles never trailed in the final 44 minutes, snapping a four-game skid in Bryant's head-to-head matchups with Wade's Heat.

Bryant, who had 24 points in the Lakers' loss in Miami six weeks ago, said: "I felt like we matched their energy and their physicality, which was a problem for us in Miami."

Just one week after Wade gave Bryant a concussion with that hard foul in Orlando, Bryant scored 18 points in the first quarter. The starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol, Bynum and World Peace totaled 44 points and 30 rebounds.

LeBron James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Heat, which played without Chris Bosh, who attended his grandmother's funeral.

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