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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

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Phantom of the Opera: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, wearing a mask to protect his injured nose, vies with Heat guard Mario Chalmers for a loose ball on Sunday in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 93-83. AP

Bryant, World Peace inspire marquee win


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 dynamic 30-point game while wearing a clear protective mask over his still-tender nose, while Wade managed just 16 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 93-83 victory 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 and eight of 10 overall. Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

Nets 104, Bobcats 101

In Charlotte, Deron Williams scored a franchise-record 57 points to lift New Jersey.

Celtics 115, Knicks 111 (OT)

In Boston, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo had his second triple-double in three games, spoiling Harvard grad Jeremy Lin's return to Boston.

Lin picked up two fouls in the first three minutes and struggled to 14 points in 32 minutes. He had five assists and four rebounds while shooting 6-for-16 from the floor.

Bulls 96, 76ers 91

In Philadelphia, Derrick Rose tied a season high with 35 points, and Joakim Noah had 11 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to their sixth straight win.

Raptors 83, Warriors 75

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points, and James Johnson had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Clippers 105, Rockets 103 (OT)

In Houston, Chris Paul had 28 points and 10 assists and Blake Griffin added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Suns 96, Kings 88

In Phoenix, Steve Nash had 19 points, Marcin Gortat scored 14 and matched his season high with 17 rebounds, and the Suns earned their third consecutive victory.

Nuggets 99, Spurs 94

In San Antonio, Ty Lawson had 22 points and 11 assists and sank the game-sealing jumper with 11.9 seconds left, and injury-laden Denver overshadowed the return of Manu Ginobili.

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