Bryant led the way for Los Angeles (23-26) and came through in the clutch on both ends of the floor with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Earl Clark notched his third consecutive double-double by adding 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Nets (28-20) used a strong third quarter to get back in the game after falling as many as 13 points behind. They held Los Angeles to just 36.4 percent from the field and 1-of-4 from the three-point line during that stretch.
But Los Angeles came on strong in the fourth, and put the Nets away for good with solid defense and by scoring the final 10 points of the game in the last two minutes.
Brook Lopez took advantage of mismatches inside to lead the Nets, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, 7 of which came on the offensive glass.
The absence of Howard allowed Lopez to play effective help defense and bother the Lakers' dribble penetration. He finished with three blocked shots. The Nets collected 20 offensive rebounds to further exploit the Lakers' deficiencies inside.