NEW YORK -- Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, including a pair of spectacular drives late to help the Los Angeles Lakers top the Brooklyn Nets 92-83 in front of a Lakers-friendly crowd at Barclays Center on Tuesday night.
Pau Gasol added 15 points while Steve Nash had 17 points and eight assists for the Lakers, who won for the sixth time in their past seven games and beat the Nets for the 10th straight time. They did so without starters Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace. Howard, who once seemed set to join the Nets before becoming a Laker, was out with a shoulder injury, while World Peace served a suspension for his altercation against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
Center Brook Lopez led the Nets with 30 points and 11 rebounds, including 12 points in the fourth quarter as he tried to swing the game and the fans' allegiance back to Brooklyn down the stretch. Fans peppered the arena with purple and yellow and chanted for Bryant and the Lakers throughout the game.
Down the stretch, the crowd noise changed with each big play, as Bryant's spectacular drive through the lane and one-handed slam prompted a loud ovation as he gave the Lakers an 82-80 lead with 2:46 left. But Lopez immediately answered with a three-point play on an off-balance jumper and foul shot for an 83-82 lead 13 seconds later as the Nets fans found their voice.
Back came Los Angeles, which scored the next six points as Antwan Jamison hit a jumper, Bryant again drove to the basket for a slam -- this time gliding across the baseline -- and Earl Clark hit a jumper, giving the Lakers an 88-83 lead with 1:11 left. Nash added a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to clinch the game.
In between, Lopez missed a couple of attempts, including an air ball, as Los Angeles (23-26) went onto the win and a loud ovation from the crowd.
Deron Williams had 15 points and six assists for the Nets (28-20).
The teams played a tight fourth quarter with Steve Blake starting off hot for the Lakers, scoring the team's first seven points of the period to give Los Angeles a 74-70 lead with 8:51 left.
But C.J. Watson hit a 3-pointer and Williams followed him with a basket and the Nets went up 75-74 as the teams began swapping leads.
The Nets had cut a nine-point halftime deficit to 67-64 entering the fourth quarter, helped by a 13-run in the middle of the third. Wallace had seven points during the stretch, including a putback for a 60-59 Nets' lead with 3:53 left in the third, Brooklyn's first lead since midway through the second.
After trailing by six at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers took a 49-40 lead into halftime.
NOTES: World Peace was suspended for one game for striking Pistons guard Brandon Knight in the jaw and grabbing him around the neck in the second quarter of Sunday's game. ... Howard missed his third straight game with a torn labrum in his right shoulder but told reporters at shootaround he was in "no rush" to return because he wanted the injury to heal. Though Howard has acknowledged in the past he initially wanted the Orlando Magic to trade him to the Brooklyn Nets, he deflected questions about coming to the Barclays Center for the first time as a Laker. "I'm looking forward to our team coming out and having another good game," Howard said. "That's the biggest thing. We need another win, we're playing against a good team, and it's gonna be a challenge." ... Williams, who had recruited Howard to the Nets, said this week he and the Lakers center "haven't talked as much as we had before everything went on. I don't know what the reason is."