Kobe Bryant would have liked to celebrate more, maybe gloat about his highlight-reel dunk, but there were bigger concerns.
Dwight Howard couldn't start and Pau Gasol couldn't finish. And in this difficult season for the Los Angeles Lakers, even the victories seem to come with losses.
"It feels good to pull out a win like this, but now reality kind of sets in," Bryant said after the Lakers' 92-83 win at Brooklyn on Tuesday. "If Pau can't go and Dwight can't go, we have to figure some things out."
Bryant had 21 points and eight rebounds, and the Lakers overcame the absences of Howard and Metta World Peace, and the loss of Gasol. Antawn Jamison, starting for the suspended World Peace, made the go-ahead basket during a closing 14-3 run for the Lakers, who have won six of their last seven games.
Howard missed his third consecutive game with a torn labrum in his right shoulder and Gasol, his replacement, said he felt a pop in his right foot when he went down with a little more than 4 minutes remaining. He was examined by Nets doctors and diagnosed with a strained plantar fascia, and will undergo an MRI exam Wednesday in Boston.
Brook Lopez had 30 points and 11 rebounds, but he was the Nets' only offense down the stretch in their fourth loss in six games.
The NBA suspended World Peace for grabbing the Pistons' Brandon Knight around the neck and striking him in the jaw with the knuckles of his mostly open hand Sunday in the first half of the Lakers' win.
Pacers 114, Hawks 103: Paul George scored 29 points to lead Indiana to its 15th straight home win.