Three times in the final 3 minutes, Bryant put the Lakers up four after the Mavericks had pulled within two. The last gave Los Angeles a 101-97 lead with 46.9 seconds left.
Nowitzki scored to make it a two-point game, and World Peace missed a free throw to give Dallas a chance to tie. Mayo missed a 3-pointer with about 5 seconds left, and Bryant clinched it with a free throw that made it a two-possession game.
"That's why he's Kobe Bryant," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He's not John Smith. No disrespect to John Smith, whoever he is. That's what does. That's what he loves. That's what he trains for."
Nash had 13 of his 20 points and three of his four 3-pointers in the second half, including one that answered Mayo's only bucket from long range and put the Lakers up 99-95.
"He came on in the second half and really gave us a big boost," Bryant said. "He was very aggressive and it forced them to make changes defensively. He's extremely clutch."
Dwight Howard had three big free throws in the fourth, including one that put Los Angeles ahead for good at 91-90, and finished with nine points and 13 rebounds.
The Lakers had the biggest lead at six — several times — and the Mavericks erased each one through three quarters. Nowitzki's 3-pointer from the top of the key late in the third made him 4 of 4 from long range and capped a 7-0 run for a 71-70 Dallas lead, but Bryant scored twice on drives after a timeout to put the Lakers in front again.
In the first half, Nowitzki was 5 of 8 from the floor, made both 3-pointers and all four free throws and led everyone with eight rebounds. Bryant, meanwhile, was 3 of 4 from long range, including a pair from well behind the arc, but just 1 of 6 inside the line. He had a game-high six assists before halftime.
NOTES: Bryant got a technical in the first quarter when he gestured at referee Ken Mauer after Darren Collison stole ball. It was his league-leading 13th technical — one ahead of DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento. A one-game suspension is in order when a player reaches 16 technicals. ... Mavericks C Chris Kaman entered the game in the second quarter after missing 10 straight games with a concussion. ... The Mavericks scored at least 30 points in the first quarter for the fifth time in six games.