"It was definitely frustrating," Williams said. "We were right there and we battled the whole game. We had control of the game at one point, but we didn't make shots down the stretch. We had plenty of chances to tie it. We were getting the stops we needed, and put them on the free throw line a couple of times, but we just didn't make enough plays down the stretch and we didn't convert."
After taking a narrow lead through three quarters, the Lakers missed their first seven shots in the fourth and fell behind mostly due to their All-Star center's incompetence at the line. Brooklyn deliberately fouled Howard in the fourth quarter, when he went 3 for 10.
Los Angeles still took the lead on Gasol's free throw with 2:37 to play, and Bryant hit a running hook shot after Joe Johnson airballed a jumper moments later. Johnson cut the lead to one point on a fast-break layup with 36 seconds left, but Bryant hit four free throws in the final 17.1 seconds while Williams missed a potential tying 3-pointer with 4 seconds left.
Johnson scored 14 points for the Nets, who finish their three-game California road trip at Golden State on Wednesday night.
"I thought Deron did a great job of quarterbacking the team and getting it to our pace," Nets coach Avery Johnson said. "We wish we could have had a few more shots fall in the fourth quarter, but our team laid it all out on the floor. They showed a lot of heart, something that we didn't see early in the season — especially in a road game at Miami."
NOTES: The Nets haven't won six straight games or been more than five games over .500 since 2006. .. Before the game, D'Antoni said Steve Blake and Steve Nash will miss at least four more games, which means they won't play on the Lakers' three-game road trip over the next four days starting in Sacramento on Wednesday night. The Lakers' next home game is against Indiana on Nov. 27. ... The Lakers have won their last five road meetings with the Nets, last losing in New Jersey on March 17, 2006. They'll visit Barclays Center on Feb. 5.