Howard sat out a second straight game with an ailing shoulder and World Peace served a one-game suspension for striking a Detroit player on Sunday, but the Lakers survived a tough battle for their sixth win in seven games.
However, the win was tempered by the sight of Gasol limping off the court for good with 3:50 remaining after the Spanish big man injured his right foot while trying to block a shot.
"Just as I took off, I felt a pop in the bottom of my foot and I couldn't get up," Gasol said afterwards.
"I'm worried about it."
Despite the latest setback, Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, and Steve Nash added 17 and eight assists to help Los Angeles (23-26) break clear of Brooklyn in the final stages.
The Nets led 83-82 with two and a half minutes remaining but the Lakers scored the last 10 points, with point guard Nash assisting on two baskets and adding four straight free throws to put his stamp on the win.
Brook Lopez had 30 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets (28-20), who notched their 10th straight loss to the Lakers.
"To their credit they closed out the game well, but I just feel those two and a half minutes are about as bad as I played on both ends of the floor this season," Lopez said.
Jeremy Lin drained five of Houston's record-equalling 23 three-pointers as the Rockets romped to a 140-109 NBA victory over the Golden State Warriors.
The Rockets matched the NBA record with their 23 from beyond the arc, the long-range barrage lifting them to a fifth win in six games.
Lin finished with 28 points as the Rockets notched their highest-scoring game of the season.
Their 14 three-pointers in the first half also tied an NBA record — even though their best three-point shooter, Carlos Delfino, was sidelined by a right elbow injury.
James Harden and Chandler Parsons had four three-pointers apiece. Harden finished with a total of 18 points and Parsons scored 16.
The Rockets tied the record of 23 three-pointers set by the Orlando Magic in a 139-107 victory over Sacramento on January 13, 2009.
Things got heated in the final minute, with both Marcus Morris and Golden State's Draymond Green ejected. Green was whistled for a flagrant foul for a hard shot on Beverley, which led to a shoving match that saw Morris tossed.
The Indiana Pacers have also been in fine form recently and sealed their 15th consecutive home victory after seeing off the challenge of the Atlanta Hawks.
Paul George top-scored with 29 points, while David West contributed 15 points and seven rebounds as the Pacers triumphed 114-103 for their fourth victory in a row.
A stunning fourth quarter propelled the Phoenix Suns to a 96-90 success over a shell-shocked Memphis.
The Grizzlies looked on course for victory with a 71-65 lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Suns were inspired by Goran Dragic, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the final period.
the Denver Nuggets rallied in the final quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-104 for their seventh straight win.
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