Bryant, who spent most of the day in a courthouse in Eagle, Colo. attending as hearing in his felony sexual assault trial, rushed back to the Staples Center, arriving after the game had started. He entered at the start of the second quarter and finished with 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony had tied the game with two free throws with 2.5 seconds left.
"I had a good feeling about it," Bryant said. "I haven't hit a game-winner in a while. You (normally) have the advantage because the defender really doesn't know the clock."
""It is extremely courageous to come here and be with us after taking care of his personal business during the day," said teammate Derek Fisher.
Shaquille O'Neal had 26 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists for Los Angeles.
Anthony led the Nuggets with 24.