The Lakers recorded a much-needed victory against the NBA's worst team. Los Angeles ended a four-game losing streak that had put them 7 1/2 games behind the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers.
After taking a 14-point lead into the fourth period, the Lakers saw their advantage trimmed to three with 5:30 to go in the contest.
Dwight Howard then made a hook shot and Bryant converted three free throws to boost Los Angeles back in front by eight.
Bryant went 9-of-29 from the field. Jodie Meeks played 30 minutes off the bench and scored 24 points for the Lakers.
Washington, a winner just three times this season in 20 outings, was led by 21 points from Cartier Martin.