The play was designed for Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers had squandered a 17-point lead over New Jersey and held only a one-point advantage at 88-87 with 10 seconds remaining.
Matt Barnes delivered the ball to the team's star.
Bryant, coming off of a screen, shot a 26-foot three-pointer, which bounced seven times on the rim before falling through the net, allowing an anxious Staples Center crowd to celebrate instead of reel over what otherwise could have been an inconceivable loss.
"The basketball gods were with us today," Bryant said with a smile after the game.
Bryant, who had to fight double teams throughout much of the game, finished with 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting in the team's 91-87 win. He said he owed his open look as the clock expired to Pau Gasol.