LOS ANGELES, March 19 (AP) -- Kobe Bryant credits the return of teammates Lamar Odom and Luke Walton from injuries for making things easy for him.

The All-Star MVP became the first Los Angeles player in 44 seasons to score at least 50 points in consecutive games, following a 65-point effort with 50 in the Lakers' 109-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.

Bryant became the first Lakers player to accomplish the feat since Elgin Baylor did it in three straight games in December 1962.

"Luke and Lamar both make my life a lot easier when they're out there because they're so good at recognizing situations on the floor,'' Bryant said. "They're great passers, so teams can't just front me or overplay me in certain areas.''

Bryant had his 17th career 50-point game and helped the Lakers improve to 12-5 when he reaches that mark.

"We talked about going to Kobe early in games and not waiting,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He had been playing the team role, feeling the game out and waiting till the second half to get going. But there's just not enough time right now in the season to develop that.''

Bryant scored 14 points in the first 8:12 to help Los Angeles build a 17-point lead.

"I'm just being more aggressive at both ends of the floor,'' he said. "At this point in the season, it's important that I stress the sense of urgency that we have to have, and the type of emotion and energy that you have to play with.''

Only two other players have recorded back-to-back 50-point games in the last 10 years. Antawn Jamison did it in December 2000 against Seattle and the Lakers (51-51), and Allen Iverson did it in December 2004 against Milwaukee and Utah (54-51).

Bryant has scored at least 50 points four times this season and has averaged 40 in his next game.

Smush Parker had 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Los Angeles, and Walton, sidelined for 1+ months because of a sprained right ankle, had 10 points and 11 assists. The Lakers climbed a half-game ahead of Denver into sixth place in the conference.


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