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Kobe makes history in Lakers' win over Minnesota

Mar 19, 2007 - 4:53 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant didn't match the 65 points he dropped on the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, but he scored plenty.

Bryant scored 50 points on 17-of-32 shots as the Los Angeles Lakers won their second straight contest following a six-game losing streak with a 109-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Bryant became the first Lakers player since Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor in 1962 to score 50 points in back-to-back games. It is the fifth time this season and 16th time in his career he eclipsed the 50-point barrier.

The Lakers (35-32) used a 27-6 run in a seven-minute span of in the first quarter, highlighted by 14 points from Bryant, to take a 29-22 lead after the period.

"I'm just being more aggressive," Bryant said. "I think we, as a team, understand that in certain situations, they have to bring it to me in the post and allow me to facilitate or attack myself."

A nine-time All-Star, Bryant added another 16 points in the third quarter as Los Angeles widened the margin to 87-68.

"(Bryant) made some unbelievable shots tonight," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "When he gets in a rhythm like that, I just shake my head. And I shook my head when I saw we were playing him after a 65 because he just makes shots that you can't guard.

"You've got to give the guy credit. He makes those shots whether you double him or not. Our guys contested the majority of those shots. Hard shots, too. He made them. Hats off to him."

The Timberwolves (28-37) clawed back with an 18-6 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Ricky Davis with 2:55 remaining, to cut the deficit to 95-92. However, Bryant scored eight points in the final moments to seal the win.

"We ran out of gas this time," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I guess Kobe ran out of gas and they closed the gap. So I wasn't happy with the team and the way they finished it, but they shot well enough to win the ballgame and we just didn't defend well enough on the top of the fourth quarter."

Smush Parker scored 19 points, Lamar Odom had 16 points and nine boards and Luke Walton added 10 with 11 assists after missing seven weeks with a sprained ankle. The Lakers were just 7-14 in his absence.

"Luke and Lamar are great passers," Bryant said. "Having them stops teams from fronting me or overplaying me because they can find me on the move making back-door cuts. The other guys watch Luke and Lamar. They get a better sense of how we operate."

"I think with Luke and Lamar back in the lineup, we have more offensive firepower," Jackson said. "But you know right now, we were fortunate to have a great game out of Smush. But no one else seemed to be able to shoot the ball. Luke was OK and Lamar had some great drives, but no one else seems to be shooting the ball with accuracy."

Davis scored 33 points and Kevin Garnett added 26 with 15 rebounds for Minnesota, which is 2 1/2 games behind Golden State (32-36) for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

"Struggle is something that's consistent in the league and we've been trying to figure out ways to win on the road, and playing a guy like Kobe is everybody's responsibility," Garnett said. "It's really frustrating."

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