It's been nearly two months since the Los Angeles Lakers were at .500. With how well a determined and confident Kobe Bryant has been playing, the Lakers could even their mark Monday against the Denver Nuggets.

Bryant recently guaranteed the Lakers would make it to the playoffs this season; words that many believe were just a motivating tool for a struggling squad. The five-time NBA champion has backed up his claim and so has the team, which recorded its third straight win and eighth in 11 tries Sunday at Dallas.

In a 103-99 slugfest against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs, Bryant scored 38 points and buried some big shots down the stretch. He registered 14 points in the fourth quarter, including seven in the last three minutes, and his jumper with 42.6 seconds remaining made it 101-97. Bryant also became the youngest player to eclipse the 31,000-point mark.

"All he needs is the ball. Just throw it over to him and that's how he likes to operate," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We just need to make sure the spacing right so he can have some outlets if he does get stuck."