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Blazers celebrate division title with win over Lakers


  • Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, center, went in for a shot as Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill, right, defended and forward LaMarcus Aldridge watched during the first half on Friday in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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LOS ANGELES » C.J. McCollum scored a career-high 27 points, Damian Lillard added 20 and the Portland Trail Blazers celebrated their Northwest Division title with a 107-77 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Arron Afflalo scored 17 points for the Blazers, who clinched their first division title since 2009 earlier in the night with Oklahoma City’s loss at Memphis.

With Portland still fighting for home-court advantage later in the playoffs, Lillard and McCollum led a comfortable win to complete its first season sweep of the woebegone Lakers in 21 years.

Rookie Jordan Clarkson had 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Lakers, who matched the franchise record with their 55th loss.

Los Angeles will miss the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time since 1976.

The Lakers also lost 55 games last season, but their winning percentage (.267) currently is slightly higher than that of the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers (.264), who only played 72 games.

Lillard outscored the Lakers by himself in the first quarter (14-12), and Portland jumped to a 25-point lead during the second.

Clarkson gave another dynamic performance late in the second-round pick’s outstanding rookie year, but McCollum scored 16 points in the second half to keep Portland comfortably ahead in its fifth straight win over the Lakers.

McCollum topped his previous career high of 23 points, set March 24 against Golden State. He has thrived in extended playing time with the absence of Wes Matthews, who was ruled out for the season last month.

Portland has won three straight road games for the first time since December.

Wesley Johnson had 11 points and a career high-tying 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost 14 of 18.

TIP-INS:

Trail Blazers: Portland might tighten up its rotation down the stretch in the absence of forward Dorell Wright, who is out for at least a month with a broken hand. … A fan in the second row at Staples Center repeatedly held up a No. 12 Lakers jersey with Aldridge’s name on the back, getting a laugh from the Portland big man. Aldridge is a free agent after the season, and the Lakers will have significant salary cap room. … Portland hasn’t won an outright division title since 1999.

Lakers: Before the game, Los Angeles signed guard Dwight Buycks out of the D-League to a 10-day contract. Buycks made his Lakers debut in the final 6 1/2 minutes, scoring eight points with two 3-pointers. … Clarkson was named the Western Conference’s rookie of the month for March. Surprisingly, no Lakers player had ever won the award before. … Will Ferrell and Sylvester Stallone watched at courtside.

UP NEXT:

Trail Blazers: Host Pelicans on Saturday.

Lakers: Host Clippers on Sunday.

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