LOS ANGELES: C.J. McCollum scored a career-high 27 points as the Portland Trail Blazers routed the hapless Los Angeles Lakers 107-77 on Friday (Saturday in Manila), clinching the division title in the process.
Portland claimed the Northwest Division title earlier Friday thanks to the Memphis Grizzlies’ 100-92 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It is the first time the Trail Blazers have won the division since finishing in a tie with Denver during the 2008-09 NBA season.
McCollum said the team needs to keep extending their leads to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“When you get a chance you are hungry and you want to make your best impression,” McCollum said. “I want to come in and make an impact on the game. I am trying to be aggressive. Just change the tempo a little bit.
“We have to do a good job of extending leads if we want to do well in the playoffs.”
Damian Lillard and Arron Afflalo finished with 20 and 17 points respectively, while LaMarcus Aldridge tallied 14 points and eight rebounds in Portland’s fifth win in its last six contests.
Jordan Clarkson finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Wesley Johnson had 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost four of their last five games.
The Lakers will miss the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.
Portland swept all four games with Los Angeles this season.