The Portland Trail Blazers continued their fight to claim the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a convincing 97-81 victory over the LA Lakers on Sunday night at Staples Center.
With the loss, LA remained glued to the bottom of the West and fell to 21-52 on the season.
In what has become all too familiar a sight recently, the Lakers fell behind big at the start of the second half and failed to make the game competitive. The purple and gold managed to only trail by seven points after the first quarter despite only scoring 17 points. In the second quarter, LA only scored 15 points but somehow only trailed by eight points at the intermission.
All in all, it was an ugly first half for both teams, and the Blazers led 40-32.
In the third quarter, though, the visitors came to life offensively and scored 37 points behind Portland point guard Damian Lillard's 14 points in the period. The Lakers scored 24 points in the third quarter, which was their best scoring quarter of the game thus far, but that hardly mattered as the Blazers led by as many as 21 points during the period.
Lillard eventually finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead the Blazers, while Allen Crabbe finished with 18 points off Portland's bench.
In the fourth quarter, the Blazers increased the difference to as many as 26 points before the game clock mercifully ran out with the score board reading "97-81."
With the win, the Blazers improved to 35-38 and into a tie with the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff sport. The Lakers, meanwhile, remained a half game behind the Phoenix Suns and in last place in the conference.
Next, the Lakers play the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at Staples Center. Only nine games remaind in the Lakers' season.