Wizards beat Lakers 119-108 to clinch division title

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Having already assured themselves of a top-eight seed, the Washington Wizards clinched the Southeast division title with a 119-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night.

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference. A division title would be the Wizards first since the 1978-79 season when they won the Atlantic Division and were still named the Bullets.

In 1979, the last time the Wizards won, they were reigning champions and returned to the finals that season, falling in five games to the Seattle Supersonics.

From 1979-80 on, Washington has had one of the worst winning percentages in the league, and while the team has made the playoffs 14 times in that span, they haven't gone past the second round.

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Beal came back, too, and he and Wall combined to score Washington's next seven points for a 108-104 lead. They didn't have to run an offense.

Before Tuesday's game, Luke Walton was asked if he wanted a win for his 37th birthday. "Sometimes they had a man on them, but for the most part, we were missing good looks". This was Wall's fifth game of the season with 30+ points and 10+ assists.

But John Wall just couldn't be stopped, as he led the Wizards on a 16-4, game-ending run. They're two games behind Boston for first place, 1.5 games behind the Cavaliers, and 1 game ahead of the fourth-place Toronto Raptors. "They just had it going, and we had to make it tough for those guys and make them miss some shots".

- Lakers rookie F Brandon Ingram (right patellar tendinitis) missed his second game in a row.

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The title ends the longest professional sports divisional drought.

The Clippers have won four of their last six games and now hold the fifth spot in the Western Conference, but they have experienced some mixed results lately.

"He was brilliant", Walton said.

After missing the playoffs just a year ago, the Washington Wizards are returning to the National Basketball Association playoffs after clinching a playoff berth last Friday.

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Russell experienced one of his encouraging performances against the Wizards scoring a team-high 28 points with nine assists and six rebounds. The Trail Blazers bolted from an eight-point halftime lead with a dominating third quarter to hand the Lakers (21-52) their seventh defeat in eight contests and their 15th in the last 17 games.

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