Five takeaways from the Lakers' loss to the Portland Trail Blazers

Five things to take away from the Lakers' 107-77 loss to the Trail Blazers

The Lakers (20-55) fell on Friday night to the Portland Trail Blazers (49-26).  Here are five takeaways from their 107-77 loss at Staples Center.

1) The bright spot, once again, in a difficult loss was the play of guard Jordan Clarkson.

The NBA's rookie of the month for March scored 27 points with five assists in 35 minutes, helping keep the Lakers somewhat close for stretches, before the dam broke in the fourth quarter.

"I thought he took the challenge like he has all season long," said Coach Byron Scott.  "He single-handedly got us back in the game in the second quarter.  He's a guy that has the mental and physical toughness that we're talking about."

Clarkson has scored at least 20 points in four of the Lakers' last seven games.

2) The Trail Blazers locked in the Northwest Division title with the win over the Lakers.

All-Star guard Damian Lillard had a relatively easy night, playing just 28 minutes -- getting his team off to a hot start.

Through four games this season, Lillard has terrorized the Lakers, averaging 27.0 points and 6.3 assists.

He shot 49.4% from the field and 44.4% from three-point range.

"He was a little too comfortable in the beginning and I put that on myself," said Clarkson.  "I should have been more aggressive."

3) Wayne Ellington, who was declared out for the season on Thursday, said his separated shoulder is still very sore, and doesn't have anything close to a full range of motion.

The Lakers added Dwight Buycks to a 10-day contract, giving the team another guard to help Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington and Clarkson.  Buycks scored eight points on three of four shooting, hitting both of his three-point attempts.

Buycks had two turnovers with just one assist in 6 1/2 minutes -- playing without the benefit of a single practice with the team.

"I thought he was very poised, and I think he is more of a true point guard," said Scott.  "In a quick little six minutes, I thought, 'I like this kid.'"

4) Wesley Johnson tied a career-high with 15 rebounds, along with 11 points.  That's Johnson's seventh double-double of his career.

Clarkson was the Lakers' second-highest rebounder at seven with Jordan Hill playing only nine minutes and Carlos Boozer 8 1/2, with each grabbing just one rebounds.

Ed Davis, who Scott sat out the team's previous three contests, played 12 minutes, also only had one board.

The Lakers were out-rebounded by the Blazers 53-43.

5) The Lakers continue to hold the fourth-worst record in the NBA, important for positioning in the draft lottery.  If the Lakers do not finish with a top-five selection, the pick will go to the Philadelphia 76ers (via the Phoenix Suns).

The Lakers are "behind" the 76ers (18-58), Minnesota Timberwolves (16-60) and New York Knicks (14-62).  The closest teams to the Lakers in the standings is the Orlando Magic (23-53).  The Lakers are likely to hold onto the fourth position in the lottery, with seven to play.

The only way the Lakers can 100% guarantee themselves a top-five pick is to finish with the first or second-worst records in the NBA.  At third their odds are still high at 96%, but in their current fourth position, it's a less-comfortable 82.8%.

The Lakers seem unlikely to catch the 76ers, after beating Philadelphia twice recently.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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