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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Washington clinched its first division crown in 38 years with a 119-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, ending the longest division-title drought in NBA history.
John Wall scored 34 points and Washington rallied in the fourth quarter for its fourth straight win.
Wall shot 14 of 25 for the Wizards and Bradley Beal was held to 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
When the franchise last claimed a division title in 1978-79, it was known as the Bullets of the Atlantic Division and played in suburban Landover, Maryland. The team had won its lone NBA championship the previous season and went on to lose the 1979 Finals 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, it hasn’t gotten past the second round.
Washington put the divisional slump in the past by outscoring the Lakers 37-13 in the fourth to clinch the Southeast Division.
The Wizards opened on a 19-6 run to tie it at 101 with their starters on the bench for much of the spurt.