Lakers clinch playoff berth

SAN ANTONIO — It sort of crept up on everybody in purple and gold, but the Lakers clinched the Pacific Division title and a Western Conference playoff berth with their 102-95 victory tonight over the San Antonio Spurs. It’s their second straight division championship and 20th in 39 years.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol scored 23 points apiece to lead the Lakers (52-13).

“This is the first step and from here on out we need to keep building the momentum needed to be ready for the playoffs,” Lamar Odom said after returning from a one-game suspension to score 12 points and grab 10 rebounds.

Of his own play after sitting out of the Lakers’ victory Wednesday over the Houston Rockets, Odom said, “I feel like I can play a lot better. I think I was forcing my shots tonight.”

Next: a day off Friday, followed by a practice Saturday and a game Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center. Expect light posting Friday, what with no practice and a long day of travel.

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