LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Portland Trail Blazers are hoping theyve put all the bad habits behind them with the playoffs on the horizon. And with a healthy LaMarcus Aldridge providing his usual numbers, they are confident that they can make some noise in the post-season — with or without home-court advantage. Damian Lillard scored 34 points, Aldridge had 31 points and 15 rebounds, and the Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 124-112 Tuesday night. "We had a rough stretch, but now weve kind of picked it back up and were going in the right direction at the perfect time," Lillard said. "Now that were close to the post-season, we want to have that rhythm going into the playoffs — because thats what we play the regular season for." The Blazers fourth straight win, coupled with Houstons loss at Brooklyn, moved Portland within 1 1/2 games of the Rockets for fourth place in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Rockets have three games in hand. The Blazers have six games left on their schedule, five of them at home. One more win will give them their 12th 50-win season in the franchises 44-year history. But the last four times the team won 50 or more games, they didnt make it past the first round of the post-season. "We dont have a lot of control over that. Right now, its about winning every game and gearing up for the playoffs," coach Terry Stotts said. "Its that mindset thats the most important thing. Whatever happens with the seedings and all that — I mean, we havent even clinched a playoff spot yet." Nick Young, the fifth and last player off the Los Angeles bench, made his first eight shots and finished 15 for 26 with a season-high 40 points. But it wasnt enough to prevent the Lakers 10th defeat in 14 games. They slipped to 25-49 — the most losses by the club since finishing 33-49 in 1993-94. The franchise hasnt lost 50 games in a season since 1974-75 (30-52). "I didnt know I made my first eight shots," Young said. "I just got into a zone. I got into a rhythm kind of fast." Youngs point total was the highest off the bench by any player in the league this season, surpassing the 37 Jamal Crawford had for the Clippers on Jan. 25 at Toronto. Youngs high-point game in the NBA was 43, for the Washington Wizards against Sacramento on Jan. 11, 2011. "Nick Young had a lot of easy shots in the first half," Aldridge said. "Hes a great scorer, so hes going to score. But we did a better job in the second half of making his shots harder." Aldridge, playing his fourth game after missing the previous seven because of a bruised lower back, hit a 13-footer to cap an 18-9 run that extended Portlands two-point halftime margin to 81-70 at the midway mark of the third quarter. Young kept the Lakers within striking distance with his 3-point shooting, draining one with 10:47 left in the game to pull them within 93-86. But Lillard responded with a pair of 3-pointers 28 seconds apart to extend Portlands margin to 13 points, and Los Angeles got no closer than nine the rest of the way. "Coming in, we felt this could be a trap game against a team thats not in the playoff race. But we knew coming in that they were a dangerous team," Lillard said. The Lakers were bolstered by the return of Xavier Henry and two-time MVP Steve Nash, who played in only his 13th game of the season and came off the bench for just the third time in his 18-year career. Nash, who turned 40 on Feb. 7, had 10 points and 10 assists in 22 minutes. The eight-time All-Star has been plagued most of the season by nerve root irritation following his comeback from a broken left leg, which led to issues with his back, hip and hamstrings. NOTES: Lillard became the first player in Trail Blazers history to make 200 3-pointers in a season when he connected with 8:07 left in the first quarter. Wesley Matthews is close behind him with 186. ... The Lakers played before their eighth non-sellout crowd. Before this season, they had sold out every home game since Dec. 6, 2006. ... Portland C Meyers Leonard was ejected after his flagrant 2 foul on Kendall Marshall with 39.9 seconds to play. ... Portland C Robin Lopez had 10 points and 10 rebounds on his 26th birthday. Tim McCarver . A wide-eyed 18-year-old visiting North America for only the second time in his young life, Caboclo immediately noticed the "big tower" his new home is best known for. Whitey Herzog ." Also, defencemen "were found to be at a higher risk of suffering a concussion than other players, perhaps due to turning their back to retrieve pucks along the boards, which leaves them vulnerable. http://www.custommlbcardinalsjersey.com/...e-851q.html.com) - The Minnesota Twins made it official on Wednesday, announcing the signing of outfielder Torii Hunter to a one-year contract. Custom Cardinals T-shirts . Vinci also beat Dulgheru last week in Bucharest en route to her first WTA final in a year. Vinci next faces sixth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan, who beat Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-2. No. Mike Shannon . The photograph shows Parker and a French comedian making a gesture known in France as a "quenelle," which critics describe as inverted Nazi salute. Parker said in a statement released through the Spurs that the photograph was taken three years ago. Parker, who was born in Belgium but raised in France, said he didnt know at the time that "it could be in any way offensive or harmful.EDMONTON -- Simeon Rottier spent the CFL off-season working relentlessly on improving his football skills, determined to prove that 2013 is a season best forgotten. The six-foot-six, 295-pound guard became the focal point of much that was wrong with last years Edmonton Eskimos when general manager Ed Hervey publicly chastised him after a Labour Day loss to Calgary, saying it wouldnt bother him if Rottier "didnt play another down this year." The native of Westlock, Alta., was back in the lineup a week later after the CFL Players Association complained Hervey was offside with his comments. When the Eskimos play their second and final pre-season game in Regina Friday, Rottier will again be the starting left guard. "This off-season I worked as hard as I could to come in ready and put last year behind me," Rottier said after the teams walk-through Thursday. "I was just happy to come back here and start a fresh year. Thats the bottom line and thank God for a second chance." Every returning Eskimo is getting another chance this season after the team turned over its entire coaching staff. Former Toronto defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones was hired as head coach and he brought in eight new assistants and handed the responsibility for shoring up the much-maligned offensive line to Johathan Himebauch. Although the coaches and returning players would rather forget last year, Himebauch, a veteran CFL coach has become acutely aware that wont be easy. "I know theres been a lot more attention.dddddddddddd This is the most interviews Ive done in my career," he said with a smile. "Ive been here two weeks and done so many interviews my wife keeps laughing and saying, What are you doing out there?" As training camp winds down, Himebauch says he hasnt detected any "residual feelings from last year. "When Chris came in he told all the coaches, dont bring up last year, dont bring up the past of where this team has been because its not important." Rottier said theres a different feeling around the offensive line, which has five newcomers on the depth chart. Theres no obvious worrying about pressure or thinking about last season. "Last year there was a little too much stressing out about the pressure. We were worried about making mistakes, now were just going to cut it loose." Its a huge offensive line. Guard Andrew Jones, a first-year Eskimo, is the shortest at six-foot-three and third-year guard Matt ODonnell the tallest at six-foot-11. Rottier is the only one listed less than 300 pounds. "When I talk to them at practice I make them take a knee because my knee hurts from staring up at these guys," said Himebauch. "They are big human being and when they understand that they can be very powerful, that they can remove people, that they can create a great pocket for the quarterback, when they gain that confidence they can do special things." ' ' '