Here is the latest Washington, Oregon and Alaska sports news from The Associated Press


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 22 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 97-81 on Sunday night to pull even with Denver in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both the Blazers and Nuggets are 35-38 with nine games left in the regular season. They play each other Tuesday in Portland.

PHOENIX (AP) — Consider North Carolina the tour guide at this year’s Final Four. The Tar Heels will be making their record 20th trip, and most of the players on this year’s roster were on hand last season to find out all about the agony of coming oh-so close to winning it all. For the rest of the guests, it’s all uncharted territory. Gonzaga finally parlayed two decades of excellence into its first trip to college basketball’s showcase. And Oregon? Well, the Ducks have been to the tournament before and won it all. But that was back in 1939, the first year of the event, and decades before the phrase “Final Four” became as common as “dribble,” ”pass,” or “shoot.”

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington has hired former Seattle coach Cameron Dollar for a second stint as an assistant coach with the Huskies. New Washington coach Mike Hopkins announced the hiring on Sunday. Dollar was fired at Seattle earlier this month after eight seasons in charge of the Redhawks program. Dollar was 107-138 in his time at Seattle. Dollar returns to where he became a highly regarded assistant under former coach Lorenzo Romar. Dollar spent seven seasons as an assistant for the Huskies from 2002-09 when Washington had its greatest success with Romar at the helm. Romar was fired earlier this month after 15 seasons.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — His exhilarating World Baseball Classic experience over, Edwin Diaz got back to work Sunday in preparation to start the 2017 season as the Seattle Mariners’ closer. But the memories of the WBC and Diaz’s time with Team Puerto Rico were still fresh. The young right-hander struck out nine in 5 1-3 WBC innings, earning a win and two saves. After his two innings of clutch relief in the 11-inning semifinal win over the Netherlands, a fired-up Diaz leaped off the mound in celebration. It’s the way he wants to continue to pitch this season, feeding off emotion and displaying it, as is customary among ballplayers from Latin America.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.