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|Durant leaves Thunder game with ankle injury
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant sat out the second half of a 114-109 loss at the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night after spraining his right ankle.
Durant said the sprain was mild and X-rays were negative. The reigning NBA MVP said he hopes to play at the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night but will see how he feels.
"I wanted to play. I wanted go back out there, but we wanted to be cautious," Durant said.
Durant grabbed his ankle after stepping on Marreese Speights' left foot while going hard to the basket late in the second quarter. Durant was called for a charge on the play.
Durant lay on the ground in pain before walking to the bench with the help of teammates Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Durant limped to the locker room at halftime under his own power.
"I was a little nervous, but I knew that when I got up and started walking that it felt good," he said. "I just wanted to make sure with the X-ray that everything was good."
Durant came back Dec. 2 after missing the team's first 17 games with a broken right foot, and his latest injury ended his best performance yet this season.
Durant scored 30 points on 10-for-13 shooting, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. It was his highest-scoring game this season and the highest-scoring first half of his career.
Oklahoma City started the season 3-12 with Durant and Westbrook dealing with injuries but had been rediscovering its championship-contender form with both healthy again.
The Thunder had won seven straight entering the game, which was the longest active streak in the league after Memphis snapped Golden State's 16-game winning streak Tuesday night. Oklahoma City is 7-2 since Durant came back and 8-2 since the return of Westbrook, who sat out 13 games with a broken bone in his right hand.
|Jaguars hold off Titans late, win 21-13 in home finale
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Blake Bortles revived a stagnant offense. Jordan Todman provided some cushion. And Sen'Derrick Marks sealed it with the most rewarding sack of his career.
The trio provided all the highlights in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 21-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.
In a matchup that was widely billed as unwatchable, Bortles, Todman and Marks offered some compelling moments in a relatively meaningless game.
"The neat thing about this was different guys stood up at different times," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.
Bortles completed 13 of 26 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, a 4-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis that got Jacksonville going late in the second quarter. He also ran for 50 yards playing with a sprained right foot.
"I wasn't going out there if I couldn't move around and help the offense," Bortles said.
Todman's 62-yard run put the Jaguars ahead for good. He juked one defender and stiff-armed another in his first carry of the night, ending his first score of the season with a leap into the stands.
Marks' play, though, got the most attention.
With the Titans driving, Marks sacked Charlie Whitehurst on the final play. It gave him 8 1/2 sacks on the season, triggering a $600,000 bonus in his contract.
"What a great way to end the night," Bradley said.
Marks stood up and starting rubbing his fingers together before getting mobbed by teammates near midfield.
"Oh, we're going to spend some of that money," Jaguars defensive end Red Bryant said.
The Jaguars (3-12) won for the second time in four weeks thanks to a rejuvenated offense that had scored just two touchdowns in the previous four games. Playing the Titans (2-13) surely aided the effort.
Tennessee lost its ninth consecutive game and moved a step closer to securing the No. 1 draft pick.
"It was more about mistakes that we made than anything else because when we did it right - as you can see by most of the first half - we played pretty good," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The Jaguars had only 16 yards of offense until Bortles led them on an 80-yard drive at the end of the first half, ending it with the jump ball to Lewis in the left corner of the end zone.
The Jaguars got the ball to start the second half, and Bortles found Marquise Lee on a 34-yard catch-and-run on third-and 7. After two more completions, Jacksonville went to some trickery with a backward to Cecil Shorts III, who then threw across the field to Todman to the 9.
It looked as if Jacksonville would have to settle for a tying field when Bortles was flushed from the pocket and scrambled down the sideline to the 2 on third-and-goal. But linebacker Avery Williamson was called for holding Lewis away from the play, giving the Jaguars new life. Toby Gerhart punched it in from the 1 on the next play.
The turnaround for the Jaguars was surprising. Losers of seven of their last eight games, the Jaguars had only two offensive touchdowns in their previous 46 drives over four games and nearly two quarters, and just like that, Bortles took them down the field for touchdowns on consecutive drives.
That was a bright spot in a game otherwise devoid of them early.
For the final NFL game on Thursday night this year, about the only thing at stake was the inside track for the No. 1 pick, and likely a slightly easier schedule. In this case, the loser had more to gain.
The Titans were led by third-stringer Whitehurst, who was replacing Zach Mettenberger. Whitehurst couldn't miss at the start, and for the first time this year, the Titans scored a touchdown on their opening possession.
Tennessee made it 10-0 in the second and had a 179-16 advantage in yards.
But things turned from there, with Bortles, Todman and Marks providing the big plays.
"It was a great feeling," Todman said. "You're looking up at the scoreboard just hoping you don't get caught from behind. It was a great call. The line did a good job. I made a guy miss and then it was off to the races. It was just what we needed - just what I needed."
Notes: The Jaguars gave up four sacks, giving them 66 for the season and breaking the franchise record of 63 set in 2001. Jacksonville has allowed at least four sacks in six consecutive games. ... Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart left the game with bruised ribs, tried to return and then sat out for good late. He finished with 53 yards on 12 carries. ... Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton was on the sideline for the first time this season. ... After NFL observers complained and maybe threatened a fine, Jaguars LB J.T. Thomas removed his teal-tinted visor at halftime.
AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
|Jones scores 21 to lead No. 2 Duke over UConn
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Freshman point guard Tyus Jones scored 21 points, Justise Winslow hit two key baskets late in the game and No. 2 Duke responded to a tongue lashing by coach Mike Krzyzewski to beat defending national champion Connecticut 66-56 on Thursday night.
Winslow and Jahlil Okafor - the other two members of the Blue Devils' trio of talented freshmen - added 12 points apiece. Ahead 30-25 at the break, Duke (10-10) got off to a slow start in the second half and UConn (4-4) tied it, raising Coach K's ire.
Amile Jefferson added 11 points and 13 rebounds for Duke in a game that had the feel and intensity of a NCAA tournament contest.
Ryan Boatright had 22 points to lead the Huskies. Kentan Facey added 14 points and Daniel Hamilton had 10.
|Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks
BOSTON (AP) The Boston Celtics traded point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas on Thursday night, cutting ties with the last remnant of their last NBA championship while giving Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks a chance at another title.
The Celtics will send Rondo and forward Dwight Powell to Dallas for Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, two draft picks and a $12.9 million trade exception.
"Welcome to Rajon Rondo the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks," team owner Mark Cuban wrote on the social media application Cyber Dust shortly before the official announcement. Cuban also thanked the three departing players, calling them "Amazing players and better people."
Boston got a first-round pick in next year's draft and a second-rounder in 2016. The Celtics have eight first-round picks in the next four years, picking them up in trades for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and even coach Doc Rivers as they shed the pieces of the New Big Three that earned the franchise its unprecedented 17th NBA title in 2008.
"We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics," the team's owners said in a joint statement. "We will always cherish the time he was here."
The Mavericks get a pass-first point guard - a four-time all-star - to team with Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler in what they hope will make them a contender again. Dallas is 19-8 this season but in third place in the Southwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks, who won their only NBA title in 2011, have not won a playoff series since.
The deal has been years in the making, with the Celtics shopping Rondo every time a coach grows tired of his moods or his contract expectations grow too large for their budget. But every previous time Boston management decided that the offers weren't enough.
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge found a partner in Dallas, which is coached by his former Boston teammate Rick Carlisle.
Rondo, 28, joined the rebuilding Celtics as the 21st overall pick out of Kentucky in 2006 and became the point guard for an NBA champion in his second year when Boston acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett the next summer. They helped the Celtics reach the NBA finals again two years later.
With the once-proud franchise mired in what now looks to be an extended rebuilding process, though, Rondo became more valuable as a trading chip. Due to be a free agent at the end of the season, he was reportedly expecting a contract at or near the NBA maximum.
Rondo has averaged 11 points, 8.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds over his career. He missed the second half of the 2012-13 season and the first half of last season to have reconstructive knee surgery, and then reportedly fell in the shower in Las Vegas on the eve of training camp and missed all of the preseason.
In 22 games this season for Boston, Rondo had an NBA-best 10.8 assists per game and also averaged 8.3 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Nelson, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal last summer after 10 seasons in Orlando, was starting at point guard for Dallas, averaging 7.3 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 37 percent from the field.
Wright has played about 19 minutes a game, averaging 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Crowder has averaged 3.6 points per game for Dallas.
Powell has totaled nine points and nine minutes in five games for Boston this season as the Celtics (9-14) opened their second season under new coach Brad Stevens.
AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.
|49ers' Harbaugh mum on reported offer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is declining to respond to reports that he is weighing an offer from Michigan to become the new football coach at his alma mater.
Harbaugh has one season remaining on the $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011. Several media outlets, including ESPN and the NFL Network, have reported Harbaugh has a six-year offer on the table from the Wolverines to return to Ann Arbor.
"As you know, I'll only talk about the job that I have. We've been together a long time and it's a longstanding policy," Harbaugh said Thursday.
All season long, he has said he won't let outside issues affect him. His name has emerged as a possible candidate for what should be several NFL vacancies after the season if Harbaugh and the 49ers part ways, including to fill the job across the bay in Oakland.
San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke said this week that a decision on Harbaugh's future would come after the season. The Niners (7-7) were eliminated from playoff contention in last Sunday's 17-7 loss at Seattle, giving them their first three-game losing streak under Harbaugh. San Francisco had reached three straight NFC championship games, losing the Super Bowl after the 2012 season.
"Trent and I have discussions every day," Harbaugh said, noting he still intends to coach out his contract. "I have said that I'm going to finish this `til the end. My focus is the same as the players' focus, the same as the coaches' focus, focused on the practice field, focused in meetings, by our players, by our coaches and by me."
Harbaugh said the 49ers still have plenty to play for in their final two games, Saturday at home against San Diego and next week hosting Arizona - like ending with a winning record.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who worked on Harbaugh's staff at Stanford before joining him in the jump to the NFL, said everybody wants to end this season on a positive note despite all the outside chatter about the coach's future.
"We don't talk about that stuff at all. We're focused on the Chargers, all that water cooler talk is just that," Roman said.
When asked whether he still has a special affinity for the Michigan program and university, Harbaugh again wouldn't bite.
"Again, I really don't want to talk about any other job than the one I have or talk about anybody else's process," Harbaugh said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
|How to of the Day
|How to Calculate Distance
Distance, often assigned the variable d, is a measure of the space contained by a straight line between two points. Distance can refer to the space between two stationary points (for instance, a person's height is the distance from the bottom of his or her feet to the top of his or her head) or can refer to the space between a moving object and its starting location. Most distance problems can be solved with the equations d = s × t where d is distance, s is speed, and t is time, as well as d =
|How to Make Eggnog
Nothing says "holiday spirit" like a glass of eggnog! It tastes like Christmas, and when you combine just a few simple ingredients, you have a treat the whole family can enjoy. Learn how to make easy eggnog for your family, a traditional batch large enough for a party, or a glass of iced eggnog to enjoy on your own.
|How to Be a Good Parent
Being a parent can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life, but that doesn't mean it's easy. No matter what age your child/children is/are, your work is never done. To be a good parent, you need to know how to make your children feel valued and loved, while teaching them the difference between right and wrong. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to create a nurturing environment where your children feel like they can thrive and develop into confident, independent, and caring adults. If you want to know how to be a good parent, see Step 1 to be on your way.
|How to Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree
Is your cat smitten by your Christmas tree, so intrigued that she clambers onto it, knocking needles, decorations and tinsel everywhere? Or perhaps she has even come close to knocking over the entire tree? Keeping your curious cat out of the Christmas tree is a wise idea for everyone involved, to help avoid injury to your cat and the potential for further damage to the items near the tree and people in the vicinity of it.
|How to Teach Close Reading
Many parents are asking how they can prepare their children for Common Cores State Standards (CCSS). Within the standards there is a strong emphasis on reading comprehension skills. Close Reading is a strategy that parents can practice with their children to improve their reading comprehension skills.
Close Reading refers to detailed reading. Similar to detectives, children learn to pay close attention to clues in the text to examine the information or message shared by the author. By reading a text more than once, children are able to access increased levels of meaning.
|Cyberattacks: 'Sony is just the beginning'
The Sony hack was unprecedented -- but experts say breaches into government systems are skyrocketing and warn that worse is to come.
|ISIS 'expanding into hacking'
North Korea, with its previous technologically laggard image, may have just shocked the world with some alleged hacking savvy, but when ISIS comes to mind, so does the terrorists' digital bent.
|N. Korea hacking
Jo Jin-hye, who escaped North Korea, wanted to watch "The Interview."
|Hack back at N. Korea, says group
Instead of stealing information from North Korea, hackers try to get information about the regime into the hands of the people.
|George Clooney: Stand with Sony
George Clooney tried to rally support for Sony in the midst of a severe cyberattack on the studio, but the actor says no one would stand with him.