Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 20 at 10:00 AM


Thunder boomers

UNDATED (AP) — There's a new team atop the NBA's Western Conference standings.

Kevin Durant poured in 30 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder earned their eighth straight victory by whipping Chicago 107-94. The outcome leaves the Thunder 21-4, tied with Portland but percentage points ahead of the Trail Blazers and with two games in hand.

Russell Westbrook added 20 points for the Thunder, who saw a 15-point lead shrivel to seven with 8:50 left before Oklahoma City outscored the Bulls 16-4 over the next 5 ½ minutes.

Reggie Jackson's 18 points helped the Thunder improve to 13-0 at home.

The San Antonio Spurs are just a half-game behind the Thunder and Portland. Tiago (tee-AH'-goh) Splitter was 0-for-6 from the floor until he hit a tiebreaking jumper with 2.1 seconds left to give the Spurs their second straight win, 104-102 at Golden State.

Marco Belinelli shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc and had a team-high 28 points for San Antonio. Kawhi (kah-WY') Leonard chipped in 21 points and Patrick Mills added 20 while Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (MAN'-oo jih-NOH'-blee).


Bryant out with knee fracture

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — It took Kobe Bryant eight months to recover from a torn Achilles' tendon suffered during the final week of last season. It's taken him less than two weeks to suffer another serious injury.

The Lakers guard is expected to miss about six weeks with a fracture in his left knee. Bryant made his season debut just nine days ago and played six games after returning from a torn Achilles' tendon.

The knee injury came while he was scoring 21 points to match his season high in Tuesday's 96-92 win at Memphis.

The Lakers went just 2-4 with Bryant in the lineup and are 12-13, leaving them 10th in the Western Conference and 2 ½ games out of a playoff berth.


Will he or won't he?

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers still don't know the status of Aaron Rodgers for this weekend as they try to win the NFC North.

The Packers quarterback hasn't received medical clearance to play in Sunday's game against Pittsburgh, although he looked fine during Thursday's practice. Rodgers has missed the Packers' last six games with a broken collarbone, and coach Mike McCarthy said the team will hold medical meetings on Friday before determining if Rodgers can start Sunday.

Matt Flynn took the majority of the reps on Thursday.

On defense, the Packers have ruled out lineman Johnny Jolly with shoulder and neck injuries that McCarthy said were significant.


Fitzgerald, Palmer expect to play Sunday...Giants Cruz has surgery...Washington shuts down tight end Reed

UNDATED (AP) — Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said he practiced fully on Thursday but has one more concussion test to pass before he is cleared to play Sunday at Seattle. Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer expect to play Sunday after both were injured in last Sunday's 37-34 overtime win at Tennessee. Palmer suffered a high ankle sprain in the game.

In other injury news:

— New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He injured it during Sunday's loss to Seattle. There's no word how long the Giants' leading receiver will be sidelined. Cruz also suffered a concussion in the game, but was cleared of that earlier this week.

— Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed will miss the rest of the season because of lingering effects from a concussion. Reed is being placed on injured reserve. He has missed four games since he was hurt Nov. 17, but remains second on the Redskins in receptions and yards receiving.


Arizona still perfect...Duke throws Garden party

UNDATED (AP) — Top-ranked Arizona is 12-0 for the second straight season following an easy home victory.

Aaron Gordon scored 21 points and Nick Johnson added 17 in the Wildcats' 69-43 rout of Southern. Brandon Ashley had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Arizona, which managed to cruise while Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski sat out with a sprained ankle.

The other top-25 game of the night had No. 8 Duke hitting 11 three-pointers in an 80-63 win against UCLA at Madison Square Garden. Jabari Parker went over the 20-point mark for the ninth time in his 11 college games, finishing with 23 and 10 rebounds. Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook each added 14 points as Duke improved to 9-2.


Pens sizzle, Bruins fizzle

UNDATED (AP) — Make it a six-game winning streak for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they continue to distance themselves from the rest of the NHL's Eastern Conference.

Olli Maata (OH'-lee MAH'-tah) scored on a penalty shot and had two assists as the Pens whipped Minnesota 5-2. Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to nine games with two assists, giving him a league-leading 51 points this season. Matt Niskanen (NIHS'-kah-nehn) and Brandon Sutter scored 1:39 apart in the second period to put Pittsburgh ahead 3-0.

The Penguins have won 11 of their last 12 games and now lead their conference by five points over Boston.

The Bruins were 4-2 losers in Buffalo as Ryan Miller turned back 34 shots and Drew Stafford scored the tiebreaking goal with 5:41 remaining. Marcus Foligno (foh-LEE'-noh) and Brian Flynn each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who have their first winning streak since mid-November.

In other NHL action:

— Tyler Toffoli, Dwight King and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist as Los Angeles stifled San Jose 4-1, the Kings' eighth victory in nine games. Sharks forward Patrick Marleau scored with 2:10 remaining, ending Martin Jones' bid for a fourth shutout in seven games since being recalled last month.

— Erik Cole had a goal and two assists as Dallas downed Vancouver 4-1. The Stars took control on goals by Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour (SEH'-vee-ur) 15 seconds apart in the first period.

— St. Louis overpowered Montreal 5-1 as Alexander Steen scored twice and Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves against his former team. The Blues broke a two-game losing streak and improved to 14-3-2 at home.

— Colorado knocked off Edmonton 4-2 behind Matt Duchene's (doo-SHAYNZ') goal and two assists. The Oilers led 2-1 until Ryan O'Reilly and Max Talbot (TAL'-baht) scored during the last five minutes of the second period.

— Philadelphia scored three unanswered goals in the final 5:39 to beat Columbus 5-4. Erik Gustafsson began the comeback before Claude Giroux (juh-ROO') provided the tying and winning goals to run the Flyers' home winning streak to eight games.

— Shootout goals by Joffrey Lupul (JAHF'-ree LOO'-pul) and James van Riemsdyk (REEMZ'-dyk) pushed Toronto past Phoenix 2-1. James Reimer stopped 34 shots and had a shutout until Martin Hanzal scored with 4:52 left in regulation.

— Detroit beat Calgary 3-2 on Daniel Alfredsson's power-play goal 63 seconds into overtime. Alfredsson also scored 26 seconds into the game and had an assist as the Red Wings won for only the sixth time in 21 home games.

— Anders Lindback made 28 saves and Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist as Tampa Bay doubled up Nashville 4-2. The Lightning have won three straight since a 4-6-3 slump.

— Tom Gilbert and Tomas Kopecky scored in the last 2:32 to give Florida a 4-2 victory against Ottawa. Gilbert tied the game with a power-play goal and Kopecky added a short-handed tally just 51 seconds later.


Yanks, Beltran finalize deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Outfielder Carlos Beltran and the New York Yankees have finalized a $45 million, three-year contract the two sides agreed to on Dec. 6.

The eight-time All-Star has been slowed by knee injuries recently but still wields a potent bat. He hit .296 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for the Cardinals this year and added two homers and 15 RBIs in the postseason.


White Sox get Belisario, close in on Downs

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract with right-hander Ronald Belisario and are closing in on a $4 million, one-year deal with pitcher Scott Downs.

The talks with Downs were revealed by a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

The 30-year-old Belisario was 5-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 77 games with the Dodgers last season and 20-12 with a 3.29 ERA over four years.


Washington looking into recruiting allegations

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington assistant coach Tosh Lupoi says allegations he broke NCAA rules by paying for a football recruit's online classes and tutoring are "untrue attacks," adding that he looks forward to an honest and thorough investigation. Washington confirmed yesterday that it is looking into allegations of recruiting violations against the Huskies' defensive line coach, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. The Times reported Washington and Southern California are investigating whether Lupoi paid for tutoring and online classes for Andrew Basham.


Vonn shows improvement

VAL D'ISERE, France (AP) — Lindsey Vonn had the second-fastest run in World Cup downhill training as she increased the pace in her comeback from a knee injury.

The American finished only 0.04 seconds behind Switzerland's Dominique Gisin in preparation for Saturday's race.

Vonn has five World Cup wins in Val d'Isere and also won two golds at the 2009 world championships.

Vonn raced for the first time in 10 months earlier this month, after a serious knee injury and a partial re-tear of one of two knee ligaments that were reconstructed. Vonn is trying to get back to top form in time for the Sochi Olympics in February.


Boitano comes out

UNDATED (AP) — Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano has announced he is gay, days after being named to the U.S. delegation for Sochi (SOH'-chee).

The 1988 gold medalist says in a statement that being gay is just a part of who he is and he wants the focus to remain on Olympic spirit celebrating achievement in sport by peoples of all nations.

Boitano joins Billie Jean King and former Olympic hockey player Caitlin Cahow as openly gay athletes in the U.S. delegation for the opening and closing ceremonies. Including them is widely seen as a message from the White House to Russia about its treatment of gays and lesbians. President Barack Obama will not attend the Sochi Olympics, nor will first lady Michelle Obama or Vice President Joe Biden.


Spain stays No. 1

ZURICH (AP) — Spain is at the top of the year-end FIFA rankings for the sixth straight year.

The reigning world and European champions were No. 1 for the 28th consecutive month in the just released December rankings. Germany was second in an unchanged top 10, followed by Argentina, Colombia, Portugal, Uruguay, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Brazil.

The United States, the top-ranked team from North and Central America and the Caribbean, remained 14th for the second straight month.