Thunder streak reaches a dozen...'Melo scores 31 in return
UNDATED (AP) — Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were responsible for 68% of Oklahoma's points Wednesday night, sending the Thunder to their 12th straight win.
Durant poured in a season-high 41 points on 14-of-23 shooting and had 13 rebounds as the Thunder topped the Hawks 100-92 in Atlanta. Westbrook added 27 points and 11 rebounds while helping the Thunder improve to a NBA'-best 21-4.
The winning streak matches the longest for the franchise since 1996, when it had a 14-game winning streak as the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Los Angeles Clippers ran their winning streak to a franchise record-tying 11 games with an easy win over New Orleans, which dropped its ninth in a row.
The Clippers are 19-6 after Blake Griffin scored 18 points and Jamal Crawford added 17 in a 93-77 win over the Hornets. Chris Paul had 12 assists to surpass 5,000 for his career as the Clippers matched the club-record winning streak set by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.
The New York Knicks had Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup following a two-game absence due to an ankle sprain.
Anthony helped the Knicks improve to 11-1 at home by scoring 31 points in a 100-86 win over Brooklyn. J.R. Smith added 19 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who bounced back from their first home loss Monday against Houston.
The outcome keeps the Knicks atop the Eastern Conference at 19-6.
The Nets have dropped eight of 10 since an 11-4 start.
The NBA slate includes Indiana's 104-84 romp over Utah. Paul George finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, while Gerald Green added a season-high 21 points.
Zach Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds as Memphis topped Milwaukee 90-80. Marc Gasol (gah-SAHL') added 12 points and 12 rebounds to the Grizzlies' third straight win.
Charlotte's losing streak has grown to an NBA season-high 13 games after Shannon Brown scored a season-high 26 points to lead Phoenix past the Bobcats 121-104. Goran Dragic added 21 points and Jared Dudley had 20 in the Suns' fourth straight win.
Sacramento ended a five-game losing streak as DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points and Aaron Brooks had 23 in a 131-127 win over Golden State. Brooks hit a pair of three-pointers in the final minute after the Kings blew a 15-point lead.
Houston was a 125-103 winner against Philadelphia as James Harden chipped in 33 points and seven assists. Toney Douglas hit five 3-pointers and scoring all 17 of his points in the final period.
J.J. Redick (RED'-ihk) scored 17 points and fellow reserve E'Twaun Moore had 15 to lead Orlando past Washington 90-83. Redick had four 3-pointers in leading the Magic to their fourth straight win.
Boston's Paul Pierce scored 25 of his season-high 40 points in the second half of a 103-91 win over Cleveland. Rajon Rondo (RAH'-zhahn RAHN'-doh) had 20 points and eight assists as the Celtics ended a three-game skid.
Alan Anderson scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Toronto close out its fourth straight win, a 97-91 decision over Detroit. DeMar DeRozan finished with 23 points and Jose Calderon had 17 assists.
Nowitzki practices, still unsure of return
DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki has gone through his first full practice with the Dallas Mavericks since undergoing knee surgery that forced the 11-time All-Star to miss every game so far this season.
After practice, Nowitzki gave no real timetable on when he might make his season debut, except to say "maybe any time after Christmas."
Nowitizki had arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee Oct. 19.
Blue Devils cruise...Pitino beats Pitino
UNDATED (AP) — Duke was an easy winner in the Blue Devils' first game since moving to the top of The Associated Press men's basketball poll.
Seth Curry scored 20 points and Mason Plumlee added 18 as Duke crushed Cornell 86-47. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon had 16 points for the Blue Devils, who scored 23 straight points and claimed their 99th consecutive nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Also in top-25 action, Peyton Siva's (SEE'-vuhz) career highs of five 3-pointers and 12 assists helped No. 5 Louisville whip Florida International 79-55. Siva finished with 15 points as Cardinals coach Rick Pitino, beat his son and FIU coach Richard Pitino.
No. 6 Indiana bounced back from its first loss of the season as Cody Zeller delivered 16 points and six rebounds in a 93-54 pounding of Mount St. Mary's. Christian Watford added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Hoosiers, who went on a 27-2 run bridging halftime to go ahead 64-31.
Mike Rosario shot 4-for-8 from three-point range and scored a season-high 20 points as eighth-ranked Florida ripped Southeastern Louisiana 82-43. The Gators shot 57 percent in the first half and led 43-26.
Sean Kilpatrick scored 25 points and led a second-half surge that carried No. 11 Cincinnati to a 60-45 victory over Xavier. The Bearcats went on a 17-4 run in the first half and won the first meeting between the two schools since their brawl last year.
Fourteenth-ranked Gonzaga shot 61 percent while building a 49-24 lead in a 74-52 romp over Campbell.
Kendall Williams scored nine of his career high-tying during a 17-4 run that propelled No. 16 New Mexico to a 68-63 win over New Mexico State.
Avery Dingman had 14 of his career-high 21 points in the second half of No. 17 Creighton's 71-54 victory against Tulsa.
Anthony Bennett had 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 21 UNLV to a 73-59 victory over Northern Iowa 73-59
No. 22 Notre Dame beat Kennesaw State 85-57 behind Jack Cooley's 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Sheldon McClellan scored 18 points and Julien Lewis added 16 as Texas beat 23rd-ranked North Carolina 85-67.
Markel Brown scored 17 points and Phil Forte added 13 to lead 24th-rated Oklahoma State to a 69-44 victory over Texas-Arlington.
Anderson news conference could be a snow job
UNDATED (AP) — Wisconsin reportedly has found its new football coach and will hire Utah State's Gary Andersen to replace Bret Bielema (BEE'-leh-muh), who left the Badgers earlier this month to take the Arkansas job. The school was expected to introduce Andersen at a news conference Thursday, but a snowstorm might change those plans.
Neither Utah State nor Wisconsin had anything official to announce about Andersen on Wednesday. The delay is at least in part tied to laws in Wisconsin that require a state job to be posted for at least two weeks before it can be filled. The two-week posting was up at the end of business on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old Andersen just completed his fourth and best season at Utah State. The 18th-ranked Aggies finished 11-2 with a bowl victory against Toledo and won the Western Athletic Conference.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-AP COACH OF THE YEAR
Notre Dame's Kelly wins AP coach of the year
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has been voted Associated Press coach of the year after leading the Fighting Irish to a spot in the BCS championship game.
No. 1 Notre Dame is 12-0 and will play No. 2 Alabama for the national title on Jan. 7 in Miami. The Fighting Irish are playing for their first championship since 1988.
Kelly received 25 votes from the AP college football poll panel. Penn State's Bill O'Brien was second with 14 votes.
Oregon reportedly faces NCAA hearing
UNDATED (AP) — Yahoo Sports is reporting that Oregon is likely headed toward a hearing with the NCAA committee on infractions after it could not resolve an investigation of the football coaching staff's use of a scouting service. The NCAA investigated Oregon after questions arose over a 2010 payment of $25,000 to Willie Lyles and his Houston-based recruiting service. Lyles had a relationship with a player from Texas who committed to Oregon and told Yahoo Sports in July 2011 the money was for influencing recruits to attend Oregon.
Griffin takes full practice for Redskins
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Robert Griffin III has taken part in his first full practice since spraining his right knee. The Washington Redskins quarterback said he did all of his usual work as the team held its first workout ahead of this week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Coach Mike Shanahan said doctors will examine Griffin's knee on Thursday to see if there's any swelling. He could then be cleared to play against the Eagles.
Washington has won five in a row to move into a three-way tie atop the NFC East.
Elsewhere around the league:
-- LeSean McCoy will start at running back for the Eagles against Washington in his first game back after missing four because of a concussion. Michael Vick will be the No. 3 quarterback behind starter Nick Foles and Trent Edwards because of his extended layoff.
— Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall returned to practice after serving a one-game suspension for deciding not to show up at Heinz Field for Pittsburgh's game with the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 9. Mendenhall, who was inactive during the game, declined to talk about his decision to stay away but later added "there's a lot of thought" that goes into anything he does.
— Running back Trent Richardson of the Browns doesn't think his college coach, Alabama's Nick Saban, will follow him to Cleveland. Saban will lead the Crimson Tide against Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game and has been mentioned as a possible replacement in Cleveland if the Browns fire second-year coach Pat Shurmur at season's end.
-- Giants receiver Victor Cruz hopes meeting with the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shootings has helped them cope with the tragedy. Cruz described to reporters his meeting with Jack Pinto's family and said he was most affected when asked about their decision to bury their son in his No. 80 jersey. The family said Cruz was their son's favorite player.
Angels and M's pull off deal/Red Sox sign Dempster
UNDATED (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki will remain with the New York Yankees after the 10-time Gold Glove outfielder accepted a two-year, $13 million contract. The 39-year-old will make $6.5 million in each of the next two seasons and needs 394 hits to reach 3,000 for his major league career. Suzuki's batting average jumped from .261 with the Mariners to .322 with the Yankees, with five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 steals.
In other baseball news:
— The Los Angeles Angels have traded Kendrys (KEHN'-drees) Morales to the Seattle Mariners for left-hander Jason Vargas. The 29-year-old Morales. Morales hit .273 with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs last season. Vargas led Seattle in wins last season, going 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA.
— Lefty Jeff Francis has OK'd a one-year, $1.5 million package that keeps him with the Colorado Rockies. Francis is 67-73 with a 4.86 ERA in 205 starts and one relief appearance during eight major league seasons, seven of which have been spent with the Rockies. He was 6-7 with a 5.58 ERA in 24 big league starts and 113 innings this year.
— The Red Sox have signed right-hander Ryan Dempster to a two-year contract. The signing came six days after two people familiar with the negotiations said Dempster had agreed to a $26.5 million deal. The 35-year-old has pitched more than 200 innings in four of the past five seasons. He went 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA this year playing for the Cubs and Rangers.
SPORTS STORY OF THE YEAR
Penn State voted AP sports story of year again
NEW YORK (AP) — The Penn State child sex abuse scandal was selected as the sports story of the year by U.S. editors and news directors in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press. For the first time since the AP began announcing a sports story of the year in 1990, the same issue was selected twice in a row.
The Penn State saga received 1,420 points and 109 first-place votes. The No. 2 sports story, Lance Armstrong stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, had 10 first-place votes and 1,008 points.