15 in a row for Clippers...Thunder end 2-game slide
UNDATED (AP) — The L.A. Clippers made their 15th straight victory look easy, cruising to a 106-77 win over Boston. Matt Barnes led the Clippers with 21 off the bench. Blake Griffin had 15 points and eight boards in just 26 minutes of duty. Chris Paul scored eight and dished out 11 assists for the Clippers.
The Clippers are the first team to win 15 consecutive games since the Celtics won 19 in a row four years ago.
The Clippers lead the NBA with a 23-6 mark. They go for 16 in a row tonight at Utah in the second night of a back-to-back.
In last night's only other NBA game, Kevin Durant scored 40 points while Russell Westbrook added eight of his 16 points in overtime to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat Dallas 111-105 for their 11th straight home victory. That ends OKC's two-game slide.
Knicks' Felton out at least a month
NEW YORK (AP) — New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton won't need surgery on his broken right pinky finger and is expected to be out at least a month.
The Knicks say Felton consulted with a hand specialist yesterday after flying home from Phoenix and will be in a splint to stabilize the finger. Felton, who could miss 4 to 6 weeks, was injured during the Knicks' loss to the Lakers on Christmas.
He is averaging 15.8 points and 6.3 assists, helping the Knicks to a 21-8 start.
In other NBA news:
— Miami Heat guard Dwyane (dwayn) Wade has been suspended one game without pay by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with the groin of Charlotte Bobcats' Ramon Sessions. He's due to serve the suspension Friday night when the Heat play Detroit.
— Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was fined $35,000 by the NBA on Thursday for a flagrant foul against Denver's Kenneth Faried. Howard was ejected from Wednesday night's game.
Nets fire coach; Carlesimo interim
NEW YORK (AP) — Coach of the month in November, out of a job by New Year's.
The Nets have elevated expectations this season, and a .500 record isn't good enough. Coach Avery Johnson has been fired. His team lost 10 of 13 games after a strong start to its first season in Brooklyn and is 14-14 overall.
Johnson was 60-116 in two-plus seasons with the Nets.
Assistant P.J. Carlesimo (kar-LIHS'-ih-moh) will coach the Nets on an interim basis, starting tonight with a home game against Charlotte. General manager Billy King says the Nets might reach out to other candidates, but for now the job is Carlesimo's. The GM wouldn't comment on a report that the team planned to get in touch with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
Bearcats unbeaten no more
UNDATED (AP) — Alex Kirk scored 15 points and blocked Sean Kilpatrick's shot just before the buzzer Thursday night, preserving New Mexico's 55-54 win that handed No. 8 Cincinnati its first loss. That leaves Duke, Michigan, Arizona and Wyoming the only undefeated Division I men's basketball teams.
New Mexico rallied in the second half behind its 7-foot center Kirk, who hit a 3-pointer, got a team-high seven rebounds and slapped away Kilpatrick's jumper off an inbounds play.
The Lobos have won six of their last seven games against ranked teams, leaving them 14-6 against the Top 25 during coach Steve Alford's six seasons.
The Bearcats are 12-1. The Lobos are 13-1, and most likely headed to a spot in the AP Top-25.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWLS-FINAL SCORES
Bearcats prevail in Belk Bowl...San Jose State ends season in style...Baylor takes a Holiday
UNDATED (AP) — Duke's bowl drought continues. The Blue Devils haven't won a bowl game since the 1961 Cotton Bowl, and that streak remains.
Duke raced out to an early 16-0 lead but Cincinnati rallied to beat the Blue Devils 48-34 in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. Brandon Kay tossed four TD passes for the 10-3 Bearcats. Duke finished 6-7.
Duke running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5 with 1:20 left. Kay threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce with 44 seconds to go, lifting the Bearcats to an improbable win over the Blue Devils.
Kay threw for 332 yards and his four scoring passes were a Belk Bowl record.
In other bowl action:
__David Fales completed 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns as No. 24 San Jose State completed a comeback season with a 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl in Washington. The Spartans finished 11-2 and are in the national rankings for the first time since 1975.
__ Baylor clobbered 17th-ranked UCLA 49-26 in a high-scoring Holiday Bowl. The Bears won their final four games to finish 8-5 in their first season since Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III left Waco. Glasco Martin ran for 98 yards and scored three TDs for the Bears.
Trojans QB out of Sun Bowl...'Bama center still hobbling
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Matt Barkley's career at Southern California is over.
Coach Lane Kiffin has announced that the senior quarterback won't play in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech because of an injured shoulder. Instead, redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his second career start.
Barkley's throwing shoulder was injured during USC's second-to-last game against UCLA. He didn't play in the season-finale against Notre Dame. Wittek started the game and the Trojans lost to the Fighting Irish to fall to 7-5 on the season.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama center Barrett Jones is still not practicing while recuperating from a sprained foot.
Jones wore a black, non-contact jersey during the Crimson Tide's practice indoors on Thursday ahead of the BCS championship game against Notre Dame on Jan. 7.
Seahawks DB wins appeal of suspension
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has won his appeal of a four-game suspension for use of performance enhancing substances. That makes him eligible for the team's season finale Sunday and the subsequent playoffs.
Sherman's appeal was based on errors in the chain of custody of his sample and that there were mistakes made by the tester.
Police report Brent's BAC was way high
DALLAS (AP) — Police say Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent had a blood-alcohol content level more than twice the legal limit after the crash that killed teammate and friend Jerry Brown.
A crash report released by Irving police on Thursday says Brent's BAC was measured at 0.189, well above the Texas legal limit of 0.08.
Brent was indicted Wednesday on one count of intoxication manslaughter in the Dec. 8 crash. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, though he could also receive probation.
Sanchez back as Jets QB
UNDATED (AP) — Greg McElroy has a concussion and will be replaced by Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets' starting quarterback in the season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.
Coach Rex Ryan says he chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walkthrough to prepare before the game and he feels "more comfortable" with Sanchez. Sanchez was benched after turning the ball over five times at Tennessee on Dec. 17.
Also from the NFL:
— Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel (kreh-NEHL') was hobbling around on crutches Thursday after having fluid drained from his left knee. He says he still plans to coach from the sideline as usual Sunday at Denver, but if the knee is still bothering him, he'll move up to the press box.
— Browns quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy missed practiced Thursday with shoulder injuries. If neither of them improves, third-stringer Thad Johnson could get his first career start in Sunday's season finale against Pittsburgh. Johnson has taken snaps with the first team the past two days.
Maine signs minor league deal...Fisk admits drunk driving
UNDATED (AP) — Looking for a return to the majors, right-hander John Maine has inked a minor league deal with the Marlins and will compete for the fifth spot in Miami's rotation.
The 31-year-old right-hander pitched in 16 games for the Yankees' Triple-A club in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, going 8-5 with a 4.97 ERA. From 2004 to 2010, Maine had a record of 41-36 with a 4.35 ERA pitching for Baltimore and the New York Mets.
In other baseball news:
— Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge in suburban Chicago. Fisk was sentenced to one year of court supervision and he must pay $1,250 in court costs. The 64-year-old Fisk also must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation, and counseling. Fisk played 11 seasons with the Boston Red Sox and 13 with the Chicago White Sox.
— Free agent slugger Hideki Matsui (hih-DEK'-ee mat-SOO'-ee) has retired from professional baseball, saying he is no longer able to perform at the level that earned him a World Series MVP with the New York Yankees and three Central League MVPs in Japan. The 38-year-old Matsui batted .282 with 175 homers and 760 RBIs for the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays.
US routs Germany at junior hockey worlds
UFA, Russia (AP) — The United States opened pool play at the world junior hockey championships with an 8-0 rout of Germany.
Alex Galchenyuk and Riley Barber each had a goal and two assists for Team USA and goalie John Gibson kicked aside 19 shots through two periods. He was replaced in the third by Jon Gillies who made seven saves to preserve the shutout.
The U.S. plays host Russia today.
Earlier today, Canada moved to 2-0 in pool play by rallying past Slovakia 6-3 behind two goals by Ryan Strome.