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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Dec. 20, 2012 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

Minnesota ends Thunder's 12-game win streak

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Kevin Love had one of his best showings of the year Thursday in pushing Minnesota to a 99-93 win that ended Oklahoma City's 12-game winning streak.

The Timberwolves had a 13-point lead early in the second half and then fought off a comeback bid to hand the Thunder their first loss since Nov. 23. It was only the fifth setback of the season for Oklahoma City, fewest in the NBA.

Love scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while playing through injuries to an arm and shoulder. He missed the first 11 games of the season while recovering from surgery and the 28 points were the third most he has scored during the campaign.

Oklahoma City climbed within two points with 9:52 to go in the game, but Minnesota then went on a 12-2 run. The Thunder came no closer than the final score after that.

Nikola Petkovic contributed 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who held Oklahoma City to 40 percent shooting. J.J. Barea hit three 3-pointers and scored 18 points.

Kevin Durant produced 33 points for the Thunder and Russell Westbrook added 30. Only once in the previous 16 games had Oklahoma City failed to reach 100 points.


No. 1 Duke remains unbeaten

DURHAM, N.C., Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Mason Plumlee helped top-ranked and unbeaten Duke shake off a slow start Thursday to power past Elon 76-54.

The Blue Devils got some good news early in the day and then went out and won their second game in as many nights while improving to 11-0.

Jabari Parker, a 6-8 forward who attends high school in Chicago and has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the country, announced Thursday he would enroll at Duke next year.

Parker chose Duke over Michigan State, Stanford, Florida and Brigham Young.

Plumlee scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, hitting 9-of-14 from the field. Duke found itself trailing by a point with 7 minutes to go in the first half, but then closed the period on a 15-7 run.

Ryan Kelly added 14 points for the Blue Devils and Rasheed Sulaimon had 13. Duke went 11-of-19 from 3-point range.

The Blue Devils will take the next eight days off before hosting Santa Clara on Dec. 29.

Elon (6-5) was led by Sebastian Koch with 14 points.


Report: Indianapolis coach cleared to return

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Chuck Pagano, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has reportedly been cleared by doctors to return to sideline duties.

The Indianapolis Star said Pagano has been told he can come back to work as long as he feels able to do so.

Pagano was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in September and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Pagano said in November he had been told he was in remission.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has served as interim head coach in Pagano's absence and under Arians' guidance the Colts have gone 8-3.

Indianapolis, which meets Kansas City on Sunday in the next-to-last regular-season game of the year, has a 9-5 record and a win this week would wrap up a wild-card playoff berth.

There was no word from the Colts as to whether Pagano would return to his duties for the Kansas City game.

Indianapolis players, however, are anxious to have him back whenever he makes his first game appearance.

"It would mean the world to us," linebacker Robert Mathis said in a statement posted on the team's website. "He's not fighting it alone. We are here, hearts, minds and souls are with him."


Rangers sign Pierzynski to 1-year deal

ARLINGTON, Texas, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The Texas Rangers announced Thursday they had agreed to a one-year contract with catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who has played in 1,629 major league games.

Pierzynski, 35, must pass a physical examination on Friday before the deal becomes official.

He has played the last eight years with the Chicago White Sox, who with Pierzynski catching won the 2005 World Series. Pierzynski has also played for Minnesota and San Francisco.

He has a career batting average of .284 with 155 home runs and 730 RBI. He hit a career-best 27 home runs last season with a .278 average.

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