Durant acrobatics lift Thunder
Kevin Durant scored eight of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the visiting Chicago Bulls 97-91 on Thursday night. Durant iced the game with an off-balance jumper off one foot with 35.1 seconds to play.
Serge Ibaka scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half, and had a team-high nine rebounds for the Thunder, who beat the Bulls for the third time in their last four games at Chicago. Russell Westbrook chipped in with 16 points and 12 assists.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 27 points, and Richard Hamilton added 20 points and eight rebounds. Joakim Noah had nine points, 13 rebounds and a team-high six assists.
The NBA has suspended Sacramento Kings forward Thomas Robinson for two games for elbowing Detroit's Jonas Jerebko in the neck. The play occurred with 10 minutes left in Sacramento's 105-103 win on Wednesday night. Robinson, the fifth overall pick in this year's draft out of Kansas, was immediately ejected.
Kings 105, Pistons 103: DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 11 rebounds to help the host Sacramento hold off winless Detroit Wednesday night. The Kings took the lead for good early in the second quarter and won their second consecutive game. Strong bench play and the inside game of Cousins proved pivotal in the fourth when the lead was cut to one basket several times.
Florida's Wilbekin suspended
No. 10 Florida has suspended starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin indefinitely for an undisclosed reason.
Coach Billy Donovan made the announcement Thursday aboard the USS Bataan, site of Florida's season opener. The Gators play Georgetown on the ambitious assault ship Friday.
Donovan declined to divulge what the 6-foot-2 junior did, but said it wasn't anything criminal or anything that would be considered an NCAA violation. Donovan said "information was brought to me" early Thursday that led to the suspension.
"Scottie is a good kid who made some choices and did some things that I'm not going to have him a part of," Donovan said.
Donovan was unsure when Wilbekin would return.
"How long it lasts, I don't know," he said. "But right now, I felt like he didn't need to be here or playing in this game."
The Gators also will be without swingman Casey Prather, who sustained his second concussion in nine days earlier in the week. Throw in the unexpected departure of forward Cody Larson last month and Florida will have just five returning players and four freshmen for the opener.
Tour winner Wiggins hit by car
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was released from hospital on Thursday after a collision with a car, a few hours after a separate crash left his British Cycling coach with a head injury.
Wiggins, who is also the Olympic time trial champion, sustained bruises to his ribs and hands when he was hit by a car while out training on his bike.
"Bradley has been discharged from hospital after suffering minor injuries... but is expected to make a full and speedy recovery," said Team Sky's Dr. Richard Freeman. "He is now going to spend the weekend at home convalescing with his family."
Wiggins returned home just as Britain coach Shane Sutton was hospitalized following an accident at a nearby location in the Manchester area.
"Shane was taken into hospital where it was identified he has suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain." British Cycling said in a statement. "He is set to undergo more tests, and is likely to stay in hospital for the next few days.
GMs discuss more replay
In between trade talks and early negotiations with free agents, baseball general managers considered some wide-ranging changes that include broader use of instant replay by umpires and protective headgear for pitchers.
During the formal part of the meetings, the GMs talked about instant replay. Video review in baseball began in August 2008 and has been limited to checking whether potential home runs were fair or cleared over fences. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has been saying since early 2011 he wants to expand it to two additional types of calls.
"He was talking about really basically fair-foul, trap plays. But we're looking into more than that," said Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations.
Torre did not detail what types of calls a broader expansion might include.
During tests late this year at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, MLB experimented with the Hawk-Eye animation system that is used to judge line calls in tennis and the TrackMan radar software used by the PGA Tour.
"We still have some questions on the way it is now, if that's going to fit with baseball," Torre said. "I'm not saying it can't be adjusted or they can do something that would make it work for our game."
Depending on what baseball decides, changes might have to be negotiated with the umpires' and players' unions.
GMs also went over ways to protect pitchers from injuries after two were hit on the head by line drives late in the season. MLB staff have said a cap liner with Kevlar, the high-impact material used by military, law enforcement and NFL players for body armor, is among the ideas under consideration.
Federer reaches semis in ATP finals
On an indoor court, Roger Federer can win even when he's not playing his best.
He proved that again Thursday at the ATP finals, beating David Ferrer 6-4, 7-6 (5) and advancing to the semifinals with a group match to spare despite struggling to land his serve and scrambling to stay in the long rallies.
The two-time defending champion is looking for his seventh title at the season-ending event for the top eight players in the world. He is 2-0 at the O2 Arena, with his last group match against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro on Saturday.
Crew chief sidelined for substance abuse
NASCAR has suspended crew chief Charles J. Henry for violating the substance abuse policy.
Henry, who goes by Jerry, is crew chief for RSS Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He crew chiefed for Chris Jones on the No. 38 truck last weekend at Texas. The suspension is indefinite.
Danica Patrick is still Go Daddy's Super Bowl girl. Go Daddy executive chairman and founder Bob Parsons announced Thursday that Patrick will appear in the website domain provider's two Super Bowl ads on Feb. 3.
Go Daddy recently signed New York agency Deutsch Inc. to produce its two 30-second Super Bowl spots, the first time the company has gone outside for the ads it has done itself since 2005. The move raised speculation that Patrick, who has appeared in more Super Bowl ads than any other celebrity with 10, would no longer have such a prominent role in advertising with the company.
The last word
Whether she's back or never left, Danica Patrick is thrilled to be a part of Go Daddy's Super Bowl ads for the ninth straight year.
"I feel we've made a lot of people laugh, we've made a lot of people smile, we've had a lot of fun with them. I'm excited to do them and I'm going to start doing sit-ups right now."