Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 6:35 AM


Blazers, Thunder stay hot

UNDATED (AP) — Damian Lillard allowed the Portland Trail Blazers to stay atop of the NBA's Western Conference, one game ahead of Oklahoma City.

Lillard hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with four-tenths of a second remaining to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 119-116 win at Cleveland. The bucket came one game after he hit a game-winning shot with one-tenth of a second to beat Detroit on Sunday.

Lillard canned a career-high eight 3-pointers while scoring 36 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points and 15 rebounds as the Trail Blazers picked up their fifth straight win and improved to an NBA-best 22-4.

The Thunder kept pace with a 105-93 win at Denver as Kevin Durant scored 30 points in Oklahoma City's seventh straight win. Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Thunder, while Serge Ibaka (ih-BAH'-kah) added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Also in the NBA:

— Pau Gasol (gah-SAHL') shot 9-for-12 and finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 96-92 victory at Memphis. Kobe Bryant also had 21 points for the Lakers, who trailed by two in the fourth quarter before going on a 17-4 run.

— Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Charlotte ended a three-game skid by downing Sacramento 95-87. Gerald Henderson added 20 points and reserve Ramon Sessions scored 16 for the Bobcats.

— Golden State outscored New Orleans 104-93. Stephen (STEH'-fihn) Curry led the way with 28 points and 12 assists for the Warriors. David Lee added 21 points and 17 rebounds.


James questionable for Pacers

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James may not be available when the Heat face Eastern Conference opponent Indiana tonight in Miami. He suffered a sprained left ankle in in Monday's game with Utah. He was able to finish the game but woke up Tuesday with soreness.

The league MVP says he's had several sprained ankles and knows how to deal with it. He finished with 30 points in the win over Utah.


Gators holds off Tigers...Spartans in a laugher

UNDATED (AP) — Florida was a winner in the only matchup of top-25 men's basketball teams.

Casey Prather scored the Gators' final eight points and finished with 22 in a 77-75 win against No. 15 Memphis at Madison Square Garden. Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 points as the 16th-ranked Gators ended the Tigers' six-game winning streak.

Joe Jackson scored a team-high 17 points and had a chance to force overtime until his shot was partially blocked and the clock ran out.

In other top-25 action:

— Adreian Payne scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half as fifth-ranked Michigan State ripped North Florida 78-48. Branden Dawson chipped in 12 points for the Spartans, who shot 71 percent in building a 50-19 halftime lead.

— Sixth-ranked Louisville rocked Missouri State 90-60 as Montrezl Harrell had 17 points and eight rebounds. The 10-1 Cardinals dominated inside, outrebounding the Bears 51-30 and outscoring them 46-28 in the paint.

— Le'Bryan Nash had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 7 Oklahoma State to a 75-43 pounding of Delaware State. Markel Brown also had 14 points for the 10-1 Cowboys.

— Cleanthony Early scored 26 points and 11th-ranked Wichita State extended the program's best start by winning at Alabama, 72-67. Fred VanVleet hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to help the Shockers run their season-opening winning streak to 11 games.

— No. 13 Oregon went 12-for-19 from three-point range in a 91-63 blowout over Cal-Irvine. Joseph Young finished with 18 points and Mike Moser added 15 for the 10-0 Ducks.


B's stay home at home

UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks still own the NHL's best record and a two-point lead over Anaheim in the Western Conference.

Duncan Keith scored a goal and added an assist as the Hawks won for the fifth time in six games, beating Nashville 3-1. Patrick Kane's power-play goal snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period and ran his point streak to 10 games, two off his career high.

Antti Raanta (AN'-tee RAHN'-tah) made 16 of his 27 saves in the first period and helped the Blackhawks end the Predators' three-game winning streak.

The Ducks kept pace as Corey Perry notched his 22nd goal while Anaheim was scoring five straight to beat Detroit 5-2. Andrew Cogliano had three assists as the Ducks picked up their sixth consecutive win and dropped the Red Wings to 5-9-6 at home.

Elsewhere on ice:

— Zdeno Chara (zuh-DAY'-noh CHAH'-rah) scored a pair of power-play goals and the Boston Bruins improved to 11-0-1 in their last 11 games by blanking Calgary 2-0. Tuukka (TOO'-kah) Rask stopped 21 shots in his third shutout of the season and the Bruins' third consecutive whitewash of the Flames in Calgary.

— Matthew Irwin and Martin Havlat each had a goal and an assist in San Jose's 4-2 win at St. Louis. The Sharks won for just the second time in seven games and dropped the Blues to 12-3-2 at home.

— Jason Pominville's shootout goal was the game-winner as Minnesota downed Vancouver 3-2. Zach Parise (pah-REE'-say) and Charlie Coyle scored to help the Wild end the Canucks' seven-game winning streak and improve to 14-3-2 at home.

— Max Pacioretty (pash-uh-RET'-ee) scored twice and had an assist during a three-goal third period that lifted Montreal over Phoenix 3-1. Pacioretty scored the game-winner with 6:42 left.

— Ray Whitney scored twice and Colton Sceviour (SEE'-vee-ur) snapped a 2-2 tie with 2:52 remaining to lift Dallas over Colorado 3-2. The Stars were in a 1-for-48 slump in home power plays until Whitney tied the game with his second goal of the night.

— Mark Streit (stryt) and Jakub Voracek had power-play goals 72 seconds apart late in the second period to put Philadelphia ahead 4-2 in a 5-2 triumph against Washington. Voracek scored twice to help the Flyers overcome Alex Ovechkin's (oh-VEHCH'-kihns) league-high 28th goal of the season.

— Shootout goals by Valtteri Filppula (val-TEHR'-ee FIHL'-poo-lah) and Nikita Kucherov (koo-SHEHR'-ahv) completed Tampa Bay's 3-2 comeback win over the New York Islanders, a game the Lightning trailed 2-0 with under three minutes left. Filppula also scored the Lightning's two regulation goals, the last coming with 3.8 seconds remaining.

— Florida picked up its fourth consecutive win as Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim and Brad Boyes scored to lift the Panthers past the Maple Leafs 3-1 in Toronto. Scott Clemmensen made 28 saves to help the Panthers deal the Leafs their fifth loss in six games.

— Third-period goals by Marcus Foligno (foh-LEE'-noh), Matt Moulson and Matt Ellis pushed Buffalo past Winnipeg 4-2, the Sabres' first regulation win since Nov. 15. Ryan Miller was perfect after Mark Scheifele (SHYF'-lee) scored twice in a 36-second span of the second period.

— The L.A. Kings blanked Edmonton 3-0. Red-hot rookie goalie Martin Jones made 24 saves for his third shutout in five games.


Orioles land Balfour

UNDATED (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles have acquired a new closer on what was a pretty busy day for major league transactions.

A person familiar with the contract says the Orioles and free agent closer Grant Balfour have agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract, pending a physical. Balfour went 1-3 with 38 saves in 41 opportunities with Oakland last season.

He fills the void left by the trade of closer Jim Johnson, who was dealt to Oakland this month because Baltimore didn't want to pay him around $10 million per season.

In other major league news:

— The Yankees have come to contract terms with two free agents, second baseman Brian Roberts and pitcher Matt Thornton, pending physicals. A person familiar with the negotiations says the deal with Roberts calls for $2 million for one year, while Thornton gets a two-year, $7 million dollar deal.

— Free-agent outfielder Michael Morse has finalized a $6 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants after passing his physical. Morse hit .215 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs in 88 games this year.

— The Astros have finalized a one-year, $2.45 million contract with right-handed reliever Matt Albers, a package that includes a $3 million option for 2015 with a $200,000 buyout. Albers was 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 56 appearances for Cleveland this year.

— A person familiar with the situation says the Chicago Cubs and reliever Jose Veras were closing in on a $4 million, one-year contract. Veras was 0-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 67 games last season for the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.

— Free agent veteran catcher Matt Treanor (TRAY'-nur) has signed a minor league contract with the Indians. The 37-year-old Treanor did not play last season while recovering from left knee surgery.

— Lefty Charlie Furbush and the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a contract for next season and avoided a potential dispute over arbitration eligibility. Furbush appeared in a team-best 71 games last season and went 2-6 with a 3.74 ERA and a .199 opponent batting average.

— The New York Yankees have been hit with a $28 million luxury tax bill, pushing their total past the $250 million mark since the penalty began in 2003. According to Major League Baseball calculations Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the only other team that exceeded the tax threshold this year and must pay $11.4 million.


AP names All-America team

NEW YORK (AP) — Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton and Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey have been selected to The Associated Press All-America team for the second straight season. Heisman Trophy winner Jameis (JAYM'-ihs) Winston from Florida State added All-American to his resume after his outstanding freshman season.

Heisman finalists Andre Williams from Boston College and Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch also made the first team. Williams joins Carey in the backfield. Lynch, the dual-threat quarterback, was chosen as an all-purpose player.


Saints cut Hartley...Broncos ink Mincey

UNDATED (AP) — The New Orleans Saints will have a new kicker when they take on the Panthers in Carolina this Sunday, a game that could determine the NFC South champion.

The Saints have released Garrett Hartley, two days after he had one field goal blocked and hooked another in a 27-16 loss at St. Louis. He's missed eight of 29 kicks inside 50 yards this season.

The Saints haven't announced who will replace Hartley.

Also in the NFL:

— The Denver Broncos have bolstered their defensive line by signing defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who was released by Jacksonville after a falling-out with management last week. Mincey reunites with Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who was his head coach with the Jaguars earlier in his career.

— Colts linebacker Pat Angerer has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. He was bothered all season by an undisclosed knee injury but continued to play despite the pain. Last year, Angerer made only three starts because of a foot injury.

— Bengals punter Kevin Huber says he'll have surgery on Friday to repair a broken jaw he suffered during Sunday night's loss to the Steelers. Huber was hit in the jaw by Pittsburgh's Terence Garvin during a block on a punt return, causing Cincinnati to sign punter Shawn Powell.

— Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley has landed on injured reserve with a strained right calf, ending his season and perhaps his time patrolling the left side of Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense. He limped off the field in the first quarter of Sunday's 30-20 win over Cincinnati and did not return.

— Dallas has placed linebacker Justin Durant on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury suffered in Sunday's loss to Green Bay.

— The Jaguars will finish the season without receiver Cecil Shorts III and guard Will Rackley after placing them on injured reserve. Shorts needs surgery to repair a nagging groin injury, and Rackley is suffering from post-concussion symptoms.

— The King County Medical Examiner's Office says the death of former first-round NFL draft pick Reggie Rogers two months ago was due to a combination of cocaine and alcohol intoxication. Officials determined his death was accidental.