The NBA All-Star break has begun following last night's wins by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls downed the Brooklyn Nets 92-76. Joakim Noah had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double. Taj Gibson scored 16 points and Carlos Boozer added 15 after missing three games with a strained left calf.
The Brooklyn Nets and Brooklyn Nets have struggled all season, combining for a 19-42 record heading into Thursday night's NBA schedule. Somehow they managed to earn road wins against two of the league's top teams.
The Nets pulled out a 95-93 comeback win at Oklahoma City on Joe Johnson's jumper as time expired. Deron Williams scored 18 of his season-high 29 points in the second half to help Brooklyn erase a 77-61 deficit.
Kevin Durant had 24 points for the Thunder, who dropped to 2-2 since Russell Westbrook underwent knee surgery.
There were five games in the NBA on Christmas Day and it was not pretty for New York fans.
The first game of the day had the Bulls whipping the Nets 95-78 in Brooklyn, giving Chicago its first winning streak since mid-November. Taj Gibson finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Jimmy Butler chipped in 15 points. The Bulls trailed 50-49 early in the second half before Butler hit a 3-point to spark a 21-5 run that put Chicago in control the rest of the way.
In college basketball, the UAlbany women’s team fell to No. 2 Duke 80-51 Thursday night. Haley Peters scored 17 points for the Blue Devils. Albany led 20-13 with 7:53 remaining in the first half, but Duke answered with a 15-2 run en route to a 34-26 lead at halftime.
Tonight is the UAlbany men’s team final home game of the calendar year. The 5-5 Great Danes will take on Yale, which is coached by former UAlbany player and assistant coach James Jones.
Meanwhile, No. 1 Arizona topped Southern U. 69-43 and it was eighth-ranked Duke over UCLA 80-63.
In the NFL, Cam Newton threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. with 59 seconds left and the Carolina Panthers held off the New England Patriots 24-20 last night for their sixth straight victory when officials picked up a penalty flag on the final play. Stephen Gostkowski's 26-yard field goal put the Patriots up 20-17 before Newton drove Carolina 83 yards on 13 plays for the go-ahead touchdown.
The world of sports is taking the backseat to another tragedy as a massive tornado ripped through a handful of Oklahoma suburbs on Monday. Kevin Durant is among a group of sports stars and coaches who are expressing concern for the victims, posting on his Twitter account that he was praying for everyone involved.
In the NBA playoffs, the Knicks beat the Pacers 105-79 Tuesday night to even the Eastern Conference semifinals at one game. Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points. Iman Shumpert added 15 points, including a sensational follow dunk in the first half. Game 3 is Saturday at Indianapolis. Elsewhere, the Grizzlies earned a 99-93 win at Oklahoma City. Thunder forward Kevin Durant contributed 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
In other NBA news, Phil Jackson has informed the Brooklyn Nets he will not be their new coach.
In the NBA playoffs, David West scored 20 points and the Pacers beat the Knicks 102-95 Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Elsewhere, Oklahoma City held off Memphis 93-91. Kevin Durant scored 35 points.
In other NBA news, Miami Heat forward LeBron James is the NBA's Most Valuable Player for the second straight year and fourth time in his career. Lastly, the Brooklyn Nets general manager says P.J. Carlesimo will not return as coach. The Nets were eliminated from post season play in Game 7 of their first round series with Chicago.