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Thunder hold back Lakers’ late charge

OKC guard Russell Westbrook dunks in front of Dwight Howard. (Associated Press)
OKC guard Russell Westbrook dunks in front of Dwight Howard. (Associated Press)

NBA: Kevin Durant had 36 points, Russell Westbrook scored 27 of his 33 in the first half to stake Oklahoma City to a commanding lead and the host Thunder beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-108 Friday night.

NBA scoring leader Kobe Bryant had 35 points to lead Los Angeles, which trailed by as much as 19 before rallying to get within four in the final minute. Dwight Howard added 23 points and 18 rebounds for the Lakers.

What could have been an early showdown between championship contenders instead had the Lakers limping in with a losing record and three key players out because of injuries.

Westbrook’s big first half put the Thunder in control, but L.A. charged back with a late 27-12 run to make it interesting.

The game grew tense when Metta World Peace – already a public enemy in Oklahoma City after he clocked James Harden last season – and Serge Ibaka each got technical fouls for a confrontation in the closing minutes.

World Peace grabbed Ibaka’s back and the two barked at each other face to face and chest to chest, with Ibaka then grasping the back of World Peace’s jersey. Ibaka rared back with his right fist clenched, but the two were separated before it escalated any further.

76ers nip Celtics in overtime: Evan Turner had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 95-94 overtime win over the visiting Boston Celtics.

Turner drove past Courtney Lee and tossed up an off-balance, right-handed shot for a 95-94 lead with 3.9 seconds left. Boston guard Rajon Rondo slipped and his ankles buckled on the last possession, costing him a chance to hit the potential winner, a dud ending to his sizzling triple-double of 16 points, 14 assists and a season-high 13 rebounds.

Noah doubles up on career bests: Joakim Noah had 30 points and 23 rebounds, setting career highs in both categories and helping the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons for the 16th straight time, 108-104 at Auburn Hills, Mich.

Grizzlies maintain NBA’s best mark: Rudy Gay tied a season high with 28 points and the Memphis Grizzlies maintained their NBA-best winning percentage with a 96-89 win over the host New Orleans Hornets.

Giants cap contracts with Pagan, Scutaro

Baseball: Center fielder Angel Pagan and second baseman Marco Scutaro completed their new contracts with the San Francisco Giants.

Both players signed after passing physicals. Pagan received a $40 million, four-year contract Monday. Scutaro reached agreement a day later on a $20 million, three-year deal with the World Series champions.

In other news:

• Right-hander Brandon McCarthy reached agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a $15.5 million, two-year contract.

• Right-hander Dan Haren agreed to a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals.

The N.L. East champions announced the deal without giving financial terms. The 32-year-old Haren was a free agent after going 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012.

• The Chicago Cubs finalized a $9.5 million, two-year contract with pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa. The 32-year-old right-hander had 220 saves in 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Central League.

• Speedy outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees agreed to a $2.85 million, one-year contract that avoids salary arbitration.

• The Boston Red Sox obtained right-hander Graham Godfrey from the Oakland Athletics, completing a trade for right-hander Sandy Rosario.

• Reliever Randy Choate and the St. Louis Cardinals finalized a $7.5 million, three-year contract.

• The Toronto Blue Jays plan to honor former slugger Carlos Delgado next year by adding his name to the club’s Level of Excellence. The franchise leader in home runs and RBIs will be the 10th person to be so honored by the Jays.

Indiana, Georgetown advance to final

Men’s soccer: Femi Hollinger-Janzen scored midway through the first half and Indiana held off Creighton 1-0 at Hoover, Ala., to advance to the NCAA soccer final.

The seven-time champion Hoosiers (15-5-3) will play Georgetown in the title game Sunday.

Hollinger-Janzen gathered a deflected pass on the right wing and booted an 8-yard shot that bounced in off goalkeeper Jeff Gal for his fourth goal of the season.

Creighton (17-4-3) lost for the first time in 15 games.

In the earlier semifinal, Georgetown goalkeeper Tomas Gomez blocked Helge Leikvang’s shot in the final round of a shootout, lifting the Hoyas over Maryland 4-3 on penalty kicks after they had played to a 4-4 tie.

Georgetown (20-3-2) beat Maryland (20-2-2) for the first time in 29 tries.

Stallworth eclipses 1,000 in Kentucky win

Women’s basketball: DeNesha Stallworth had 17 points to pass 1,000 for her career and added 13 rebounds to lead No. 7 Kentucky (7-1) to a 96-64 victory over DePaul (6-3) at Lexington, Ky.

No. 11 California rolls: Gennifer Brandon and Brittany Boyd scored 19 points apiece to help No. 11 California (7-1) rout Cal State Bakersfield (1-7) 84-46 at Bakersfield, Calif.

Maze wins third race; Vonn loses control

Skiing: Tina Maze of Slovenia won her third race of the season by finishing first in both runs of a World Cup super-combined event at St. Moritz, Switzerland, while American Lindsey Vonn failed to finish.

Vonn was fourth in the Super-G but lost control of a ski during an early turn in her slalom run and failed to finish.

Cooper takes lead in tie-down roping

Rodeo: Defending world champion Tuf Cooper took the lead in the tie-down roping season standings in the National Finals Rodeo, tying for second in the second round.

Cooper, from Decatur, Texas, earned $12,662 to push his season total to $155,341, ending Justin Maass’ 10-month run at the top. Maass, from Giddings, Texas, was shut out after failing to finish in the top six, leaving him at $144,001 with eight rounds left.

Cooper’s brother, Clif, won the round with a 7.3-second run. Tuf Cooper and Monty Lewis of Hereford, Texas, finished at 7.5.