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Durant’s career-high 54 points pace OKC

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has scored 36 points or more in the past three games. (Associated Press)
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has scored 36 points or more in the past three games. (Associated Press)

NBA: Kevin Durant scored a career-high 54 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the visiting Golden State Warriors 127-121 on Friday night.

Durant made 19 of 28 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws in his third straight game with at least 36 points.

Stephen Curry had 37 points and 11 assists and Klay Thompson added 26 points for the Warriors, who shot 52 percent but simply couldn’t match up with Durant.

Heat snap skid: LeBron James had 21 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and the visiting Miami Heat beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-86 to snap a three-game losing streak.

Rondo returns: Rajon Rondo returned from a knee injury and missed a 3-pointer for Boston that could have sent the game into overtime, allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to beat the Celtics 107-104 in Boston. Kelly Olynyk scored a career-high 25 points for Boston.

Sharapova, Federer advance

Tennis: Maria Sharapova recovered from the longest, hottest match of her career to beat Alize Cornet 6-1, 7-6 (6) today and reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. In the next match at Rod Laver Arena, Roger Federer had a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Teymuraz Gabashvili.

McIlroy 2 behind at Abu Dhabi

Golf: Rory McIlroy birdied his last two holes to post a 5-under 67 and lie two shots off the lead two rounds into the Abu Dhabi Championship in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Tied for the lead were Scotland’s Craig Lee (67) and Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello (68) at 9 under, a stroke ahead of England’s Danny Willett (63). McIlroy shared fourth with Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez (66) and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn (70).

Reed adds to Humana lead: Patrick Reed found La Quinta (Calif.) Country Club to his liking, too, leaving everyone else behind again in the Humana Challenge.

A day after shooting a 9-under 63 at PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course to take the lead, Reed had another 9-under 63 down the road Friday at tree-lined La Quinta to stretch his advantage to two strokes over Brendon Todd.

Mediate in lead: Rocco Mediate took the first-round lead with a 9-under 63 in the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Kaupulehu-Kona, Hawaii. Moses Lake native and Pullman High School graduate Kirk Triplett shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for 21st.

White closes on Olympic spot

Winter sports: Shaun White dominated the halfpipe qualifying at Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lake, Calif., posting a score of 98.6 to move closer to one of the four spots on the U.S. Olympic halfpipe team.

Logan earns Olympic berth: Devin Logan is headed to the Sochi Olympics with a victory in the slopestyle final at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah. Bobby Brown scored 91.80 on his final run to finish second and clinch a spot in Sochi.

Ligety breaks through: Ted Ligety won his first World Cup super-combined event, defeating Alexis Pinturault in the downhill portion of the race in Wengen, Switzerland. The 29-year-old American has Olympic and world championship gold medals in the combined event but had never before won on the World Cup circuit.

Blackhawks cool off Ducks

Miscellany: Marian Hossa scored two goals, and Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell also tallied to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past visiting Anaheim 4-2 to end the Ducks’ eight-game winning streak and hand them only their second loss in the past 20 games.

Vote favors power conferences: Nearly 60 percent of Division I administrators, commissioners and other officials attending the NCAA convention in San Diego support the concept of autonomy for the nation’s five most powerful conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big 12) on issues that could include giving athletes a stipend toward the full cost of attending college.

Minis 1-2 at Dakar: Eleven-time champion Stephane Peterhansel won Friday’s 12th and penultimate stage of the Dakar Rally in La Serena, Chile, to take the overall lead by only 26 seconds ahead of fellow Mini driver Nani Roma. The race ends today in Valapariso.

The bikes race seems settled, with Marc Coma leading by almost 2 hours overall ahead of fellow Spaniard Jordi Viladoms.