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Durant, streaking Thunder beat Hawks, 100-92

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Durant, streaking Thunder beat Hawks, 100-92

ATLANTA (AP) Kevin Durant set a season high with 41 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Atlanta Hawks 100-92 on Wednesday night for their 12th straight win.

Russell Westbrook had 27 points - 21 in the first half - and 11 assists. Durant, who had 18 points in the fourth period, had 13 rebounds.

No other Oklahoma City player scored in double figures.

Oklahoma City (21-4) improved the NBA's best record and atoned for a 104-95 home loss to the Hawks on Nov. 4. That loss left Oklahoma City 1-2; it is 20-2 since then and hasn't lost since Nov. 23 at Boston.

The 12 straight wins matches the longest streak for the franchise since 1996, when it had a 14-game winning streak as the Seattle SuperSonics.

Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 19 points. Josh Smith had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Al Horford and Lou Williams each had 13 points.

The Hawks took their last lead at 19-17 on a follow shot by Anthony Morrow. The Thunder then went ahead with a 10-1 run that overlapped the end of the first period and the start of the second. Martin opened and closed the run with jumpers.

Oklahoma City stretched the lead to 17 on four straight free throws by Durant following fouls by Morrow late in the half.

The Thunder led 68-52 midway through the third quarter, but a technical foul against Smith with 3:12 remaining in the period seemed to spark the Hawks.

Smith sank a 3-pointer as part of Atlanta's 8-0 run to close the period. Anthony Tolliver scored the first three points of the fourth quarter on a free throw and jam to cut the Thunder's lead to 73-69.

Westbrook ended Atlanta's 11-0 run with a jam following an offensive rebound by Nick Collison.

The Hawks stayed close as Williams had two 3-pointers in the final period. Teague and Kyle Korver also had 3s in the final period for Atlanta.

Durant slowed Atlanta's comeback attempt when he dominated a sequence on both ends of the floor, blocking a shot by Smith before throwing down a jam. Smith drew a foul and Durant sank the free throw to push the lead back to 10 points at 85-75.

With about 3 minutes remaining, Durant hit a fallaway jumper. Less than a minute late, he made a spin move and then sank a 3-pointer over Korver, who was left shaking his head.

Sere Ibaka had 4 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder.

NOTES: The Thunder assigned F Perry Jones and G DeAndre Liggins to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League. Jones, the first-round pick from Baylor, has appeared in 10 games, averaging 1.2 points and 1.4 rebounds. ... The Hawks were without G Devin Harris, who left Tuesday night's game at Washington after injuring his left foot. ... Morrow returned after missing two games with a sore back. ... Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, Kris Medlen and Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves attended the game and sat with former teammate Tommy Hanson, who was recently traded to the Angels.

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Redskins Talk live from Miami for Super Bowl week: How to watch, live stream, listen

Redskins Talk live from Miami for Super Bowl week: How to watch, live stream, listen

Before the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers play for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, the Redskins Talk crew will break down the Redskins and happenings around the NFL.

JP Finlay and Mitch Tischler will welcome special guests everyday from Tuesday to Friday, live from Radio Row in Miami.

The Redskins are in the midst of a busy time, ushering in a new era under the direction of newly minted head coach Ron Rivera. With the NFL Combine, free agency and the draft right around the corner, Redskins Talk has your fix with analysis, discussion and high-profile guests. 

Here's everything you need to know.

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John Carlson's return to All-Star Game further cements his place among NHL's elite

John Carlson's return to All-Star Game further cements his place among NHL's elite

ST. LOUIS -- During the "Young Guns" era of the Capitals, Washington's hockey team was known for one thing and one thing only: Offense. Even the biggest name defenseman on the roster, Mike Green, was an offensive defenseman. He was among one of the top offensive producers in the game, but his defensive acumen often left much to be desired. When Green left Washington, John Carlson was quickly painted with the same brush.

A defenseman who can put up numbers playing with the Caps? Well, he must not be any good defensively. That perception followed Carlson for many years and he never seemed to get the recognition that his all-around play warranted.

Now in his second straight All-Star Game, that perception finally seems to have changed. Now there is no question that Carlson ranks among the top defensemen in the league, at least according to some of the game's biggest stars.

"I enjoy watching his highlights and just seeing where I can pick up from him," Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes said. "He's having a great year and it's good for him."

"I just feel like he's been on fire right from the first game of the year," said Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, who won the Norris Trophy last year as the league's top defenseman. "To be able to put up those type of numbers, trust me, it's looking a lot easier than it really is out there."

Carlson has finished in the top-five in the Norris in each of the past two seasons, but has never been a finalist. Now at the All-Star Break he appears to be the front-runner.

The Pro Hockey Writers' Association released its midseason awards on Thursday, a good reflection of where the trophy races stand at this point in the season. Carlson was voted No. 1 for the Norris. That should come as no surprise considering the historic season Carlson is having.

Through 49 games, Carlson has 60 points, the most among all defensemen. That puts him on pace for exactly 100 points by the end fo the season, a mark that has not been reached by a blue liner since Brian Leetch in the 1991-92 season. Heck, no defenseman has even reached 90 points since Ray Bourque in 1993-4. That's how rare and how special Carlson's current season is.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," T.J. Oshie said of Carlson's season. "Ever since I got to the Caps, you can kind of tell that he wasn't fully matured yet and his game wasn't to the level that it was going to get to yet. Over the last four and a half years now, he seems to just keep growing, keep getting better, keep getting smarter, more experienced. "

One-hundred points is a special number among defensemen as plenty noted at All-Star media day.

"It's pretty special," Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "I mean, 100 points, that's a lot of points. Just for him to be on pace for that is pretty special."

"For a lot of guys it's unrealistic so you don't really focus too much about it," Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said, "But with the way he's playing and with the consistencies he's having with the production this year, I hope he breaks it."

But while Carlson's offensive production is certainly driving the Norris conversation, that is not why he is looked upon so highly around the league. He is praised as one of the top defensemen because of what he is doing at both ends of the ice.

"As a D-man, you look back, you talk about offensive defensemen, you talk about defensive defensemen. Nowaday you talk about two-way defensemen and John Carlson is a great two-way defenseman," Hedman said. "He plays against another team's top lines, power play, PK and production at that rate is unheard of."

For those who work with Carlson, the attention and praise Carlson is finally getting is overdue. To them, his play is only confirming what they already knew, that he is one of the best defensemen in the game.

"We're not perfect in any aspect of our game right now, but we're in a good spot because of John Carlson," head coach Todd Reirden said. "He's really received some more recognition than he has in the past and it's all well-deserved."

"Everyone talks about the points he has which are pretty amazing and pretty special," Oshie said. "But his play all around, playing PK, playing big minutes defensively, to play against other team's top units and top lines, in my eyes I think he's the best defenseman in the league."

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