SALT LAKE CITY -- With the Jazz focusing their attention on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook was more than happy to be the star of the show. Antonio Brown Jersey
. "I was working on my shot all summer and I had lots of opportunities to shoot it tonight," Westbrook said. "I had openings I needed to take advantage of." There were times Durant barely crossed halfcourt when Westbrook was already flying toward the hoop or spotting up for a jumper on his way to 28 points and helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 101-87 on Friday night. The Thunder improved to 5-1 in games after a loss. "This is what good teams do. We lost a tough one last night but we came in here and played a tough Utah team in their arena and come out with a win. Thats a good sign," said Durant, who had 19 points the night after losing to Sacramento 106-101. With Oklahoma Citys win, the Thunder (21-6) have clinched the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 15, meaning coach Scott Brooks will lead the Western Conference all-stars for the game on Sunday, Feb. 26, in Orlando, Fla. "Thats great for our team and our organization. I feel truly blessed to be a part of whats going on with the Thunder right now," Westbrook said. The Jazz appeared determined to limit Durants offence -- he had only 10 field goal attempts -- but Westbrook found extra room to drive to the basket and created some fast breaks with five steals. "I was taking what the defence was giving me," Westbrook said. Serge Ibaka had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kendrick Perkins added 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Jazzs big men often helped on Westbrook and Durant, allowing the Thunder to out-rebound Utah 46-32. "Their bigs did a good job inside and between the two of them, they had eight offensive rebounds and that hurt us," Utah coach Ty Corbin said. Al Jefferson led Utah with 20 points and Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward each had 13 points, but the Jazz dropped their fifth game in their past six. Once Utahs reserves drew to 78-73 early in the fourth quarter, the Thunder answered with a 7-0 run, capped by Nick Collisons driving layup. The Thunder finished their road trip with a 3-2 record. Oklahoma City trailed for much of the first half until Durant scored on both ends of a 10-0 run that gave the Thunder a 46-40 lead with 2:15 until halftime. "We didnt have a lot of things going for us early but we fought and stuck together," Brooks said. "The way we finished the game was good basketball." Though they have played the most road games in the Western Conference, the Thunder have compiled a 12-5 away record and looked fresh in the fourth quarter, relentlessly crowding the Jazz on defence. The Jazz, meanwhile, have played 16 games at home (11-5) and the offence is beginning to sputter no matter where they are playing. Utah hasnt reached 100 points in its past four outings and didnt get close Friday -- even though the Thunder had given up at least 106 points on each of the other four games of the road trip. "They were aggressive and we got stuck in one mode and were never able to transition into something else to see what would happen," Bell said. The Jazz took their last lead at 58-56 on Jeffersons jumper with 7:28 left in the third. But Westbrook scored six in a 16-4 run to boost the Thunder to a 72-62 lead. In a three-minute span in the first half, Earl Watson found C.J. Miles for three alley-oop dunks with Durant trailing the plays. But the Thunder found their defensive stride in the second half. "We gave up some easy baskets early but we locked down after that and didnt let them have what they wanted," Durant said. The game marked one year since the abrupt resignation of longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and the hiring of Ty Corbin. Corbin is 21-32 as a head coach. NOTES: The Jazz signed free agent forward DeMarre Carroll on Thursday after Denver waived him, but he did not dress. ... Thabo Sefolosha missed his eighth game with a sore right foot. ... Westbrook has averaged more than 30 points against the Jazz in the past three games. ... Paul Millsap was averaging 25.5 points on 64.1 per cent shooting in his past four games against the Thunder before going 4 of 15 for just 10 points in this one. Andy Dalton Jersey
. Then it really got bad. The Diamondbacks fell behind 6-0 after four innings and it took two two-run homers by Juan Miranda and Chris Youngs two-run infield hit in the seventh inning to rally the Diamondbacks to a 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night. Torrey Smith Jersey
. Smith signed a deal through the 2014 season with Toronto. "The opportunity to play for the Argonauts and contribute in any way I can to the success of the team is exciting," Smith said in a statement. Matt Hasselbeck Jersey
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. Being bounced in the East Division semifinal by Hamilton last fall after winning Grey Cups the previous two seasons prompted general manager Jim Popp to drop some veterans and bring new blood into the defence going into the 2012 campaign.Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry Fraser wants to answer your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org! Hey Kerry, Just got done watching Game 5 between the Devils and Rangers. Im really scratching my head after a goal was allowed to stand that clearly looked like Callahan had kicked in. Should the ref have disallowed the goal on the ice? Ive heard the arguement he was trying to stop, but since when do players stop like that? While it looked like a kicking motion to me I dont understand how he "directed" it in. Thanks Mike Morgese ----- Hey Kerry, a puzzling question struck me while watching Game 5 between the Rangers and Devils after Ryan Callahans questionable "kicking" goal. If in some situation, a player was behind the net and kicked the puck towards the front of the net, maybe trying to get it to a teammate, and the puck ended up bouncing off the goalie and went in, would the goal count? I know a player is not allowed to have a kicking motion to score a goal but what if he kicks the puck, maybe not even towards the net and it goes in off of the other team somehow? Thanks. Jeff - Orlando, FL Mike and Jeff: Thank you for your question concerning how Ryan Callahans goal could be deemed legal by the referee on the ice and then verified through video review. I also have it as a good goal as result of a deflection as opposed to a distinct kicking motion. Rule 38.4 iv) situations subject to video review, qualifies "a distinct kicking motion is one which, with a pendulum motion, the player propels the puck with his skate into the net. " The presence of a distinct kicking motion was not easily determined on this play as Ryan Callahan cut through the top of Marin Brodeurs goal crease with Dainius Zubrus attempting to tie up the NY Ranger on the back check. Callahan was in a glide path with the majority of his weight on the inside edge of his right skate as he approached and was gliding through the crease. This provided a push back on Zubrus and would control his direction so as to avoid contact with Martin Brodeur inside the crease. There is no queestion in my mind that Ryan Callahan was focused on the puck that was thrown in his direction from the corner by Artem Anisimov. Lardarius Webb Jersey
. I also believe that as the puck approached he deliberately turned/moved his left skate to redirect the puck into the net. From a camera angle behind Callahan we see a small snow shower resulting from his left skate (potential kicking motion foot) that provides a thread of evidence that some form braking motion was being utilized by Callahan or at the very least to stop the leg skates forward motion toward the net. Given the glide path to through the crease and the repositioning of Callahans left skate (including stopping action with that skate) I would deem contact with the puck as a deflection as opposed to a distinct kicking motion. Jeff, in answer to your question on a puck that would enter the net through a deflection following a distinct kicking motion we find the answer in a continuation of rule 38.4 iv); "This would also be true even if the puck, after being kicked deflects off any other player of either team and then into the net. This is still NO GOAL. See rule 49.2" Rule 49.2 further clarifies, "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who kicks a puck that deflects into the net off any player, goalkeeper or official. The following should clarify deflections following a kicked puck that enters the goal: i) A kicked puck that deflects off the body of any player of either team (including the goalkeeper) shall be ruled no goal. ii) A kicked puck that deflects off the stick of any player (excluding the goalkeepers stick) shall be ruled a good goal. iii) A goal will be allowed when an attacking player kicks the puck and the puck deflects off his own stick and then into the net. A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who kicks any equipment (stick, glove, helmet, etc.) at the puck, including the blade of his own stick, causing the puck to cross the goal line." For a personally autographed copy of Final Call from TSN hockey analyst and former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, visit The Book Keeper website. For a regular copy of Final Call from TSN hockey analyst and former NHL referee Kerry Fraser, visit here. ' ' '