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Thursday's Results
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Top-25 College Basketball
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An  inbounds  play  to  remember  ended  with  Tyler  Griffey  putting  in  an uncontested  layup just before the buzzer, as Illinois stole a thrilling 74-72 victory  over No.  1  Indiana in  an  instant classic  at  Assembly Hall.  The Fighting  Illini, who came in 2-20 all-time against No. 1 programs, trailed by double-digits  with under  4 1/2 minutes remaining, but D.J. Richardson scored eight  consecutive  points during  an 11-1  run to tie  things coming down the stretch. Richardson came away with a steal of Victor Oladipo with time winding down,  though Oladipo  came from behind and blocked Richardson's potential go-ahead  layup out of bounds as the clock ticked to 0.9 seconds. Illinois set up hree  players along  the right wing perimeter with Brandon Paul inbounding in the  corner. A scrum left Hoosiers All-American candidate Cody Zeller with his
back  turned  to Griffey, who  ran down the lane  untouched and laid in Paul's bounce  pass with  ease as the buzzer sounded, signaling the orange-clad crowd to rush the court.

Elsewhere in the Top-25:
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(4) Duke 98, North Carolina State 85
(6) Gonzaga 82, Pepperdine 56
Colorado 48, (19) Oregon 47
Texas A&M 70, (21) Missouri 68

National Basketball Association
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The Boston Celtics have yet to lose since Rajon Rondo suffered a torn ACL, and none  of  their six wins  following the All-Star  point guard's injury were as impressive  as Thursday's 116-95 pasting of the rival Los Angeles Lakers. Paul Pierce  led  the way  with 24 points,  seven rebounds and  six assists for the Celtics,  who  shot 53 percent from  the field and led  by as many as 32. Jeff Green  donated  19 points off  the bench, while  Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett added  15 apiece  in the  rout. The  Lakers welcomed  back Dwight  Howard, who missed  three  straight games with a  shoulder injury, but the All-Star center was  a  virtual non-factor  in totaling  nine points  and nine rebounds before fouling  out in  the fourth quarter. Kobe  Bryant netted 27 points and did not record an assist for just the third time this season, as LA fell to 3-2 on its seven-game road swing.

Elsewhere in the NBA:
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Denver Nuggets 128, Chicago Bulls 96

National Hockey League
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Colin  Wilson scored twice and Pekka Rinne recorded 32 saves to notch his 26th career  shutout, as the Nashville Predators earned their first home win with a 3-0  victory over  the Los  Angeles Kings  on Thursday  at Bridgestone  Arena. Gabriel  Bourque also lit  the lamp, while Kevin Klein added a pair of assists for  the  Predators, who have won  four straight since opening the season with losses in five of their first six games. Los Angeles outshot the Preds, 32-14, but  the Kings couldn't solve Rinne en route to their third loss in their last four games. Jonathan Quick allowed all three goals in the setback.

Elsewhere in the NHL:
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Buffalo Sabres 5, Montreal Canadiens 4 (SO)
New Jersey Devils 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
New York Rangers 4, New York Islanders 1
Florida Panthers 3, Philadelphia Flyers 2 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Washington Capitals 2
Calgary Flames 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Carolina Hurricanes 3, Ottawa Senators 2 (OT)
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Winnipeg Jets 2
Detroit Red Wings 5, St. Louis Blues 1
Vancouver Canucks 4, Minnesota Wild 1
Chicago Blackhawks 6, Phoenix Coyotes 2

=== As of 7:45 a.m. (et) ===

=== MLB ===

Seattle  Mariners ace Felix Hernandez will soon become a lot richer. According to  USA Today Sports, Hernandez and the club have agreed to a seven-year, $175 million  contract  that should be  finalized before spring training. The deal, which  would make  "King  Felix"  the highest  paid  pitcher  in MLB  history, replaces  the final  two years of his existing contract. The new contract will take  effect this  season and pay Hernandez $25 million annually through 2019. Last year, Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA  and  recorded 223  strikeouts in  a season highlighted  by a perfect game against  the Tampa Bay  Rays on Aug. 15. Hernandez, who turns 27 in April, has made  238 starts  for the Mariners since  debuting in 2005, going 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA.

=== NHL ===

Just  because Tim  Thomas chose not to  play in the National Hockey League for the  2012-13 season,  didn't mean  the  Boston Bruins  were going  to let  him languish.  On  Thursday, the B's  announced that the 38-year-old netminder was dealt  to  the New York  Islanders in  exchange for a conditional second-round pick  in either 2014  or 2015. New York needs to reach the salary-cap floor of $53  million,  and Thomas' "35-plus" contract,  which includes a cap hit of $5 million  pro-rated  for   this  truncated  season,  will  help  satisfy  that requirement regardless  of whether  or not Thomas  actually plays. Thomas, who decided to take this season off to spend time with his family in Colorado, won the Vezina Trophy as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011 when he led Boston to its first Stanley Cup title since 1972.

=== NFL ===

Minnesota  Vikings running  back Adrian Peterson underwent surgery Thursday to repair  a sports hernia.  The  Vikings  expect  a  quick recovery  and  don't anticipate  any long-term issues  for the 2012 NFL MVP. If recent history is a guide,  Peterson should  be more than ready  for the start of the 2013 season. Peterson  recovered  from tearing the  anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments  in his left knee near the end of the 2011 campaign to finish a mere eight  rushing yards  shy of  Eric  Dickerson's NFL  single-season record.  He posted  2,097  yards and 12  touchdowns on 348  carries and helped the Vikings reach the playoffs.

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The   NFL  has  reinstated  coach  Gregg  Williams,  who  had  been  suspended indefinitely  for his  central role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal. Following  the reinstatement, Williams was officially named a defensive senior assistant for the Tennessee Titans. Williams was the defensive coordinator for the Saints from 2009-11, when the NFL said the bounty program existed. It will be  the second  go-round with  the Titans  for Williams,  who started  his NFL coaching  career  with Tennessee in  1990 and spent  11 seasons with the club, including four years as the defensive coordinator.

=== GOLF ===

Hunter  Mahan and  Russell Knox are each  6-under par and share the lead after the  first  round of the Pebble  Beach National Pro-Am in northern California. Mahan  played his  round on  the par-72  Pebble Beach  Golf Links,  while Knox
played  the  par-70 Shore  Course  at  Monterey  Peninsula Country  Club.  The tournament  features a three-course rotation that also includes Spyglass Hill. Seung-Yul  Noh had  reached minus-7, but bogeyed his final two holes to finish at 5-under, joined there by Ted Potter Jr., Matt Every, Greg Owen, Ryuji Imada and  Scott  Langley. Defending champion  Phil Mickelson  carded a pair of late bogeys to complete round one at 1-under.

 

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