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With a deep breath and a smile, Jabari Parker held up a blue T-shirt with a bright, white “D” on it. All around the Simeon Career Academy gym on the South Side here, cameras flashed and TV cameras rolled as the country learned that Parker would play college basketball at .
Parker’s decision Thursday was a national sports news event, the latest testament to a celebrity rooted in both his skill — he has been considered one of the top players in the nation since his sophomore year — and his Mormon faith.
Parker, a 6-foot-8 senior, has led Simeon to three consecutive Illinois state championships, has dazzled on A.A.U. courts across the country and was coveted by college coaches. His exceptional post moves and jump shot are perhaps exceeded by his biography: an African-American follower of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in urban Chicago.
T-Wolves end Thunder's 12-game streak
Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have been blowing the doors off the rest of the Western Conference in these first two months, playing with the swagger born of their run to the NBA Finals last season.
J.J. Barea and the Minnesota Timberwolves tried to send a message on Thursday night that a second straight trip isn't going to come easy.
Playing with the tenacity that made him so important to the Mavericks' run to the title two years ago, Barea scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Timberwolves snap Oklahoma City's 12-game winning streak with a 99-93 victory over the Thunder.
Kevin Love had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and Nikola Pekovic had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. But it was Barea who was the key, scoring 12 straight at one point for the Wolves to hold off the team with the best record in the league.
"It's important," coach Rick Adelman said of beating the best in the West. "But I would like to see us get to a point where this is not a big deal. It's a big game against the best team, but this is something we can do."
This was too easy for LeBron James and the Miami Heat against a Dallas team already missing Dirk Nowitzki when it was plagued by more injuries.
There was no semblance of their two NBA Finals matchups against each other.
James scored 24 points with some early baskets on nifty passes from Dwyane Wade, and the Heat rolled to a 110-95 victory Thursday night, a game in which Miami led by 36 points before James and Wade sat out entire fourth quarter.
"I'm just playing within the game," said Wade, who had 19 points and six assists. "My job is to do a little bit of everything right now."