National Sports Briefs
FORT WORTH, Texas ó Jeff Gordon is suddenly having all kind of success at Texas Motor Speedway, a track where he had never won until earlier this season.
Gordon captured his first pole of the season, waiting until the third-to-last race to extend his streak of 17 consecutive seasons with a pole, with a qualifying lap of 191.117 mph Friday at the 11/2-mile, high-banked Texas track.
Only David Pearson and Richard Petty have longer streaks than Gordon of seasons with a pole. Pearson went 20 consecutive seasons (1963-82) and Petty had 18 (1960-77).
Gordon is third in points, 192 behind Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Chevrolet on which Gordon is listed as the owner. Johnson is vying for an unprecedented fourth consecutive season title and needs only to average a 10th-place finish the last three races to get it.
Mark Martin, another Hendrick driver, is second, only eight points ahead of Gordon’s No. 24. Martin qualified seventh and Johnson 12th for Sunday’s race.
Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch qualified second and third in Dodges, and Tony Stewart was fourth in his No. 14 Chevrolet.
ORT WORTH, Texas ó Kyle Busch started his Texas tripleheader with another NASCAR Trucks Series victory.
Busch has won each of his last five truck races.
Busch has won seven times in 13 starts this season in the No. 51 Toyota, and been outside the top two only three times.
Series points leader Ron Hornaday was third, nearly 10 seconds behind Crafton, his closest competitor for the season title. Hornaday has a 197-point lead with two races left.
NEW YORK ó LeBron James scored 33 points in his only visit to Madison Square Garden this season, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 100-91 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
He added nine assists and eight rebounds, but fell just shy of passing Kobe Bryant as the active scoring leader at the Garden. James improved his average to 30.4 points, with Bryant averaging 30.5 in 11 visits, according to STATS LLC
Suns 110, Celtics 103
BOSTON ó Jason Richardson bounced back from his worst game of the season to score 34 points with 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns rebounded from their only defeat.
Magic 110, Pistons 103
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Dwight Howard had 22 points and 12 rebounds to help the Orlando Magic hold off Charlie Villanueva and Detroit.
Heat 96, Nuggets 88
MIAMI ó Dwyane Wade scored 22 points, Jermaine O’Neal added 18 and Miami dealt Denver its first loss of the season.
76ers 97, Nets 94
PHILADELPHIA ó Andre Iguodala scored 16 points, including a late 3-pointer to give Philadelphia the lead.
Bobcats 103, Hawks 83
CHARLOTTE ó Raja Bell scored 24 points and the Charlotte Bobcats looked nothing like the NBA’s lowest scoring team against road-weary Atlanta.
DENVER ó Chris Stewart scored in the eighth round of the shootout, helping the NHL-leading Colorado Avalanche remain unbeaten at home with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
Maple Leafs 3, Hurricanes 2
RALEIGH ó Jason Blake scored on a power play with 8:24 left, and Jonas Gustavsson made 34 saves in Toronto’s second win in 14 games this season.
John Mitchell and Nikolai Kulemin also scored for Toronto. The Maple Leafs (2-7-5) have earned points in their last six games.
Devils 2, Islanders 1
NEWARK, N.J. ó Yann Danis made 23 saves and stopped four in-close attempts in the third period against his former Islanders teammates.
Flyers 5, Sabres 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. ó Daniel Carcillo scored twice and Ray Emery made 28 saves to lead Philadelphia Flyers to its fifth straight victory over Buffalo.