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Hot Start Gives Hoffman Lead at Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island, s.c. — Charley Hoffman’s quick start gave him a two-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson after three rounds of the RBC Heritage yesterday.

Hoffman had four birdies on his first five holes to shoot a bogey-free 5-under 66 and keep out front at 11 under on a windy, cool day at Harbour Town Golf Links. Simpson also didn’t make a bogey on the way to a 65, tying the lowest round of the tournament.

Kevin Streelman shot a 69 and was alone in third at 8 under.

NBA Playoffs

Nuggets 97, Warriors 95

Denver — Andre Miller scored a playoff career-high 28 points and sank a nifty layup with 1.3 seconds left that lifted the Nuggets to the win in Game 1 against the Warriors.

Miller drove left past rookie Draymond Green, did an up-and-under between two defenders under the basket and banked the ball off the glass with his right hand.

Golden State inbounded the ball and Stephen Curry’s desperation 3-pointer wasn’t anywhere close as the horn sounded and Denver celebrated its 24th straight win at the Pepsi Center.

Miller scored 18 in the frenetic fourth quarter.

Game 2 is Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center, where the Nuggets posted an NBA-best 38-3 home record during the season.

Tennis

Nadal, Djokovic
In Monte Carlo Final

Monaco — Eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal recorded his 46th consecutive win at the Monte Carlo Masters by beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (3) yesterday to set up a repeat of last year’s final against top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard has reached five straight finals since returning from a seven-month layoff following a left knee injury. He will go for his fourth title of the season against Djokovic, who cruised past unseeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 6-1.

Djokovic and Nadal have not played against each other since last year’s French Open final, which Nadal won. He has won their last three encounters, after Djokovic took the previous seven — all of which were tournament finals. Nadal leads their career series 19-14.

Tie at Fed Cup

Delray Beach, Fla. — Serena Williams evened the United States’ Fed Cup World Group playoff match against Sweden, waiting out a long rain delay to beat Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday night.

In the opening match, Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson beat Sloane Stephens 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.

Auto Racing

Crafton Earns
Truck Victory

Kansas City, Kan. — Matt Crafton called his truck “junk,” and his crew chief tossed and turned all night, trying to come up with ways to make it better in time for yesterday’s race. They changed out springs, adjusted shocks, messed with sway bars.

“We made wholesale changes,” Crafton said, “and luckily it worked.”

Crafton charged to the lead with 29 laps remaining in a crash-filled race at Kansas Speedway, and then held off a late run by Joey Coulter to pick up his third career Truck Series victory.

Slumping Franchitti
Wins Pole in Long Beach

Long Beach, Calif. — Dario Franchitti has won the pole for today’s IndyCar Series race at Long Beach.

Franchitti came into the weekend ranked last in the IndyCar standings and off to the worst start of his career. But he insisted he’s not concerned about the start, and proved it with a big last lap in yesterday’s qualifying.

Franchitti’s last lap was 1:07.2379 and bounced Ryan Hunter-Reay off the pole at the last second.