Thursday’s Sports In Brief

AUTO RACING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano won the Daytona 500 qualifying races in a pair of Ford sweeps that have the new Mustang positioned for a strong showing in “The Great American Race.”

Harvick won the first of the 150-mile qualifying races that set the field for NASCAR’s showcase event. Logano used a last-lap pass for the lead in the second one.

Both Harvick and Logano led podium sweeps for Ford, which this year is racing the Mustang in NASCAR’s top series. The qualifying races set the starting lineup for Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500, and Ford drivers locked down the second through fourth rows.

William Byron and Alex Bowman, in Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports, swept the top two spots in time trials last week and represent the youngest starting row in Daytona 500 history. Byron is 21 and Bowman is 25.

Harvick’s victory was uneventful beyond Jimmie Johnson’s involvement in his second wreck of Speedweeks.

Logano, meanwhile, was fourth on the final lap when he pulled out of line to try for the win. The reigning NASCAR champion got a solid push from Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney to move to the front and earn his spot alongside Harvick in Sunday’s race.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson accepted blame for causing a second crash in five days at Daytona International Speedway, saying “everyone makes mistakes.”

Johnson turned Kyle Busch in the first of two qualifying races at Daytona, causing Busch to spin across the backstretch with 35 laps remaining. Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet sustained little, if any, damage and finished eighth. Busch had to pit and ended up 18th in the 21-car field.

Johnson planned to find Busch in the motorhome lot or call him to apologize.

NBA

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis grimaced and didn’t move his left arm as he walked off the court at halftime.

Whether those were Davis’ final moments in a Pelicans uniform — or whether he even plays in this weekend’s All-Star Game — remains to be seen.

Julius Randle capped a 33-point, 11-rebound performance with three clutch baskets in the final three minutes, Jrue Holiday scored 32 points and effectively defended Paul George, and New Orleans beat Oklahoma City 131-122 despite losing Davis to a shoulder injury.

Davis, who has asked to be traded, left the Smoothie King Center with his agent, Rich Paul, during the second half to get an MRI exam, the results of which were expected by Friday.

ATLANTA (AP) — Knicks coach David Fizdale gives his team credit for not giving up during a losing streak that lasted nearly six weeks.

Dennis Smith Jr. scored 19 points and New York snapped a franchise-worst, 18-game losing streak with a 106-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

The Knicks ended their longest skid within a single season with their first victory since Jan. 4 at the Los Angeles Lakers. New York, with the Eastern Conference’s worst record and second-worst overall, had dropped 26 of 27.

BASEBALL

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Just a few hours after Jacob deGrom threw his first practice pitch of spring training, the NL Cy Young Award winner let everyone know the score.

He hasn’t received a long-term contract offer from the New York Mets and isn’t sure he will before opening day.

The 30-year-old deGrom is set to make $17 million this season and is under club control through 2020. If he doesn’t get a new deal this spring, however, he didn’t rule out limiting his 2019 workload to protect his personal future.

It’s an idea that was floated by his agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, in a recent memo to major leaguers during a second consecutive slow free-agent market. If teams are so hesitant to sign accomplished veterans because they come with wear and tear, maybe players should take measures themselves to assure they stay fresh.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer thought the Cleveland Indians had presented a better overall case against him in their latest salary arbitration hearing, until the last 10 minutes in a rebuttal by Major League Baseball labor relations staff he viewed as “character assassination” against him.

A day after Wednesday’s hearing in Florida, Bauer was awarded $13 million by the three-person panel over the Indians’ $11 million offer. Bauer who won’t be eligible until free agency until after the 2020 season, said he never plans to sign more than a one-year contract. The pitcher said the process hasn’t soured his feelings about the team.

GOLF

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jordan Spieth made the most out of his chance to start over at rain-soaked Riviera and was tied for the lead at 5-under par through 12 holes in the Genesis Open.

Tiger Woods never made it to the golf course. He was to play in the afternoon, but a seven-hour delay because of heavy rain meant not starting his first round until Friday morning.

Spieth hit his opening tee shot on the short par-4 10th off a cart path and into thick, shin-high grass that made it tough to even see his golf ball.

But with increasing rain, along with low visibility at the start, the PGA Tour decided to scrap the round and start over once the course dried out.

Sung Kang also was at 5 under through 14 holes.

HOCKEY

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Thomas Greiss stopped 31 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and the New York Islanders beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0.

Casey Cizikas scored twice on breakaways and Josh Bailey also had a goal for the Islanders, who cruised to their fifth win in the last seven games.

Greiss was outstanding in getting his 12th career shutout and the Islanders defenders showed why they are tops in the NHL in keeping opponents’ pucks out of their net. New York, which began the night three points ahead of Washington atop the Metropolitan Division, snapped the Blue Jackets’ four-game win streak.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 39th goal, T.J. Oshie had two goals and an assist, and the Washington Capitals beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1.

Jakub Vrana and Tom Wilson each had a goal and an assist, and Nicklas Backstrom had two assists for Washington. Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots, and Ovechkin added an assist as the Capitals won for the fifth time in seven games after dropping seven straight.

San Jose ended a six-game winning streak, which began with a 7-6 overtime win at Washington on Jan. 22.