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Names in the Game

April 17, 2004

DENVER (AP) _ Andre Miller has given the Denver Nuggets what they were missing: steadiness, toughness, scoring and, above all, leadership.

Playing in the shadow of talented rookie Carmelo Anthony, Miller helped the Nuggets go from 17-65 last season to making the playoffs with a 43-39 record. Denver opens its first-round series in Minnesota on Sunday night.

Miller, who signed as a free agent last summer, started all 82 games this season and ranked second on the team in scoring (14.8) and first in assists (6.1).

Center Marcus Camby, who endured the frustrations of last season, knows what an impact Miller made.

``He is exactly what we needed,″ Camby said Friday. ``Last year we didn’t have a backcourt. Through free agency, management brought in Andre, and he has done a terrific job. He’s provided a lot of leadership.″

Miller’s signing paved the way for guards Earl Boykins, Voshon Lenard and Jon Barry also to sign free-agent deals with Denver, and all have played significant roles this season.

``I try to be an unselfish player,″ Miller said. ``I think those guys wanted to play with other players who are unselfish and who wanted to share the ball. That’s the type of team we have.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ The winner of the Indianapolis 500 will receive a custom motorcycle with a six-speed transmission and a top speed of more than 200 mph.

The commemorative motorcycle, valued at $100,000, has a chrome-alloy chassis and 147-cubic-inch, 180-horsepower engine with dual carburetors. It was made by Indy Choppers of Indianapolis.

``Indy Choppers’ mechanics, our fabricators, all have racing backgrounds,″ company spokesman Duke Sturges said Friday. ``The knowledge of how to make a bike light, but strong and balanced, with the vibration-dampening qualities necessary for a smooth, controlled ride at high speeds, is all there.″

The motorcycle will be displayed at a meeting of drivers May 8, the day before the track opens for practice. Another commemorative model will be displayed in the Speedway’s hall of fame museum throughout the month.

A similar, limited-edition line of 100 custom bikes will be available to the public at $75,000 each. They are nearly identical to the winner’s motorcycle except for a smaller rear wheel.

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SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Champion Australian five-year-old Lonhro had to settle for second Saturday in his final career race when Grand Armee won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.

Lonhro, with nearly $4 million in career prize money and 26 wins in 35 starts, including 11 at Group 1 level, will be retired to stud.

Lonhro’s sire, Octagonal, also finished second in the same race seven years ago when making his farewell.