BASKETBALL—NBA: The playoffs began with Milwaukee and Los Angeles leading their Western Conference semifinals as expected (page 28). In the East, Boston whacked Atlanta 126-108 as John Havlicek scored 32 points, the Hawks beat the Celtjcs 113-104 on Lou Hudson's 41 points (Havlicek scored 43) and Boston beat Atlanta 136-113 to lead two games to one. In the other series. Archie Clark, with 38 points, led Baltimore to a 108-105 overtime victory over New York, but the Knicks won the second game 110-88.
ABA: Kentucky won three games to run its season-ending winning streak to seven, giving the Eastern Division champion Colonels an ABA record 68 victories and a record 23-game margin over second-place Virginia. Then the playoffs started and Kentucky, everyone's favorite to win the championship, was stunned by New York 122-108 as Rick Barry popped in 50 points and John Roche 31. Virginia clinched second place on the last day of the season by beating Memphis 123-99 to finish a game ahead of New York, winch had lost Bill Melchionni for the year with a broken hand. The Squires immediately took a 2-0 lead in their playoffs with the fourth-place Floridians, defeating them 114-107 in overtime and 125-100 on rookie Julius Erving's 59-point total. West champion Utah spin its last two games to finish a comfortable 13 games ahead of runner-up Indiana, then whacked third-place Dallas 106-96 in its first playoff game. I he Pacers and fourth-place Denver traded victories in then playoff series, with Indiana beating the Rockets 102-96 as Roger Drown and Bob Netolicky combined for 52 points, and Denver edging the Pacers 106-105 on Ralph Simpson's field goal with 11 seconds remaining. Simpson scored 32 points in that game, while Brown and Netolicky were held to a 22-point total.
Virginia's Charlie Scott, who ended the season Scoring 113 points for the NBA's Phoenix Suns, led ABA scorers with a 34.58 average on 2,524 points, followed by Barry (31.47), the runner-up for the third straight year (he won the title four years ago). Kentucky's Dan Issel (a record 2,538 points for a 30.58 average), the leader last season; Pittsburgh's John Brisker (28.92); and Simpson (27.38) rounded out the top five scorers. Kentucky rookie Artis Gilmore finished first in rebounds (1,491 for a 17.8 average) and set an ABA record for field-goal percentage (.598), while Melchionni won the assist title (669 for an 8.4 average) for the second year in a row and Barry led in free-throw percentage (.878) for the third time in four seasons.
Eastern—Ky 68-16, Va 45-39, NY 44-40, Fla 36-48, Car 35-49, Pitt 25-59
Western—Utah 60-24, Ind 47-37, Dal 42-42, Den 34-50, Mem 26-58
BOWLING—MIKE DURBIN of Chagrin Falls, Ohio defeated Tim Harahan of Canoga Park, Calif. 258-187 in the finals of the $125,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron (page 75).
BOXING—MUHAMMAD ALI won a unanimous 15-round decision over Mac Foster in Tokyo (page 80.)
Jose Napoles of Cuba successfully defended his world welterweight title with a knockout (his 49th in 72 bouts) of Ralph Charles, the British and Commonwealth champion, in the seventh round of a scheduled 15-rounder in London. "I never saw the right that knocked me out." said Charles. On the same card, world lightweight champion KEN BUCHANAN of Scotland easily won by decision over Al Ford, the Canadian titleholder, in a 10-round nontitle fight.
DIVING—MICKI KING, 27-year-old Air Force captain, gained her 10th AAU title in seven years when she won the women's one-meter event at the National AAU indoor championships in Dallas. CYNTHIA POTTER, 21, of Houston, winner of all three outdoor titles last year, defeated Captain King in the three-meter event alter finishing second in the one-meter, while URIKA KNAPE, a 16-year-old from Sweden, upset Captain King, the defending champion, in the platform dive. In men's events, DICK RYDZE of Pittsburgh successfully defended his platform title. DON DUNFIELD of the Santa Clara Swim Club won the one-meter event and Air Force Lieut. PHIL BOGGS took the three-meter dive.
HOCKEY—Boston clinched its second Straight East title in the last week of regular-season play, defeating Montreal 5-4 to finish 10 points ahead of New York, which gained second place for the second year in a row by tying Detroit 2-2 on Vic Had-field's two goals within 49 seconds late in the third period. Third-place Montreal spin two with the Bruins, tied Chicago 5-5 and edged the Rangers 6-5 to finish behind New York for the second straight season, this time by a point, while Toronto clinched fourth, tour points ahead of Detroit, when it defeated Boston 4-1 on a four-goal first period that broke Goalie Gerry Cheevers' 32-game undefeated streak, and New York 2-1. Chicago ran away with the West title for the second year in a row, finishing 21 points ahead of Minnesota. St. Louis. 19 points behind the North Stars, clinched third place by a point user Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. the Penguins squeezed into a playoff spot ahead of the Flyers (on the basis of then season series) on the last night of the season when they beat St. Louis 6-2 and Philadelphia lost to Buffalo 3-2 in the final four seconds.
Boston's Phil Esposito (133 points) and Bobby Orr (117) ran one-two in the scoring race for the second straight season, followed by New York's Jean Ratelle (109), Vic Hadfield (106) and Rod Gilbert (109), Esposito had the most goals (66) and Orr the most assists (80), while Chicago's Tony Esposito led the league's goalies with nine Shutouts and the best goals-against average (1.76).
East—Bost 54-13-11, NY 48-17-13, Mont 46-16-16, Tor 33-31-14, Det 33-35-10, Buff 16-43-19, Van 20-50-8
West—Chi 46-17-15, Minn 37-29-12, St L 28-39-11, Pitt 26-38-14, Phil 26-38-14, Cal 21-39-18, LA 20-49-9
HORSE RACING—Kentucky Derby Favorite Riva Ridge finished fourth in the $66,800 Everglades Slakes al Hialeah, won over sloppy track by HEAD OF THE RIVER ($41) by three-quarters of a length user Hold Your Peace (page 20.)
ROWING—CAMBRIDGI won the 118th 4-mile Boat Race on the Thames for the fifth straight year over Oxford, by 9½ lengths, boosting Us lead in the series that started in 1829 to 66 victories against 51 losses and one dead heat.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: As head coach of the Buffalo Braves, JOHN McCVRTHY, 37, who replaced Dolph Schayes after the opening game this season and led the Braves to last place in the Atlantic Division.
RETIRED: ADOLPH RUPP, as head basketball coach al Kentucky because he had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. In his 42-year career at Kentucky, Rupp won 879 games (against 190 losses), the most by any college coach in history, and led the Wildcats to four NCAA titles and one NIT Championship. He will be replaced by JOE HALL, 43, Rupp's assistant since 1965.
DIED: New York Met Manager GIL HODGES, 47; of a heart attack; in West Palm Beach, Fla. Hodges had managed the Washington Senators for five seasons before taking over the Mets in 1968 and leading them to the world championship the next year. As a player for 18 seasons (1943, 1947 to 1963) with the Brooklyn Los Angeles Dodgers and the Mets, Hodges was considered one of baseball's finest-fielding first basemen and first-rank power haters. He compiled a .273 average, hit 370 home runs (including four in one game and a league-record 14 grand slams) and baited in more than 100 runs seven straight seasons. During his career, the Dodgers won seven National League pennants.