PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: The Golden State Warriors reinforced Rick Barry's observation that "We're playing basketball now instead of fooling around," and eliminated the Milwaukee Bucks 100-86 in the sixth game of their playoff series (page 24). Chicago and Los Angeles battled to the end of what Jerry West called "Maybe the most physical series I've ever played in," as the Lakers proved more corporal, taking the series 4-3. The Bulls fought nobly at home, but the floor of The Forum, where Chicago has not won a game since October of 1971, provided the edge for the Lakers in their 95-92 final. Also helping out were Wilt Chamberlain, who dominated the boards with 28 rebounds, and West, who pumped in 27 points. Gail Goodrich, held to four points in Chicago's 101-93 win earlier in the week, bounced back with 22. In that game, the sixth of the series, Chicago Guard Jerry Sloan was switched to forward when Chet Walker left the game with a sprained tendon in his right knee. Sloan delivered, scoring 11 field goals and grabbing 10 rebounds. The Lakers previously topped the Bulls 123-102 in the fifth game. Boston played strong offense at home and a tight defense in Atlanta to wrap up its series 4-2. Atlanta could not connect from the field, hitting 36 of 95, and failed to capitalize on free throws, losing the fifth game 108-101. The Celtics, on the other hand, missed only three of 35 attempts from the foul line while John Havlicek and Jo Jo White combined for 60 points. Two nights later the Hawks were finished for good, as Boston held them scoreless for 7½ minutes in the final period of a 121-103 victory. Together again in the opener of the Eastern final playoff's, New York and the Celtics met in Boston Garden, the Celtics taking it 134-108.
ABA: There was an equal distribution of rags and riches among Pacers, Colonels, Cougars and Stars as all four teams ended the week of playoffs with one victory and one defeat apiece. After Utah Coach LaDell Andersen predicted, "If we win the battle of the boards, we'll win the series," his Stars bombed the Pacers 124-107, and Indiana Coach Bobby Leonard responded, "They killed us on the boards." They also killed them from the field in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Pacers 35-23. Willie Wise and Zelmo Beaty scored 29 and 21 points, Beaty grabbing 18 rebounds. George McGinnis tossed in 31 points for the losing Pacers. Indiana returned to survive a last-quarter drive by the Stars and won the second game 116-110. Donnie Freeman, who finished with 31 points, got 13 in the third quarter as the Pacers outshot the Stars 36-26. Leonard, remembering his team's long but successful series with Utah last year, offered, "We've got a long way to go." Kentucky went one-up in the East, beating Carolina in Charlotte 113-103. Wendell Ladner, who finished with 19 points, hit two of his three-point baskets in a final-quarter explosion by the Colonels. With less than 6½ minutes remaining, Kentucky began a barrage in which it out-scored the Cougars 24-8, Ladner contributing 10 points to the cause. Carolina, with five players scoring 16 or more points, took the second game 125-105. Billy Cunningham looked just like a Player of the Year should, with 27 points and 15 rebounds. Joe Caldwell backed him up with 23, and Mack Calvin, Tom Owens and Ed Manning also finished in double figures. Rick Mount popped in a fruitless, but game-high, 29 for the Colonels.
GOLF—MICKEY WRIGHT, 16-year LPGA veteran and winner of 82 matches, birdied the final hole for a four-under-par 68 to capture the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winners' Circle tournament and $25,000 in Palm Springs.
HARNESS RACING—OVERCAST ($9), a 3-year-old colt driven by Dwayne Pletcher, won the $50,000 Midwest Pacing Derby at Sportsman's Park near Chicago by 1½ lengths over The Great Byrd, finishing the mile in 1:59[2/5].
April 23, 1973
HOCKEY—The Soviet Union won its ninth world amateur championship in 10 years, remaining undefeated in 10 tournament games and outpointing second-place Sweden and third-place Czechoslovakia.
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: The New York Rangers, who have waited 33 years for the Stanley Cup, briskly disposed of Esposito-less Boston 6-3 to wrap up the series 4-1. Two days later in Chicago the Rangers registered their fourth straight road victory, winning the opener of their semifinal-round playoff 4-1. Three third-period goals, two by Walt Tkaczuk and one by Vic Hadfield, accounted for the win. On Sunday the Black Hawks evened it up, edging the Rangers 5-4. Chicago had reached the semifinals in the same hurry, polishing off its 4-1 series with St. Louis in a 6-1 final. Jim Pappin knocked in four playoff goals for the Hawks. Montreal and Philadelphia carried 4-2 series records into their first semifinal meeting, the Flyers emerging on top 5-4. Rick MacLeish scored the winning goal early in the first overtime period. The Canadiens suffered a 3-2 overtime defeat to Buffalo, then dumped the Sabres 4-2 to clinch a shot at the East Division title. Philadelphia won a 3-2 overtime match with Minnesota, then wrapped up a 4-1 victory in the finale.
WHA: Cleveland swept its playoff series 4-0 with a rousing 6-2 finale over the Philadelphia Blazers. The Crusaders scored three goals in the first five minutes of the second period and advanced to the East Division finals with New England. The Whalers lost the third game of their series with Ottawa 4-2, but came back with 7-3 and 5-4 wins. Minnesota and Winnipeg traded games in the West, the Fighting Saints capturing the third game of the series 6-4 and the Jets gaining the next 3-2. Winnipeg wrapped up the series in five games with an 8-5 defeat of the Saints Sunday night. Houston won the fourth and fifth games of the Aeros-Sharks series 3-2 and 6-3 but Los Angeles kept the playoff alive with a 3-2 win in the third.
HORSE RACING—Rokeby Stable's KEY TO THE MINT ($3.80), Ron Turcotte up, won the $54,400 Excelsior Handicap at Aqueduct by two lengths over King's Bishop.
TENNIS—KEN ROSEWALL whipped England's Roger Taylor 6-3, 6-4 to win the WCT Cleveland Classic (page 65). Across the Atlantic, STAN SMITH beat Rod Laver 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 to take the $10,000 first prize in the WCT tournament in Brussels.
TRACK & FIELD—Oregon's STEVE PREFONTAINE completed the world's best double in a four-way collegiate meet at Eugene, winning the mile in 3:56.8 and following an hour later with a 13:06.4 victory in the three-mile.
PRO TRACK—JIM RYUN ran the first pro sub four-minute mile in Detroit's Cobo Arena, with a time of 3:59.8.
MILEPOSTS—CHANGED: The name of the NBA Baltimore Bullets, to the Capital Bullets, who will play next season in Largo, Md., a Washington suburb.
FIRED: JOHNNY WILSON, coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the last two years, presumably for failing to guide his team into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
NAMED: As ABA's Most Valuable Player, Carolina Forward BILLY CUNNINGHAM, by sports broadcasters and writers.
SENTENCED: To four years for theft of $3 million and for issuing a false prospectus, TOM SCALLEN, 47, president of the NHL Vancouver Canucks.
SHIFTED: The Dallas franchise in the ABA, to San Antonio.
DIED: Boston sportswriter AL HIRSHBERG, 63; of a heart attack; in Sarasota, Fla. His books included Fear Strikes Out and Backstage at the Mets.
DIED: JOE NOTTER, 82, the jockey who in 1915 rode the only filly ever to win the Kentucky Derby, Regret.