BASKETBALL—NBA: Boston began pursuit of its 13th league championship by taking a 2-1 lead over Buffalo in their best-of-seven series. John Havlicek suffered an injured left foot as the Celtics won the opening game 107-98. His replacements, Don Nelson and Steve Kuberski, powered the Celtics to a 101-96 victory before Buffalo rebounded at home with a 98-93 triumph as Randy Smith and Bob McAdoo combined for 53 points. Washington ended a four-game home losing streak by ripping Cleveland 109-98 as reserves Clem Haskins and Nick Weatherspoon contributed a total of 41 points, but the Cavaliers, playing before a record playoff crowd of 21,312 back home, nipped the Bullets 92-91 on Jim Cleamons' last-second rebound tip-in to take a 3-2 series lead. Defending champion Golden State, idle for 10 days, split with Detroit at home, winning the opener 127-103, then losing 123-111 as the Pistons' Curtis Rowe had 33 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. The Warriors then ripped the Pistons 113-96 in Detroit. Seattle lost to Phoenix 130-114 to fall behind three games to one, but avoided elimination with a 114-108 win on Sunday.
ABA: The semifinals were marked by last-second game savers. Ex-Net, now-Spur Larry Kenon hit two free throws with three seconds left to give San Antonio a 106-105 win over New York that tied their series at 3-3. George Gervin scored 37 points for the Spurs, while Julius Erving had 41 for the Nets, including 31 in the second half. The Nets won the series back home as Rich Jones, whom Coach Kevin Loughery asked to sit out the sixth game because of the abuse he was getting from San Antonio fans and management, repaid Net fans for his warm "welcome home" by scoring 25 points in a 121-114 victory. Trailing two games to one, Denver downed Kentucky 108-106 when Chuck Williams hit a 24-foot jump shot at the buzzer. The Nuggets moved ahead three games to two when reserves Byron Beck and Gus Gerard fueled a second-half blast that fried the Colonels 127-117. Kentucky evened the series on a 119-115 double-overtime shootout, fever-ridden Bird Averitt scoring 34 points.
BOXING—ALFONSO LOPEZ retained his WBA flyweight championship—and won his 24th fight without a loss—with a 15-round decision over Shoji Oguma, in Tokyo.
GOLF—LARRY ZIEGLER shot a 14-under-par 274 to beat Vic Regalado by a stroke and win the New Orleans Open.
May 2, 1976
Jan Stephenson won the LPGA Birmingham Classic at the Green Valley Country Club by four strokes over Kathy Martin with a 13-under-par 203.
HOCKEY—NHL: "If this team needs me to score a goal, then it's in real trouble." So spoke Defenseman Bert Marshall after his first goal of the season, with only 19 seconds to play in the final period, carried the New York Islanders to a 4-3 victory over Buffalo (page 70). The Islanders then eliminated the Sabres with a 3-2 win and now meet the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals. Philadelphia and Toronto matched home-ice victories—Don Saleski's hat trick boosting the Flyers and Darryl Sittler's record-tying five goals powering the Maple Leafs—before the Flyers won the penalty-marred series with a 7-3 triumph in the seventh game. Referee Wally Harris called a record 185 penalty minutes in the sixth game at Toronto, and one more Flyer was charged with assault: Bob (Hound) Kelly, whose airborne glove allegedly struck usherette Jan Brown, the wife of NHL Linesman John Brown, who did not work the game. Boston and Los Angeles also swapped home-ice victories before the Bruins beat the Kings 3-0 Sunday night to win the playoff. They now play the Flyers.
WHA: Playing for the first time in 15 days, Houston defeated San Diego 8-6 in the opening game of the U.S. Division's best-of-seven semifinals as Rich Preston, Gordon Labossiere and Terry Ruskowski each scored two first-period goals. The Aeros then beat the Mariners 3—1 for their 12th straight playoff victory, and, flying to San Diego, they took a commanding 3-0 series lead as Don Larway scored three goals in an 8—4 runaway victory. In the other U.S. semifinal, New England took a 3-2 series lead over Indianapolis with 3-0 and 2-1 victories at home in Hartford, but Goaltender Jim Park blanked the Whalers 4-0 back in Indianapolis as the Racers fought off elimination. In the Canadian finals, WHA President Ben Hatskin lifted the suspension of Calgary Coach Joe Crozier (SI, April 26), but the Winnipeg Jets ruined Crozier's return by routing the Cowboys 6-1 and 3-2 to take a two-game lead in the series.
SOCCER—NASL: Before a league-record home-opener crowd of 32,632 in Tampa, the Rowdies clipped the Chicago Sting 2-1 as Rodney Marsh scored a goal and got an assist. Mike Stojanovic's two unassisted goals led Rochester past the San Diego Jaws 3-2; Vancouver then wired the Jaws shut 3-0. Toronto downed Miami 1-0; St. Louis stopped Philadelphia 3-1; the Dallas Tornado blew out the San Antonio Thunder 1—0; and San Jose defeated Minnesota 4-2 as Ilija Mitic, the league's alltime leading scorer, had two goals.
ASL: Featuring a new Western Division, with teams in Tacoma, Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, the ASL played to an average attendance of 3,414, up 1,200 from 1975, as it opened its 43rd season. Sacramento beat Tacoma 1-0, while Oakland and Los Angeles played to a 1-1 tie. Back East, goals by Vito Colonna and Ron Oliver carried Cleveland past Chicago 2-1, and Connecticut downed Rhode Island 2-1.
TRACK & FIELD—JACK FULTZ, a 27-year-old Georgetown senior, withstood 90° temperatures to win the 80th running of the Boston Marathon in 2:20:19.
At the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Walnut, Calif., MAC WILKINS set a world record by throwing the discus 227 feet, breaking John Powell's 1975 record by four inches. In the women's competition, Canada's DEBBIE BRILL, 23, cleared 6'2¾" to upset Joni Huntley in the high jump. At the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, TENNESSEE'S 800-meter team (LAMAR PREYOR, RONNIE HARRIS, JEROME MORGAN and REGGIE JONES) beat Kentucky State in 1:21.5, tying the world record set by the Italian national team in 1972. At the Drake Relays in Des Moines, BRUCE JENNER, 26, scored 8,250 points to win the decathlon for the second straight year (page 14).
MILEPOSTS—ARRAIGNED: President of the NHL, CLARENCE CAMPBELL, 70, and four associates, in Ottawa, on charges alleging influence peddling and conspiracy to defraud the Canadian government in connection with the extension of a lease on an airport duty-free shop. Campbell and the others were each released on $100,000 bond.
HIRED: TOM NISSALKE, 41, as coach of the Houston Rockets, replacing JOHN EGAN, who was fired after a 40-42 season. Nissalke previously coached the Seattle SuperSonics, the San Antonio Spurs and the Utah Stars.
REINSTATED: By the International Amateur Athletic Federation, JOAN WENZEL, Canadian 800-meter runner who lost her bronze medal and received a life suspension because of a technical drug infraction at the 1975 Pan-American Games. Also lifted were bans on Bulgarian discus thrower VELKO VELEV and Rumanian shotputter VALENTINA CIOLTAN, both of whom had taken steroids during the European Cup meet last summer. Secretary-Treasurer Fred Holder said the IAAF believed it had made its point that drastic action will be taken against drug usage.
DIED: MIKE HOLE, 35, English-born jockey who came to the U.S. in 1962; an apparent suicide; at Jones Beach, N.Y. During his racing career Hole had 2,042 winning mounts and won purses worth $13,520,479.
DIED: KARL SCHAFER, 67, seven-time world figure-skating champion and the Olympic gold medalist in 1932 and 1936; in Vienna.