BASKETBALL—NBA: The Phoenix Suns ousted the defending champion Golden State Warriors from the playoffs with a stunning 94-86 victory in the seventh game of their Western semifinals. Gar Heard and Paul Westphal scored 21 points for the Suns as they advanced to the finals for the first time in their eight-year history. Phoenix had forced the seventh game when it heat the Warriors 105-104 on Rookie of the Year Alvan Adams' basket with 12 seconds to play. Back East, Boston topped Cleveland 99-94 Sunday to take a 3-2 series lead after the Cavaliers had won two straight games in Cleveland (page 26).
ABA: Facing elimination in the sixth game of the championship series, the Denver Nuggets led the New York Nets by 22 points with 5:07 to play in the third quarter. Then Guard John Williamson, remembering both the halftime advice of Julius Erving ("When you go to the basket, go with authority") and his disastrous four-point performance in the first half, ignited a fiery New York comeback; he scored 24 second-half points and propelled the pressing Nets to a 112-106 win and their second ABA title in three years. David Thompson scored 42 points and Dan Issel had 30 for Denver, while Dr. J had 31 points for the Nets. New York's amazing rally so excited the sellout crowd of 15,934 at the Nassau Coliseum that fans swarmed onto the floor and prevented the teams from playing the last three seconds of the game. At game's end Commissioner Dave DeBusschere presented the Nets with the same trophy they had received in 1974. The 1976 trophy was stolen from a rental car Tuesday night in Denver after the Nuggets had delayed New York's championship with a 118-110 fifth game victory.
BOXING—CLINTON JACKSON, 22, of Nashville, a 1975 Pan-American Games gold medalist, won his third consecutive 147-pound AAU title in Las Vegas, decisioning John Sullivan of Portland, Ore.
CREW—The HARVARD varsity heavyweights beat Wisconsin by a boat length to win their tenth Eastern Sprint championship in the last 13 years on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J. and confirm their No. 1 national ranking.
May 23, 1976
GOLF—LEE TREVINO birdied the 200-yard par-3 16th hole to win the $200,000 Colonial National Invitation at Fort Worth by one stroke over Mike Morley. For Trevino, who shot a seven-under 273, it was his first victory in 14 months and his first win ever in his home slate.
Sue Roberts won her first tournament of the year, the LPGA American Defender Classic in Raleigh, N.C., with a five-under 211, one stroke better than Joanne Carner, Carole Jo Skala, Hollis Stacy and Kathy Whitworth, who all tied for second.
GYMNASTICS—KATHY HOWARD, 17, of Oklahoma City, ignoring the pain of a broken toe, scored 150.05 points to take first place in the U.S. women's Olympic Trials at Los Angeles. Howard was one of six gymnasts who earned places on the Olympic team. The others: Kolleen Casey, 16, of St. Paul, Minn.; Kim Chace, 20, of Riviera Beach, Fla., the only member of the 1972 team to make the 1976 squad; Debbie Willcox, 16, of Englewood, Colo.; Carrie Englert, 18, of Eugene, Ore.; and Leslie Wolfsberger, 17, of Westminster, Calif. (page 65).
HARNESS RACING—IN CONTROL, a 4-year-old colt owned by John Weidman of Bedford, Pa. and driven by Roger Hammer, set a world record for trotters of all ages on a ‚Öù-mile track, when he was clocked in 1:57[4/5] at Brandywine (Del.) Raceway. Nevele Pride set the old record of 1:58 in 1969.
HOCKEY—NHL: Montreal won its 19th Stanley Cup Sunday night by defeating the defending champion Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 to complete a four-game sweep (page 22).
WHA: The defending champion Houston Aeros gained the finals, where they will meet Winnipeg, by beating New England 2-0 in the seventh game of their semifinal series. Poul Popiel and Mark Howe each scored with an assist from Gordie Howe. Backed by rookie Cap Raeder's strong goaltending, New England had tied the series at three games apiece with a 6-1 victory in Hartford after the Aeros had won the fifth game 4-2 in Houston.
HORSE RACING—ELOCUTIONIST ($22.20), John Lively up, scored a shocking upset to win the 101st Preakness by 3½ lengths over Play the Red. Bold Forbes ran the first six furlongs of the 1[3/16]-mile race in a record 1:09, but faded to third. Cojak was fourth and favored Honest Pleasure fifth (page 24).
LACROSSE—MARYLAND completed its first unbeaten season since 1956 by crushing Johns Hopkins 21-13 at Baltimore.
MOTOR SPORTS—JOHNNY RUTHERFORD, driving a McLaren with an Offenhauser engine, won the pole position for the 60th Indianapolis 500 with a qualifying speed of 188.957 mph (page 18).
Austria's NIKI LAUDA completed the 70 laps of the 2.6-mile Zolder circuit at 108.1 mph to win the Belgian Grand Prix by 3.46 seconds over Ferrari teammate Clay Regazzoni of Switzerland.
SOCCER—NASL: Rodney Marsh scored two goals, including the game winner, as Eastern Division leader Tampa Bay defeated Seattle 3-2. Los Angeles beat Philadelphia 2-1 in a tiebreaker. Shut out in their first five games, the Miami Toros scored twice but still lost to Chicago 4-2. Western Division leader Vancouver defeated last-place Minnesota 2-1. Portland shut out San Diego 2-0 and New York blanked Hartford 3-0 as Tony Field scored twice. Dallas edged St. Louis 3-2 before 14,228 at Ownby Stadium. And San Antonio lost to Washington 3-2 by inadvertently scoring a goal against itself.
ASL: Pete Kouratos scored both goals and Chris Swain made 11 saves as Chicago moved into first place in the East with a 2-0 victory over New Jersey. Rhode Island beat New Jersey 1-0 on Jose Neto's second goal of the season, but the Oceaneers then lost 2-1 to the Connecticut Yankees. Los Angeles, the leader in the West, remained undefeated by beating Utah 3-0, the Skyhawks' Goalie Brian Parkinson having to make only one save while notching his third shutout in six games. Tacoma topped Utah 1-0 to maintain its hold on second place.
TENNIS—JIMMY CONNORS defeated Ken Rosewall 6-1, 6-3 to win the Alan King Tennis Classic at Las Vegas.
WTT: Rod Laver led the San Diego Friars past the New York Sets 23-18, but lost to Indiana Player-Coach Allan Stone 7-6 in singles as the Loves beat the Friars 32-24. Undefeated Phoenix scored its fourth and fifth victories, beating Golden Gate 26-24 and New York 30-12, to remain in first place in the West. Cleveland outscored Indiana 25-24 and remained in first place in the East.
WEIGHT LIFTING—VASILY ALEXEYEV of the Soviet Union lifted a total of 959.001 pounds in Karaganda, Kazakhstan to better the superheavyweight world record of Bulgaria's Khristo Plachkov by 5.5115 pounds.
MILEPOSTS—ANNOUNCED: By ROSI MITTERMAIER, of West Germany, that she will join the pro skiing circuit. The only woman skier to compete in all nine World Cups, Mittermaier climaxed her amateur career by winning two gold medals and one silver in this year's Olympics.
HIRED: HUBIE BROWN, 42, as coach of the Atlanta Hawks, replacing Cotton Fitzsimmons. Brown coached the Kentucky Colonels for the last two years, winning the ABA championship in 1974-75. He also served as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1972 to 1974.
DIED: FRED McLEOD, 94, the 1908 U.S. Open champion and honorary starter of the Masters Tournament for many years; in Washington, D.C.