PRO BASKETBALL—Boston made short work of San Antonio in the playoff preliminaries, winning 104-94 at home and 113-109 in Texas as Jo Jo White pumped in a total of 62 points. White also was the hero in Boston's 113-111 squeaker over Philadelphia Sunday when he hit on a game-winning 20-foot jumper at the buzzer (page 20). With NBA referees picketing the playoff arenas, their substitutes found the going tough, especially in Oakland where a fight broke out in the third quarter of Sunday's deciding game between Golden State and Detroit. Fans, coaches and players became involved in a brawl that stopped play for 10 minutes. Rick Barry, who was scratched near the right eye in the fray, recovered to score 35 points (94 for the series), and the Warriors won 109-101 to advance to the quarterfinals. Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas fouled out, but Portland held on to win the third and deciding game against Chicago 106-98. The Bulls' Mickey Johnson averaged 27.3 points in the three games. Washington, which has been in the playoffs for the last eight years without winning a title, advanced by eliminating Cleveland two games to one. Phil Chenier's 38 points keyed Washington's 109-100 win in the opener. After the Cavs had squared the series with a 91-83 home-court victory, Tom Henderson scored a season-high 31 points to pace the Bullets' 104-98 win.
BOWLING—JOHN DENTON of Midland, Texas beat Mike Samardzija 204-198 in the Toledo Open for his first PBA title and a purse of $7,500.
GOLF—JACK NICKLAUS won his fifth Tournament of Champions, in Carlsbad, Calif., by sinking an eight-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole, after tying Bruce Lietzke at seven-under-par 281 for 72 holes. Nicklaus collected $45,000 for his 62nd tournament victory.
In another playoff, ED SNEED holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death to defeat Lon Hinkle in the Tallahassee Open. Sneed, who also birdied the 72nd hole to tie Hinkle at 12-under-par 276, earned $16,000 in the only major PGA event that has a purse below $100,000.
April 24, 1977
Sandra Palmer lost the five-stroke lead she had at one point in the final round in the Women's International at Hilton Head Island, S.C., fell behind by a shot, then rallied to beat Jane Blalock by two strokes. Palmer finished with a seven-under-par 281 and earned $12,000, which put her on top of the LPGA's money-winning list.
HOCKEY—NHL: After losing the first two games of its quarterfinal Stanley Cup series to Toronto at the Spectrum, Philadelphia took two from the Maple Leafs at Toronto to square their playoff (page 72). Montreal swept its four-game series with St. Louis, running its career playoff record against the Blues to 12-0. Outscored by a total of 19-4, the Blues were never in a single game. Guy Lafleur got 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in the four games and tied an NHL record with his six points in Game 1. The New York Islanders beat Buffalo 4-3 Sunday to complete a surprising four-game sweep. Outshot 142-94 by the Sabres in the series, New York got exceptional goaltending from Battling Billy Smith, who now has beaten Buffalo eight straight times. Clark Gillies scored the game-winning goal in each of New York's first three victories. Boston stunned defense-conscious Los Angeles by jumping to 5-0 leads in each of the first two games at Boston and coasted to 8-3 and 6-2 decisions. Moving to Los Angeles, the Bruins surprised the Kings again by scoring four third-period goals and beating them 7-6 in Game 3 on rookie Stan Jonathan's score with just 13 seconds to play. The Kings recovered and avoided elimination with a 7-4 victory Sunday night.
WHA: Blair MacDonald scored a hat trick as Indianapolis beat Cincinnati 5-3 to take a 3-0 lead in their quarterfinal series, prompting Racer Coach Jacques Demers to say, "We're on the verge of the greatest upset in the history of the league." Hyperbole aside, the Racers beat the Stingers 3-1 Saturday to sweep the series. Quebec defeated New England 4-3 in overtime on Paul Baxter's 20-foot wrist shot to take a 3-0 lead in their series, but the Whalers stayed alive with a 6-4 win in Hartford. Western Division champion Houston, seeking its third Avco Trophy in four years, lost to Edmonton 7-2 on Sunday but led the Oilers two games to one. Winnipeg, the defending trophy champion, is tied 2-all with San Diego after the Mariners won 6-4 on Sunday as Rick Sentes scored two goals.
HORSE RACING—STEVE'S FRIEND ($70.80), R. Hernandez up, took the 37th running of the Hollywood Derby by three quarters of a length over Affiliate in Inglewood, Calif. The 3-year-old colt was clocked in 1:47[4/5] for the 1‚⅛ miles.
Announcer ($8.80), ridden by Marco Castaneda, set a track record in the $116,700 Golden Gate Handicap, covering the 1[1/16]th miles on grass in 1:40[2/5]. The 5-year-old son of Verbatim finished one length ahead of The Fop.
MOTOR SPORTS—Averaging 100.989 mph in his Chevrolet, CALE YARBOROUGH finished seven laps ahead of Dick Brooks in his Ford in the Southeastern 500 in Bristol, Tenn.
SOCCER—Derek Smethurst and Adrian Alston scored two goals apiece as Tampa Bay beat Chicago 4-0 in front of a record NASL home-opener crowd of 33,484 at Tampa Stadium. Seattle Goalkeeper Tony Chursky hadn't allowed a goal in 567 minutes in regular season, more than six full games, before Minnesota's Ade Coker beat him after 11 minutes of overtime to give the Kicks a 1-0 win. Las Vegas and Dallas remained undefeated, the Quicksilvers beating Portland 3-2, the Tornado stopping St. Louis 3-0. The Cosmos beat Team Hawaii 2-1 in a Honolulu downpour, then topped Rochester 2-0 before 26,752 at New Jersey's Meadowlands as Pelé picked up his first goal of the year. Los Angeles trounced Hawaii 6-0 as Steve David scored twice, giving him four tallies in two games.
TENNIS—STAN SMITH and BOB LUTZ, who have never lost in Davis Cup doubles, clinched the three-of-five series with South Africa at Newport Beach, Calif. with a 7-5, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Byron Bertram and Frew McMillan. The U.S. went on to win 4-1 and now advances to the American Zone finals. Play was disrupted by protesters objecting to any U.S. involvement with South Africa because of its apartheid policies.
Chris Evert beat Martina Navratilova 6-3, 7-6 in Tucson to win her third straight World Series of Women's Tennis championship and $50,000.
MILEPOSTS—SUSPENDED: The U.S. Boxing Championships, promoted by Don King and funded by ABC television, pending an investigation into falsification of boxers' records and rankings, as well as kickbacks.
DIED: PHILIP WRIGLEY, 82, owner of the Chicago Cubs since 1932; of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage; in Elkhorn, Wis. Wrigley, who had been head of the world's largest chewing-gum company since 1923, was renowned for his refusal to install lights for night baseball at Wrigley Field because "it would disturb the neighbors."
DIED: CHUCK COLLINS, 73, left end on Notre Dame's 1924 undefeated national championship team; in Ridgewood, N.J. Collins, who coached at North Carolina for seven years, was one of the Seven Mules who complemented the famed Four Horsemen.