PRO BASKETBALL—For six games, Philadelphia was criticized for not playing any defense against Boston in their quarterfinal playoff battle. For example, Jo Jo White scored at will Friday night, pumping in 40 points in a 113-108 Celtic win that forced the series to the seventh game. On Sunday it was a different story, however. White was held to zero points in the second half while 76er Guard Lloyd Free (27 points) bombed the Boston defenses from all over the floor as Philadelphia outdefensed Boston 83-77 and took the series 4-3, eliminating the defending champions. It was only the second time in 13 occasions that the Celtics had lost a seventh game in the playoffs. Houston won three straight to eliminate Washington 4-2. Tiny Calvin Murphy was the hero of Game Five, hitting for 40 points in a 123-115 Rocket victory. And muscular Mike Newlin scored 15 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter of Game Six to assure Houston's 108-103 win. Golden State squared its series against Los Angeles with a 115-106 win in Sunday's sixth game, the 16th straight time (over four years) that the Warriors had beaten the Lakers in Oakland. Averaging 37.3 and 29.2 points per game respectively, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Rick Barry (page 63) turned the series into a personal scoring duel. Denver topped Portland 114-105 in overtime to cut the Trail Blazers' series lead to 3-2 (page 22).
GOLF—Leading by as many as seven strokes in the final round, GENE LITTLER coasted to a three-shot victory over Lanny Wadkins in the Houston Open. Littler finished at 12-under-par 276 and earned $40,000 for his 29th tour victory.
Debbie Austin shot a third-round 70 to finish at nine-under-par 207 and win the $60,000 Birmingham Classic by one shot over Debbie Massey.
HOCKEY—NHL: Philadelphia will be at home until October. Stanley Cup finalists the past three years, the Flyers ran into surprising Boston in the playoff semifinals and were rudely eliminated four games to zilch [page 16). "Probably the greatest hockey game I've ever played in" was Bruin Captain Wayne Cashman's description of Boston's 5-4 double-overtime victory in Game Two. When Bruin Right Winger Terry O'Reilly beat Wayne Stephenson for the decisive goal after 30:07 of sudden death, he called it "the biggest thing that ever happened to me." Montreal took a three-games-to-one lead over the New York Islanders in the other semifinal as Goaltender Ken Dryden had a pair of shutouts. Jimmy Roberts' shorthanded goal at 7:46 of the third period of Game Two broke a scoreless game and led to a 3-0 Canadien win. But the Islanders bounced back on Thursday with a 5-3 win, handing the Canadiens only their second defeat in their last 41 games. Denis Potvin made up for two defensive lapses that resulted in Montreal goals with two goals of his own, and Center Jude Drouin contributed three assists. It was all Montreal in Game Four, however, as Steve Shutt, Guy Lafleur and Roberts scored during an all-out Canadien attack in the opening 8:18. New York never recovered, never tested Dryden and lost 4-0.
May 8, 1977
WHA: Quebec's Paulin Bordeleau scored his third goal of the game at 5:29 of overtime to give the Nordiques a 6-5 decision and a three-games-to-none lead over Indianapolis in their semifinal series. Racer Coach Jacques Demers blamed that loss on Goalkeeper Michel Dion and replaced him with Paul Hoganson for Game Four. Indianapolis responded with a 2-0 victory in which Hoganson turned back 22 Nordique shots. Winnipeg beat Houston 6-4 to take a 3-1 lead in their semifinal series. Peter Sullivan scored the game-winning goals in Winnipeg's two 4-3 victories, one after 8:05 of overtime, the other with 1:36 to play in regulation. The Aeros countered with the father and the son, Gordie and Mark Howe, who accounted for five goals as Houston trounced the Jets 7-2 in Game Two.
HORSE RACING—FOR THE MOMENT ($12), under Angel Cordero, finished 1¾ lengths ahead of favored Run Dusty Run to take the 53rd running of the $119,350 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. The LeRoy Jolley-trained colt covered the sloppy 1‚⅛-mile course in 1:50[1/5] (page 34).
MOTOR SPORTS—WALLY DALLENBACH edged teammate Gordon Johncock by eight seconds to win the Trentonian 200 for Indy-type cars. Dallenbach's first victory since 1975 earned him $13,873.
Darrell Waltrip drove his Chevrolet at an average speed of 164.887 mph to win the $236,885 Winston 500 for stock cars by .29 seconds over Cale Yarborough, at Talledega, Ala.
SOCCER—The first sellout crowd (21,182) in Dallas history was on hand to watch the undefeated Tornado (3-1) suffer their first loss of the season, a 3-2 shootout with San Jose. Behind Gordon Banks' strong goal-tending, Fort Lauderdale (4-0) edged Washington 1-0 on Fred Pereira's goal and remained undefeated. Tampa Bay (3-1) beat Rochester 3-1 in front of 21,426 in Tampa Stadium. Los Angeles (4-0) also stayed unbeaten as league-leading scorer Steven David had his sixth goal in a 2-1 defeat of Chicago.
TENNIS—ARGENTINA, led by GUILLERMO VILAS' two singles victories, beat the U.S. 3-2 for its first victory over the U.S. in Davis Cup history. Argentina now plays Australia in the semifinals (page 20).
World Team Tennis bounced into its fourth season with exotic new teams like the Soviets playing in exotic new places like Plains, Ga. (page 56). Despite strong individual performances (Olga Morozova beat New York's Billie Jean King and Natasha Chmyreva surprised Phoenix' Chris Evert), the Soviets lost four of five matches, beating only the New York Apples, last year's champions. The Golden Gaters had the league's best record (3-0) and largest crowd (6,113). The Sea-Port Cascades, who as the Hawaii Leis finished in the Western Division cellar last year, roared off to a 3-1 start as Tom Gorman beat Alex Metreveli, Sandy Mayer and Bjorn Borg—all on the road.
Jimmy Connors retained his title in the Alan King Classic at Las Vegas, defeating Raul Ramirez 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 and earning $50,000.
TRACK & FIELD—In an unusual triple, ARIZONA STATE won the 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relays at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia with Olympian HERMAN FRAZIER anchoring all three teams. The Sun Devils (GARY BURL, TONY DARDEN, GERALD BURL and FRAZIER) set a world record (1:21.4) in the 800. WILSON WAIGWA, a senior at UTEP, won the Ben Franklin Mile in 3:53.8, and five other runners broke four minutes. DWIGHT STONES set a meet record in the open high jump with a leap of 7'4½"
At the Drake Relays in Des Moines, PEG NEPPEL of Iowa State set an American record of 15:52.27 in the rarely contested women's 5,000. Fifteen meet records were set, including FRANCIE LARRIEU LUTZ' 4:15.66 in the 1,500 (page 24).
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: WILT CHAMBERLAIN, 40, as the president of the International Volleyball Association. Chamberlain, who will also play for the IVA's Orange County (Calif.) Stars, is the three-year-old league's third president.