PRO BASKETBALL—Los Angeles had an awesome 41-4 home record this season until running into red-hot Portland in the Western Conference finals. The Trail Blazers were fresh from a 4-2 victory over Denver, coasting to a 108-92 win in Game Six as rookie Guard Johnny Davis scored 25 points. The Lakers won Game Seven of their hard-fought series with Golden State 97-84, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hit for 36 points and pulled down a season-high 26 rebounds. But the upstart Blazers paid no mind to Los Angeles' supposed invincibility at the Forum and came out shooting in Game One, four Portland players scoring more than 20 points in the 121-109 triumph. Abdul-Jabbar tossed in 40 points in Game Two but missed the big one when he threw up a 10-foot jumper with the Lakers down by two and :03 remaining—and it bounced off the glass. Final score: Portland 99, Los Angeles 97. In the Eastern Conference finals, Philadelphia jumped to a 2-0 lead over Houston behind the steady play of Julius Erving and George McGinnis, who combined for 84 points in the two games. The 76ers won the first game 128-117 in spite of 32 points by Houston's Moses Malone. Malone scored only seven in Game Two and the Rockets lost 106-97 (page 64).
PRO FOOTBALL—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made USC Running Back RICKY BELL the first pick in the 42nd NFL draft, held at the Hotel Roosevelt in New York (page 60).
GOLF—RAY FLOYD picked up five strokes in the last three holes to surge past a faltering Ben Crenshaw and win the Byron Nelson Classic by two shots. The 1976 Masters champion shot a fourth-round 69 to finish at 276, eight under par on the 6,983-yard Preston Trail course in Dallas, and collected $40,000.
Hollis Stacy finished one shot ahead of Joanne Carner to win the Lady Tara Classic in Roswell, Ga. Stacy shot a third-round 70 to finish at 10-under-par 209 and win $7,500 for her first LPGA title.
May 15, 1977
HOCKEY—NHL: Seeking its second straight Stanley Cup, Montreal crushed Boston 7-3 in the opening game of the playoff finals, linemates Yvon Lambert (two), Mario Tremblay (two) and Doug Risebrough combining for five goals. Jacques Lemaire and Rick Chartraw also scored for the Canadiens against Bruin Goaltender Gerry Cheevers (page 73). Earlier, the Canadiens had eliminated the New York Islanders 4-2 in the semifinals, but not before the Islanders ended Montreal's 38-game unbeaten streak on Forum ice. Trailing the Canadiens 3 games to 1, the Islanders looked dead when Lambert put the Canadiens ahead 3-2 midway through the third period. But Jude Drouin's tally tied the score, and Billy Harris' goal won the game for New York in 3:58 of sudden death. The Islanders succumbed back in New York, though, on a pair of goals by checking specialist Bob Gainey—the first coming only seven seconds into the game, the second after the officials missed a flagrant offsides by the Canadiens.
WHA: Gordie Howe has "unretired" about as often as Harold Stassen has run for President, but after Winnipeg ousted Howe's Houston Aeros from the semifinals, the 49-year-old right wing indicated that he really had had enough—at last. If so, Howe's complete final statistics are: 29 seasons, 2,180 games, 994 goals, 1,399 assists and 2,218 penalty minutes. The major question in Houston, though, is whether Howe's sons, Mark and Marty, will be playing for the Aeros or an NHL team next season. Winnipeg now begins defense of its Avco Trophy against Eastern Division champion Quebec, which bounced Indianapolis from the playoffs four games to one as Right Wing Real Cloutier scored a hat trick in an 8-3 win in Game Five.
Despite an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Canada in its last game, CZECHOSLOVAKIA retained the World Cup when Sweden, thanks to three goals by Roland Eriksson of the Minnesota North Stars, upset the Soviet Union 3-1 in the final game of the Vienna tournament. The Czechoslovaks finished with 15 points. Sweden placed second, the Soviet Union third, and Canada, composed mainly of NHL players, fourth.
HORSE RACING—SEATTLE SLEW ($3), Jean Cruguet up, came out of the gate late but recovered to win the 103rd running of the Kentucky Derby by 1¾ lengths over Run Dusty Run, covering the 1¼ miles in 2:02[1/5] (page 18).
MOTOR SPORTS—Leading from start to finish, MARIO ANDRETTI, driving a JPS Lotus, won the Spanish Grand Prix by completing 75 laps of the 2.1-mile Jarama Circuit outside Madrid in 1:42.52. Carlos Reutemann, in a Ferrari, was second, 16 seconds behind Andretti.
SOCCER—With Rodney Marsh converting a penalty kick and Paul Hammond making 10 saves in the goal, Tampa Bay handed Fort Lauderdale its first loss of the season 1-0 before 24,753 in Tampa. With the victory, the Rowdies moved into a first-place tie with the Strikers in the Eastern Division. Dallas beat Los Angeles 1-0 on Kyle Rote Jr.'s second goal of the year, thus tying the Aztecs for first place in the Southern Division. Las Vegas beat San Jose 2-0 and is just three points back. A sparse Soldier Field crowd of 2,015 watched Chicago get stung for the fourth time in four games, this one a 2-1 loss to Washington. In his first game for Minnesota this season, Alan Willey tallied three times as the Kicks downed Hawaii 3-0 before 35,966 hometown fans, the largest NASL crowd this season.
TENNIS—DICK STOCKTON and VIJAY AMRITRAJ beat Vitas Gerulaitis and Adriano Panatta 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 to win $80,000 and the WCT world doubles championship in Kansas City.
Phoenix moved into first place in the WTT's Western Division as Chris Evert beat Terry Holladay (6-2) and Kerry Reid (6-2) in wins over the Golden Gaters and San Diego. Martina Navratilova made her 1977 singles debut for Eastern Division-leading Boston and sparked the Lobsters to triumphs over Los Angeles and Indiana, topping Dianne Fromholtz (6-3) and Sue Barker (6-1). New York, 3-0 during the week, beat Cleveland 28-18 as 9,166 watched the first WTT match ever played in Madison Square Garden. Billie Jean King won six matches (one singles, three women's doubles, two mixed) for the Apples.
VOLLEYBALL—USC beat Ohio State 15-7, 9-15, 15-10, 15-12 to win the NCAA title in Los Angeles.
MILEPOSTS—RESIGNED: BILL RUSSELL, 43, as coach and general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics. Russell leaves after completing four years of a five-year contract, compiling a 162-166 record.
PLACED: On probation, the UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII basketball program, for two years, because of improper recruiting inducements and illegal benefits.
DIED: DANIEL FERRIS, 87, longtime amateur athletics bigwig; in Amityville, N.Y. A former sprinter, Ferris was a member of the AAU since 1907, and its secretary-treasurer from 1927 to 1957.
DIED: SEYMOUR CROMWELL, 43, Olympic oarsman; of cancer; in Cambridge, Mass. Cromwell, who won national singles titles in 1961 and 1962, teamed with Jim Storm for the silver medal in the double sculls at the 1964 Olympics.