PRO BASKETBALL—While Bill Walton's inspired play led Portland's 4-0 blitz of Los Angeles (page 28), Houston took two of three games from Philadelphia to cut the 76er lead to 3-2 in the Eastern semifinal. Facing elimination Sunday afternoon at Philadelphia, the Rockets overcame a 17-point deficit to win 118-115. Mike Newlin scored 19 points coming off the bench and Moses Malone had 19 rebounds and 17 points for Houston. Earlier, Malone scored 30 points and had 25 rebounds in Houston's 118-94 triumph in Game Three Wednesday night, as the Rockets cut the 76ers' series lead to 2-1. Two nights later Doug Collins scored 36 points, Julius Erving added 29 and Philadelphia romped 107-95. The key to that win, claimed 76er Coach Gene Shue, was Center Caldwell Jones, who held Malone to five points and 13 rebounds. Another key—for Houston, that is—may have been the fractured rib, collapsed lung and bruised chest wall suffered by 76er Guard Lloyd Free in a collision with Newlin. Free will miss the rest of the Houston series, and at least part of the finals—if the 76ers reach them.
BOXING—No. 1 heavyweight challenger KEN NORTON scored a TKO over previously unbeaten Duane Bobick 58 seconds into the first round of a scheduled 12-round bout at Madison Square Garden (page 96).
GOLF—BEN CRENSHAW made up five strokes in six holes on the final nine to sweep past front-running John Schroeder and win the Colonial National Invitation by one shot in Fort Worth. Crenshaw finished with a total of 272, eight under par.
Jane Blalock shot a 10-under-par 209, three strokes better than Takako Kiyomoto and Joyce Kazmierski, to win the $55,000 Greater Baltimore Golf Classic in Baltimore.
HOCKEY—NHL. Montreal won its 20th Stanley Cup by defeating the Boston Bruins 2-1 in overtime Saturday night to complete a four-game sweep of the finals (page 24). Jacques Lemaire scored both Montreal goals in the clinching game, both on direct assists from Guy Lafleur, who finished the playoffs with nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points, one short of the record set by Phil Esposito in 1970 and Frank Mahovlich in 1971.
WHA: The defending-champion Winnipeg Jets and the Quebec Nordiques split the first two games in the best-of-seven Avco Trophy finals at Quebec. The Jets won the opener 2-1 on second-period goals by Willy Lindstrom and Dan Labraaten, then the Nordiques won Game Two by a 6-1 score.
MOTOR SPORTS—TOM SNEVA, driving a McLaren with a Cosworth engine, won the pole position for the 61st Indianapolis 500 with a record qualifying speed of 198.884 mph (page 30).
Cale Yarborough took the lead from David Pearson near the 400-mile mark and went on to win the Mason-Dixon 500 and $15,430 by six seconds Sunday at Dover (Del.) Downs International Speedway. Yarborough's Chevrolet averaged 123.237 mph.
ROWING—HARVARD, recovering from the shock of a one-tenth of a second loss to Pennsylvania the previous week, its first defeat in 26 races over four years, whipped the Quakers by just under a boat length to win the heavyweight eights race in the Eastern Sprint championships on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J., covering the 2,000-meter course in 6:03.7
SOCCER—St. Louis (1-1), Tampa Bay (2-0) and Dallas (1-1) continued to lead the NASL's Northern, Eastern and Southern divisions, respectively. Portland dropped to second behind Minnesota in the Western following a 3-2 loss to San Diego. Las Vegas defeated Toronto 1-0. Forward Derek Smethurst of Tampa Bay had a total of four goals in the Rowdies' 4-0 and 4-1 victories over winless Connecticut and took over the scoring lead from L.A.'s Steve Davis. Pelé had his first NASL hat trick in New York's 3-0 win over Fort Lauderdale.
TENNIS—JIMMY CONNORS whipped Dick Stockton 6-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 to win the WCT championship and its $100,000 first-place prize (page 78).
Martina Navratilova won three of four singles matches and all four doubles with partner Greer Stevens as Boston had a 3-1 week to up its WTT East lead over New York to ½ game. The Lobsters beat the Apples 29-25 in Boston as Billie Jean King defeated Navratilova 6-3 but lost 26-19 in New York as Navratilova won 6-4. In the West, Phoenix also went 3-1 as Chris Evert took three singles and three doubles and moved into first place, a half game ahead of Sea-Port, which beat San Diego 26-22 in its only game.
TRACK & FIELD—With invited Olympic stars Alberto Juantorena and John Akii-Bua unexpectedly absent, Americans STEVE SCOTT, STEVE WILLIAMS and EDWIN MOSES excelled at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston. Scott upset Tanzania's Filbert Bayi in the 1,500; Williams beat Trinidad's Hasely Crawford, the Olympic gold medalist, and Jamaica's Don Quarrie, the silver medalist, to take the 100 meters in 10.26; and Moses scored the men's only double, winning the 400-meter hurdles in 48.64 and the 110-meter hurdles in 13.5 (page 32).
At an Eastern Girls League meet at West Point, JAN MERRILL ran the mile in an American-record 4:31, breaking Francie Larrieu Lutz' 1975 mark by .6.
MILEPOSTS—FAILED: By RENEE RICHARDS, the Barr-Body saliva test that the Italian Tennis Federation uses to determine a person's sex. Needing a rating of 20 to pass, Dr. Richards scored zero and thus was declared ineligible to compete in the women's division of the Italian Open.
NAMED: BOB HOPKINS, 42, Seattle SuperSonics assistant coach, to replace Bill Russell as head coach. Hopkins, who is Russell's cousin, is the sixth man to hold the job in the club's 10-year history.
NAMED: As head basketball coach at Oral Roberts, LAKE KELLY, after six years at Austin Peay, where his teams had a 110-52 record. He replaces Jerry Hale, who resigned.
RETIRED: After 23 seasons as football coach at Texas A&I, GIL STEINKE, 58, whose teams won six national college-division titles, 14 of 15 postseason playoffs and their last 39 games. He remains as athletic director and Health & Physical Education professor.
SIGNED: By the Los Angeles Rams, free agent Quarterback JOE NAMATH, 33, who passed for 27,057 yards and 170 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the New York Jets. Terms of Namath's contract were undisclosed, but he took at least a $275,000 pay cut.
DIED: BARRY ASHBEE, 37, Philadelphia Flyer assistant coach; of leukemia; in Philadelphia. Ashbee broke into the NHL at the age of 31 after 10 seasons in the minors and was a star defenseman on the Flyers' 1974 Stanley Cup champions and a second-team all-NHL selection. During the 1974 playoffs his playing career was ended when he was hit in the head by a puck and suffered permanent injury to his right eye.