BASKETBALL—NBA: On the next-to-last Sunday of the regular season, all nine home teams except Boston won. The Celtics lost 101-96 to New Jersey as the Nets' Mike Newlin scored 38 points and the Celtics' Larry Bird was held to eight. In the games of Friday and Saturday, all 10 home teams, including Boston, were victorious. The Celtics clinched the Atlantic Division title and ensured themselves of the league's best record (61-20) with a 130-122 triumph over Cleveland. Philadelphia, three games behind Boston, began the week with Julius Erving on the bench with a sprained right foot. Darryl Dawkins took up the slack with 32 points and 16 rebounds in a 112-108 victory over New York. In his return three days later Erving scored 20 points in the final quarter to help beat Atlanta 84-8), and in another game with the Knicks, he intercepted a pass, drove down the court and put in a layup with one second remaining to give Philly a 103-101 win. That loss was New York's regular-season finale, and it left the Knicks with a 39-43 record. With Washington at 38-43, New York's playoff hopes rested with its not-so-friendly neighbors, the Nets, who could have clinched a postseason spot for the Knicks by beating the Bullets. New Jersey didn't do it. Washington won 93-87 and gained the last Eastern playoff berth because it had a better intraconference record than the Knicks. In the Central Division, San Antonio and Houston, both 10 games behind Atlanta, had clinched their playoff spots earlier in the week. Milwaukee won the Midwest crown when Kansas City lost to Golden State 106-100 (page 86), but the Kings beat the Bucks 116-114 in the teams' final meeting of the season. A 101-96 victory over Utah gave Los Angeles the Pacific Division title. Portland slipped into the last Western Conference playoff berth with a 96-93 triumph at San Diego.
BOWLING—JOHNNY PETRAGLIA defeated Gary Dickinson 235-223 to win the $100,000 PBA national championship in Sterling Heights, Mich.
BOXING—MATTHEW SAAD MUHAMMAD retained his WBC light-heavyweight championship by stopping John Conteh in the fourth round of a scheduled 15-round bout in Atlantic City, N.J.
Antonio Cervantes stopped Miguel Montilla in the seventh round to retain his WBA junior welterweight title in Cartagena, Colombia.
April 7, 1980
Eusebio Pedroza successfully defended his WBA featherweight crown with a ninth-round knockout of Juan Malvarez in Panama City, Panama.
GOLF—NANCY LOPEZ-MELTON shot an even-par 284 to win a $150,000 LPGA tournament in Costa Mesa, Calif. by two strokes over Debbie Massey and Jo Ann Washam.
COLLEGE HOCKEY—NORTH DAKOTA defeated Northern Michigan 5-2 in Providence to win the NCAA championship. North Dakota had eliminated Dartmouth 4-1 in the semifinals, while Northern Michigan had beaten Cornell 5-4.
HOCKEY—NHL: After losing to Boston 7-2 and the Islanders 5-2 to run its streak to seven games without a win, Philadelphia won 5-2 against Quebec with Brian Propp scoring twice. Then the Flyers, still in first in the league standings with 111 points, fell back to their complacent ways, drawing 3-3 at Washington. Edmonton, on the other hand, is finishing in high gear. In 15th place with three games to play, the Oilers beat Atlanta 5-4 and lowered Olympic Flame Jim Craig's record in the nets to 1-2-1. They then defeated Detroit 5-2 and Toronto 8-5 for a club-record fifth victory in a row. Against the Maple Leafs, a hat trick by Wilf Paiement of Toronto was outweighed by three goals and three assists by Edmonton Center Don Ashby and two goals and four assists by Wayne Gretzky that placed him in a tie with Marcel Dionne of Los Angeles for first place in the NHL scoring race. Fifth-place Minnesota was also hot, running its win streak to seven by beating Colorado 7-1, Toronto 7-2 on Center Bobby Smith's first NHL hat trick, and Winnipeg 2-1. Despite the losses to Edmonton and Minnesota, the Maple Leafs, in 12th place with 71 points, clinched a playoff berth, as did Los Angeles and St. Louis, in 11th and 10th place, respectively.
HORSE RACING—PLUGGED NICKLE ($2.80), Buck Thornburg up, defeated Naked Sky by six lengths to win the $175,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. The 3-year-old covered the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:50[1/5] (page 24).
Codex ($52.60), ridden by Pat Valenzuela, defeated Rumbo by a neck to win the $184,700 Santa Anita Derby. The 3-year-old ran the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:47[3/5].
Ben Nevis, ridden by Charlie Fenwick, defeated Rough and Tumble by 20 lengths to win the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool. Fenwick, a banker from Maryland, is only the second American rider in 137 years to win the event.
MOTOR SPORTS—NELSON PIQUET, driving a Brabham at an average speed of 88.440 mph around the 2.02-mile circuit, won the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix. He finished 49.28 seconds ahead of Riccardo Patrese, driving an Arrows (page 22).
Dale Earnhardt, driving a Chevrolet at an average speed of 96.977 mph, won his second Grand National race in a row, the Southeastern 500, on the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) International Speedway.
SOCCER—NASL: Vancouver opened its title defense with a 2-1 loss to California in one of six games kicking off the league's 14th season. A home crowd of 31,085 watched Tampa Bay defeat Washington 3-2 in a shootout, despite two goals by Alan Green and one assist by new Diplomat, former Los Angeles Aztec and 1979 NASL MVP Johan Cruyff.
SWIMMING—CALIFORNIA won the NCAA championship in Cambridge, Mass., defeating runner-up Texas 234-220 (page 18).
TENNIS—JOHN McENROE defeated Vijay Amritraj 6-1, 6-4 to win a $200,000 WCT tournament in Milan.
Tracy Austin defeated Martina Navratilova for the second time in two weeks, 7-5, 6-2, to win a $200,000 tournament in Carlsbad, Calif.
Bjorn Borg defeated Manuel Orantes 6-2, 6-0, 6-1 to win the $50,000 Nice (France) Open.
MILEPOSTS—RETIRED: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback ROGER STAUBACH, 38. After winning the Heisman Trophy in 1963, Staubach played 11 seasons with Dallas, during which he completed 56.9% of his passes for 22,700 yards and led the Cowboys to four Super Bowl appearances, including their 27-10 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XII and their 24-3 defeat of Miami in Super Bowl VI, in which he was the Most Valuable Player. CLIFF HARRIS, 31, the Cowboys' All-Pro safety, also announced that he is quitting.
DIED: J. C. (Jesse) OWENS, 66, who became an enduring symbol of freedom and dignity by winning four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics; of lung cancer; in Tucson. Of the nine world records in track and field that Owens held, the most impressive, 26'8¼" in the long jump, stood 25 years until Ralph Boston surpassed it in 1960. Born in Oakville, Ala. in 1913, Owens and his family moved to Cleveland when he was seven. On May 25, 1935, while performing for Ohio State in a meet in Ann Arbor, Mich., Owens had the best single day of any performer in his sport, setting five world records (20.3 seconds in the 220-yard dash, which was also considered a 200-meter record; 22.6 seconds in the 220-yard low hurdles, which was also considered a 200-meter hurdle record; and his 26'8¼" in the long jump) and tying the record for the 100-yard dash (9.4 seconds). A year later he won the 100- and 200-meter dashes, the long jump and ran the first leg of the victorious U.S. 4 X 100-meter relay team in Berlin. Owens' victories, which represented a refutation of the Nazi theories of Aryan superiority, stunned Adolf Hitler, and the German government subsequently issued a statement criticizing the U.S.' use of "African auxiliaries" in the Games. Returning to the U.S. and the world of Jim Crow gave Owens a sad perspective, though one that he held without bitterness. "I wasn't invited to shake hands with Hitler," he said, "but I wasn't invited to the White House to shake hands with the President, either." In spite of such prejudice, Owens became a successful businessman and did receive the White House recognition he deserved, although it came 40 years late, when Gerald Ford presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Aug. 5, 1976.