PRO BASKETBALL—The postseason math is simple in the NBA's Eastern Division. There's no way three teams—Atlanta (41-38), New York (40-38) and Washington (40-38)—can fit into the final two of the six conference playoff spots. The question is: Which is the odd team out? The Bullets have been lethal of late, winning 11 of their last 13. After blasting Atlanta 100-78 Saturday night to draw within a half-game of the Hawks, Washington Coach Gene Shue said, "Right now, we're playing as well as anyone, but we have to win the rest of our games." A tall order, considering Washington's remaining schedule: Three of its final four are on the road, including away games with division champions Philadelphia (Atlantic) and Milwaukee (Central). Atlanta's no sure thing, either. The Hawks have Philly and Milwaukee at home and Kansas City on the road. And the Kings (42-36) are in a fight of their own; they're tied for the final Western playoff spot with Denver. Only New York, despite losing to the 76ers 113-92 Sunday, got some help from the schedule maker. The Knicks mix also-rans Indiana and Chicago with rugged New Jersey and Detroit.
BOWLING—TOM MILTON beat Earl Anthony 235-227 to win the $110,000 Greater Hartford Open.
BOXING—KATSUO TOKASHIKI fought a 15-round draw with Lupe Madera to retain his WBA junior flyweight championship in Tokyo.
GOLF—Seve Ballesteros shot an eight-under-par 280 to win the Masters by four strokes over Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite in Augusta, Ga. (page 30).
April 18, 1983
Nancy Lopez fired a five-under-par 283 to defeat runner-up Laura Baugh Cole by one stroke in a $200,000 LPGA event in Las Vegas.
PRO FOOTBALL—USFL: Tampa Bay tarnished the Denver Gold 22-16 as Quarterback John Reaves (page 48) completed 38 of 63 passes for 357 yards. The 5-1 Bandits stayed one step ahead of Chicago (4-2) in the Central Division after the Blitz beat Birmingham 22-11. Herschel Walker (26 carries, 133 yards) rated a B-plus on his weekly report card, but his New Jersey Generals (1-5) failed again, falling 21-6 in the rain to Michigan. Oakland invaded Boston and broke the Breakers' four-game win streak 26-7 as Running Back Ted Torosian had two TDs. Los Angeles, 3-3, stayed tied atop the Pacific Division race with Denver despite losing to Atlantic Division-leading Philly 17-3.
GYMNASTICS—Nebraska scored 283.00 points to win the NCAA men's championships at State College, Pa. over runner-up UCLA (281.40).
HOCKEY—Late in the NHL regular season, Philadelphia Flyer Coach Bob McCammon had criticized the Rangers' forwards, labeling them Smurfs after the tiny cartoon characters. But after New York stunned the Flyers three straight in a best-of-five opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight year, McCammon changed his tune. "They're great little hockey players," he said about the Ranger line of Rob McClanahan, Mark Pavelich and Anders Hedberg, which averages just 5'9½" and 175 pounds. The three had 21 points in three games. The SRO Madison Square Garden crowd of 17,381 also had something to say during the series clincher. As New York cruised to a 9-3 win, they chanted "Eddie, Eddie" in recognition not only of each of Goaltender Eddie Mio's 27 saves, but also of his six straight playoff wins over the Flyers. They also voiced displeasure over McCammon's comments, singing, "Good night, Flyers, we hate to see you go," as fans in the cheap seats inflated a giant Smurf doll. Two other opening-round pairings ended in three games: Buffalo smothered Montreal (page 76) and Edmonton waxed Winnipeg. Before the series, Jets Right Wing Paul MacLean said, "The only place Wayne Gretzky hasn't really proven himself is in the playoffs." MacLean was munching on those words after The Great One scored four goals in Edmonton's 6-3 opening-night win, two on short-handed breakaways. In the other first-round action, the New York Islanders advanced, three games to one, with a 6-3 victory on the road against the Washington Caps. Four other clubs were eliminated in four games as, Sunday night, Minnesota knocked out Toronto 5-4, Boston bounced Quebec 2-1, Calgary charged past Vancouver 4-3, and Chicago dumped St. Louis 5-3.
HORSE RACING—MARFA ($9.20), Jorge Velasquez up, defeated My Habitony by three lengths to win the $310,500 Santa Anita Derby. The 3-year-old colt covered the 1‚⅛ miles in 1:49⅖ as 4-5 favorite and leading Kentucky Derby contender Desert Wine finished sixth.
MOTOR SPORTS—HARRY GANT, in a Buick Regal, beat Darrell Waltrip, in a Chevy, by less than a second in a 500-mile NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C. Gant averaged 130.406 around the 1.366-mile Darlington International Raceway oval.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: Six of eight playoff spots were nailed down during the week. First-place Baltimore, Cleveland and Chicago clinched spots in the East, while division champion San Diego, Kansas City and Wichita did likewise in the West. St. Louis forged a game ahead of Phoenix for the fourth and final Western berth by shutting out K.C. 2-0. Goalie Slobo Ilijevski had 27 saves.
TENNIS—MARTINA NAVRATILOVA beat Tracy Austin 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 to win a $200,000 women's tournament in Hilton Head, S.C.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: The Wade Trophy, as the outstanding woman college basketball player for 1982-83, Long Beach State Guard LA TAUNYA POLLARD, 22, a 5'11" senior, who averaged 29.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game and was named MVP in the NCAA Western Regional tournament.
GRANTED: By the U.S. Justice Department, political asylum to Chinese tennis star HU NA, 19, who defected to the U.S. last summer. The action ended nine months of debate within the State Department about the decision's foreign policy implications, but it brought an immediate reaction from Peking in the form of cancellation of Chinese participation in 19 international sports and cultural events scheduled in the U.S. this year.
HIRED: As basketball coach: at Iowa, GEORGE RAVELING, 45, who had an 11-year 167-136 record at Washington State, including a 23-7 mark last season. Raveling was replaced by Assistant Coach LEN STEVENS, 40; at Oklahoma City, ABE LEMONS, 61, who coached the Chiefs to a 309-181 mark from 1955 to 1973 before leaving for Pan American (1973-76) and Texas (1976-82).
RESIGNED: New Jersey Nets Coach LARRY BROWN, 42, to accept a four-year, $228,000 contract as coach at Kansas. Under Brown this season the Nets had a 47-29 record, fifth best in the NBA; they were 91-67 overall under him. Brown's resignation was his third in the last five years: He left the Denver Nuggets in February 1979 to coach at UCLA, where he resigned after two years to accept the New Jersey job. Brown was replaced on the Nets on an interim basis by Assistant Coach BILL BLAIR, 40.
SIGNED: Former Pittsburgh Steeler Wide Receiver JIM SMITH, 27, to a three-year contract with the USFL Birmingham Stallions reportedly worth $1 million, highest ever for a receiver.
SOLD: By president and principal owner Ted Stepien, his 82% interest in the hapless Cleveland Cavaliers, his Nationwide Advertising Service and his fledgling sports cable operation, Sports Exchange, to Gordon and George Gund, owners and operators of the Richfield Coliseum, home of the Cavs. The Gunds' other holdings include the Minnesota North Stars. The purchase price was not disclosed.
DIED: HENRY SAYERS, 74, who in his yards at the Minneford Yacht Club in New York built the yachts that won the last six America's Cup defenses, of cancer, in New York.