PRO BASKETBALL—First-place Boston pulled to a startling 7½-game lead over Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division, and there was one clear reason for this unlikely turn of events: injuries. The 76ers, already without the services of Moses Malone, who had a sprained ankle, lost starters Andrew Toney (flu) and Marc Iavaroni (ankle) and reserve center Clemon Johnson (ankle). They also lost twice to the Hawks 99-88 and 102-97; the latter defeat came before 16,021 fans, the biggest regular-season crowd ever in Atlanta. Larry Bird burst out of a shooting slump with 105 points in four games to lead the Celtics, who have won nine straight. Los Angeles established a beachhead in the Pacific Division's top spot, winning four times to move three games ahead of Portland. In the Lakers' most notable win of the week, L.A. beat the Trail Blazers 129-124, with five players scoring 20 points or more. One of them was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who hit double digits for the 500th consecutive game. The Lakers also beat Denver 116-108 behind rookie guard Byron Scott's 32 points and then edged Midwest Division leader Utah 109-105. That was the only loss for the Jazz, who moved 5½ games ahead of faltering Dallas. Utah ran its record in "home" games in Las Vegas to 3-3 with a 98-94 win over Seattle. The Jazz's next victim, by a 116-102 count, was Milwaukee. League scoring leader Adrian Dantley of Utah scored 36 points as the Bucks fell to their sixth loss in seven games. Milwaukee's slump enabled Atlanta to move into the Central Division lead, a game ahead of Detroit, which won two of four. Three other NBA milestones were reached: Phoenix guard Walter Davis scored his 10,000th point; David Stern took over the commissioner's office from Larry O'Brien; and New York forward Bernard King had 50 points on consecutive nights (page 48).
BOWLING—MARK BAKER defeated Bob Handley 221-183 in winning a $150,000 PBA tournament in Miami.
BOXING—DON CURRY successfully defended his WBA welterweight title with a 15-round unanimous decision over Marlon Starling in Atlantic City (page 40).
GOLF—HALE IRWIN birdied the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Jim Nelford and win the $400,000 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. They finished regulation play at 10-under-par 278 (page 34).
Patty Sheehan, with an eight-under-par 280, beat Sherri Turner by two strokes in winning a $175,000 LPGA tournament in Miami.
HOCKEY—In battling for the Patrick Division lead, the two New York teams found themselves in an unfamiliar situation. The Islanders were tied for first place with the Rangers, who hadn't been in the lead this late in the season in 14 years. The Rangers suffered an 8-1 thrashing at the hands of Calgary, but they bounced back with a 5-4 win at Vancouver, thanks to Anders Hedberg's two goals and one assist, and a 3-3 tie at Los Angeles. The Islanders fell 5-2 to St. Louis for their fifth loss in a row. They hadn't gone into that steep a nose dive since November 1974. The Stanley Cup champs then righted themselves with two victories over Pittsburgh, 6-5 and 5-4. Closing in on the Rangers and Islanders was Washington, unbeaten in nine games behind the stingy net-minding of Pat Riggin, who had allowed three goals in his last four outings. In the Adams Division, Buffalo's balloon burst as the Sabres' 13-game unbeaten streak and record 10-game road-winning string went by the boards with losses to Boston, the Adams leader, and Minnesota. Bruin right wing Dave Silk scored twice to pace a 5-3 streak-breaking defeat of Buffalo, while Minnesota, behind goalie Don Beaupre's 36 saves, beat the Sabres 4-1. That win somewhat made up for the Norris Division-leading North Stars' 4-0 loss to lowly Pittsburgh. Edmonton, the Smythe Division leader, embarked on a five-game Eastern road swing without Wayne Gretzky, who was out with a sore right shoulder. Gretzky did get one goal on the week—for the Campbell Conference in its 7-6 loss to the Wales in the All-Star Game. The MVP was Ranger left wing Don Maloney, who had a goal and three assists.
MOTOR SPORTS—The South African team of SAREL VAN DER MERWE, GRAHAM DUXBURY and TONY MARTIN drove its March 83G to a nine-lap victory in the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona International Speedway. It averaged 103.119 mph during its 640 laps (2,476.8 miles) around the 3.87-mile circuit (page 92).
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: East-leading Cleveland was shocked 10-7 at fifth-place Memphis. The Force was victimized by three power-play goals and a hat trick by defender Helmut Dudek. Cleveland then lost 6-5 to Baltimore and the Force's lead withered to two games over second-place Pittsburgh. In the West, St. Louis moved to within percentage points of first-place Kansas City by sweeping a home-and-home series. The Steamers, before 18,208 at the St. Louis Arena, beat the Comets 6-4 on a late penalty goal by Carl Rose and then won 4-3 before a record crowd of 16,340 in K.C.
NASL: Golden Bay ran its home record to 7-2 and its league lead to 1½ games by beating the Cosmos 6-3 and Chicago 7-6. League-leading scorer Steve Zungul had one goal and three assists in the wins.
TENNIS—JOHN McENROE beat Steve Denton 6-3, 7-6 to win a $100,000 WCT tournament in Richmond.
Hana Mandlikova defeated Manuela Maleeva 6-4, 6-2 to win a $150,000 women's tournament in Houston.
TRACK & FIELD—In Milan, SERGEY BUBKA of the Soviet Union pole vaulted 19'1", surpassing his month-old world indoor record by a quarter-inch; IGOR PAKLIN, also of the U.S.S.R., cleared 7'8¾" in the high jump to break by a quarter-inch the world indoor mark set by countryman Vladimir Yashchenko in 1978; and GIULIANA SALCE of Italy established a women's world record in the 3-km walk with a time of 13:08.09, breaking by 16.91 the mark set by Mia Kjolberg of Norway in 1981.
In Genoa, Salce set a women's world record for the mile walk with a time of 6:43.59, 14.91 faster than the 1980 mark of Sue Broddock of the U.S.
Ray Sharp established a U.S. indoor record of 11:16.3 in the 3,000-meter walk in Louisville, lowering Jim Heiring's by nearly 16 seconds.
With a leap of 22'2¼" in Dallas, CAROL LEWIS surpassed by 3½" the American indoor women's long-jump record she set in January.
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: As coach of the Los Angeles Kings, ROGER NEILSON, 49, who was fired by the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 18. Neilson has a 179-149-71 record in six years as coach of three NHL clubs. ROGIE VACHON, 38, who had coached the 14-27-9 Kings for two games after the Jan. 27 firing of Don Perry, was promoted to acting general manager in place of George Maguire, who will remain as the team's president.
NAMED: As winner of the Eclipse Award as American Horse of the Year for 1983, ALL ALONG, a 4-year-old French filly who won four races and more than $2 million (page 32).
TRADED: By the Cleveland Indians, third baseman TOBY HARRAH, 35, and a minor-leaguer to the New York Yankees for righty reliever GEORGE FRAZIER, 29, and two minor-leaguers.
DIED: CHUCK COOPER, 57, the first black to play in the NBA; of cancer; in Pittsburgh. Cooper averaged 6.7 points per game during a six-year career with Boston (1950-54), Milwaukee (1954-55), Fort Wayne and St. Louis (1955-56).