PRO BASKETBALL—The Eastern Conference playoff logjam involving Washington, Philadelphia, New York and now Indiana remained tightly packed. The Knicks capped a win-or-die week Sunday by beating the Bullets 118-98, thereby tying with Washington for the conference's eighth and final playoff berth. Indiana's recent slump—the Pacers' 105-100 Saturday loss to Milwaukee was their eighth defeat in 11 games—only served to confuse matters. Indiana, which apparently had a lock on the No. 6 postseason spot two weeks ago, at week's end was only a half game from falling out of the playoff picture. Philadelphia suffered through a winless week that left 263-pound forward Charles Barkley reminiscing about better days at Auburn. "We were on television a lot. People wanted to see the little fat boy run up and dunk," he said. Barkley is still jamming—he scored 80 points during losses to New York, Central Division pacesetter Detroit and Atlantic Division-leading Boston—but the Sixers found themselves 1½ games from a playoff berth with eight games to play. Chicago's Michael Jordan agreed to a $28 million, eight-year contract—the most lucrative in the league, and possibly in all of professional sport. Detroit and Midwest Division leader Dallas both halted four-game losing streaks, won all of their games and humbled their most threatening challengers. Denver, whose 10-game winning streak had brought the Nuggets to within a half game of the Mavs, was beaten 135-109 by Dallas. Atlanta had closed to within a game of the Pistons before being hammered by Detroit 115-102. In the Pacific Division, L.A. won two of its three games and continued to have the NBA's best record, 56-18 (page 50).
BOXING—EVANDER HOLYFIELD scored an eighth-round TKO over Carlos DeLeon to become the undisputed cruiserweight champion, in Las Vegas (page 72).
GOLF—SANDY LYLE fired a seven-under-par 281 to win the 52nd Masters in Augusta. He beat runner-up Mark Calcavecchia by one stroke and earned $183,800 (page 26).
Ayako Okamoto defeated Colleen Walker by one stroke to win an LPGA event and $33,750 in Poway, Calif. Okamoto shot a 12-under-par 272.
April 17, 1988
HOCKEY—"They're hitting, clutching, grabbing and taking center ice away from us," said a frustrated Tomas Jonsson, a New York Islanders defense-man. His complaint was with resilient New Jersey, which despite 150-to-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup when the season began, found itself tied with the Islanders at two victories apiece in their best-of-seven Patrick Division semifinal playoff series. In fact, the Devils might well have been ahead three games to one had they not blown a 3-0 lead in Game 4, which the Islanders won 5-4 in overtime. In the Patrick's other bracket, Philadelphia literally fought to a 3-1 series lead over Washington (page 34). Adams Division regular-season titlist Montreal jumped to a 3-0 advantage against Hartford, but the Whalers surprised the Canadiens on Sunday with a 7-5 win. Boston coach Terry O'Reilly was so upset about the Bruins' last regular-season defeat, a 4-2 loss to Hartford, that he grabbed a tire iron and broke out the window of a car that was blocking the path of the team bus. Even that didn't seem to fire up Boston for the playoffs, and the Bruins ended the week deadlocked 2-2 with underdog Buffalo. Toronto finished the regular season with 41 fewer points than Detroit, yet managed to whip the Red Wings 6-2 in their Norris Division opener. Detroit retaliated with three straight wins, in which they outscored the Maple Leafs 20-5. St. Louis won three of its first four games against Chicago. After dropping 16 consecutive Stanley Cup playoff games to Edmonton, Winnipeg finally scored a 6-4 victory on Saturday. However, after a 5-3 win on Sunday, the Oilers held a 3-1 series lead. In the other Smythe Division playoff series, Calgary led Los Angeles three wins to one.
HORSE RACING—In Kentucky Derby prep races for 3-year-olds, the colt FORTY NINER ($3), Pat Day in the saddle, ran the‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬™ of a mile at Keeneland in 1:22 to win $46,306 and the Lafayette Stakes by five lengths over Buoy; in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, another colt, PRIVATE TERMS ($23), ridden by Chris Antley, withstood a late charge by Seeking the Gold for a three-quarters-of-a-length victory, covering the mile in 1:34[4/5] to earn the $181,500 winner's check; and the filly WINNING COLORS ($7.20), Gary Stevens up, beat Lively One by 7½ lengths to win $275,000 and the Santa Anita Derby. She ran the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:47[4/5] (page 42).
INDOOR SOCCER—"It would be unfair to everyone involved with the MISL to conduct playoffs for a league that doesn't exist," said commissioner Bill Kentling as the MISL headed into its final week of the regular season. According to management, only one of the league's 11 teams has a chance to turn a profit this year, yet the Players Association continued to reject a 30% salary-cap reduction. Amid the gloom, Kansas City and Los Angeles clinched Western Division playoff spots, and Dallas secured an Eastern berth. San Diego and Minnesota, both 2-1 for the week, maintained their Western and Eastern Division leads, respectively.
MOTOR SPORTS—MARIO ANDRETTI drove his Lola-Chevrolet to a 14.03-second victory over Roberto Guerrero, in a Lola-Cosworth, at a CART event at Phoenix International Raceway. Andretti averaged 121.992 mph for 200 laps on the one-mile road circuit and won $38,460.
STEEPLECHASING—RHYME 'N' REASON, ridden by Brendan Powell, defeated Durham Edition by four lengths to win the 150th Grand National at England's Aintree racecourse. The 9-year-old gelding stumbled badly at Becher's Brook—a 4'10" fence with a 12-foot drop on the other side—but recovered from last place at the sixth hurdle to win the 30-jump race. Rhyme 'N' Reason was one of only nine horses among the 40 starters to finish the 4½-mile course.
SWIMMING—TEXAS beat Southern Cal 424-369.5 to win the men's team title at the NCAA championships in Indianapolis (page 68).
TENNIS—MARTINA NAVRATILOVA defeated Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to win a women's tour event and $60,000 in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
The U.S. defeated Peru in Davis Cup American Zone competition in Lima (page 60).
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: As basketball coach at James Madison, LEFTY DRIESELL, 56, who resigned as Maryland's coach in 1986 following the cocaine-related death of Len Bias.
As basketball coach at Texas, TOM PENDERS, 42, who had a 28-7 record at Rhode Island this season and was 48-17 over two years.
As coach of the Golden State Warriors, two-time NBA Coach of the Year DON NELSON, 47, who guided the Milwaukee Bucks to a 540-344 record from 1976-77 through '86-87.
RULED: By a New York State Supreme Court, that England's ROYAL BURNHAM YACHT CLUB will not be allowed to race in this September's America's Cup competition. The decision, based on a narrow interpretation of the Cup's Deed of Gift, clears the way for a one-on-one battle between a challenger from New Zealand and the defender, sponsored by the San Diego Yacht Club.