PRO BASKETBALL—"I feel unstoppable," said New York's Patrick Ewing after he scored 41 points in a 127-107 win over Indiana. And no wonder: Ewing had gotten no fewer than 36 points in four of the Knicks' last six games and was the key man in crucial victories last week over the Central Division's two top teams, Detroit (114-111 in overtime) and Atlanta (95-93). Those wins helped move New York past Indiana into seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff race with one week remaining in the regular season. The Pacers dropped to ninth—which put them out of the postseason picture, at least temporarily. Washington went 3-1 for the week, including a 98-92 victory over Atlantic-leading Boston, to match New York's 37-42 record. The pair occupied the conference's last two playoff slots. At week's end, only 1½ games separated New York, Washington, Indiana and Philadelphia. By going 3-1, the Pistons moved four games ahead of Atlanta (1-3) in the Central. Figure this one out: Another of that division's teams, Milwaukee, clinched a playoff berth even though it lost all four of its games. Denver jumped into the Midwest Division lead when Dallas lost two games earlier in the week. For insurance, the Nuggets whipped the Mavericks 133-122 on Sunday.
BOWLING—PETE WEBER defeated Marshall Holman 203-171 to win the U.S. Open in Atlantic City, worth $100,000 to him.
BOXING—MARLON STARLING retained his WBA welterweight title by fighting to a 12-round draw with Mark Breland, in Las Vegas. On the same card, JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ knocked out Rodolfo Aguilar in the sixth round to defend his WBA lightweight championship.
GOLF—GREG NORMAN rallied from a four-stroke deficit to win the Heritage Classic in Hilton Head Island, S.C. He shot a 13-under-par 271 to beat runner-up David Frost by a shot and earn $126,000.
April 24, 1988
Nancy Lopez defeated Marta Figueras-Dotti on the second hole of sudden death to win $60,000 and an LPGA event in Los Angeles. Each shot a six-under-par 210 for the tournament's 54 holes.
GYMNASTICS—NEBRASKA won the men's team title with a record 288.15 points at the NCAA championships, in Lincoln, Neb.
HOCKEY—Of the eight first-round Stanley Cup playoff matchups, only Philadelphia-Washington in the Patrick Division required a seventh game. The Capitals, who began the week trailing 3-1 and were on the brink of elimination, rallied with three straight victories—including a clinching 5-4 overtime win—to steal the series from the Flyers. During its comeback, Washington took advantage of Philly's erratic goaltending; in the Caps' 7-2 Game 6 victory, Flyers goalie Ron Hextall gave up four goals on the first nine shots. "My heart is still palpitating," said New Jersey's Randy Velischek about the four goals the Islanders scored in just over five minutes during the third period of Game 6 in their Patrick Division semifinal. Despite that eleventh-hour barrage, the Devils beat New York 6-5, eliminating the Islanders. "They may have the Cinderella tag," said Islander coach Terry Simpson, "but the Devils are for real." Boston advanced to the Adams Division final by wrapping up a four-games-to-two series over Buffalo. The Bruins now face Montreal (page 24), which ousted Hartford four games to two. Toronto forced a sixth Norris Division semifinal game by beating Detroit 6-5 in overtime, but the Red Wings knocked off the Maple Leafs two days later with a 5-3 victory. In St. Louis, Chicago's coaches got locked in a room during an intermission in Game 5, and a forklift was needed to break the door down. Perhaps it would have been better if they'd stayed put. The Blues defeated the Blackhawks 5-3 and advance to the division finals against Detroit. In the Smythe Division, both Calgary and Edmonton took most of the week off after eliminating their respective foes, Los Angeles and Winnipeg, in five games.
HORSE RACING—RISEN STAR ($8.40), Jacinto Vasquez in the saddle, upset Kentucky Derby favorite Forty Niner by a head to win the Lexington Stakes and $68,640 at Keeneland. The 3-year-old son of Secretariat covered the 1[1/16] miles in 1:42[4/5].
Alysheba ($3.60), last year's Kentucky Derby winner, ridden by Chris McCarron, nosed out 1986 Derby victor Ferdinand to win the San Bernardino Handicap, at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old colt ran the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:47[1/5] and earned $350,000.
INDOOR SOCCER—The seven-week-old salary dispute between MISL owners and the league's players was settled five minutes before a midnight deadline. Had the resolution (a 29% reduction in the salary cap to $900,000 per team, which in essence gave the owners their way) not been reached, the league might have folded immediately. On the field the regular season ended as Baltimore clinched the last Eastern Division playoff berth and Tacoma won the final Western Division slot.
MARATHON—In the Rotterdam Marathon, BELAINE DENSIMO of Ethiopia ran the distance in the fastest time ever, 2:06:50. That was 22 seconds faster than the world-best run by Carlos Lopes of Portugal on the same course three years ago. In the Boston Marathon, IBRAHIM HUSSEIN of Kenya won in 2:08:43, and ROSA MOTA of Portugal finished first among the women in 2:24:30 (page 98). In the London Marathon, HENRYK JORGENSEN of Denmark came out on top in 2:10:20, and INGRID KRISTIANSEN of Norway was the women's champion, breaking the tape in 2:25:41.
MOTOR SPORTS—AL UNSER JR., driving a March-Chevrolet, beat Bobby Rahal, in a Lola-Judd, by one lap and 33.482 seconds to win the Grand Prix of Long Beach, in Long Beach, Calif. Unser averaged 83.655 mph for 95 laps on the 1.67-mile road circuit and earned $91,160.
SWIMMING—YANG WENYI of China set a women's 50-meter freestyle world record with a clocking of 24.98 in Guangzhou, China. She surpassed the 1986 mark of Romania's Tamara Costache by .3 of a second.
TENNIS—JOHN McENROE beat Stefan Edberg 6-2, 6-2 to win the Japan Open and $122,250 in Tokyo. It was McEnroe's first tournament victory in more than 18 months.
Martina Navratilova routed runner-up Gabriela Sabatini 6-0, 6-2 to win $60,000 and a women's tour event in Amelia Island, Fla.
MILEPOSTS—ANNOUNCED: By the International Amateur Athletic Federation, that Great Britain's athletes will be suspended from all international track and field meets, including the Seoul Olympics, unless the British Amateur Athletic Board suspends runner Zola Budd for at least one year. Budd, a native of South Africa who is now a British citizen, is accused of having taken part in a race last June in South Africa, which is off limits to IAAF members because of its apartheid policy.
HIRED: As basketball coach, at UCLA, JIM HARRICK, 49, who had a 167-97 record in nine seasons at Pepperdine; at Rutgers, former New Jersey Nets assistant BOB WENZEL, 38.
As manager of the Baltimore Orioles, FRANK ROBINSON, 52, who replaced Cal Ripken Sr. (page 94).