PRO BASKETBALL—All four best-of-seven semifinal conference series were still in doubt at week's end, as underdogs proved to be a bit tougher than expected. In the East, at first it seemed that Boston would do its General Sherman number and sweep through Atlanta. The Celtics broke to a two-games-to-none lead at Boston Garden, winning by scores of 110-101 and 108-97. Larry Bird led the way with 38 points—including a club-playoff-record 24 in the first quarter—in Game 1, while Kevin McHale was the hero of the second game with 32 points. In Game 2, the Hawks accommodated the slightly stale Celtics by missing 22 of their first 26 shots. But the roles were reversed in Atlanta in Game 3 as the Celtics hit only 27 of 70 shots from the field and the Hawks came out flying, never trailing en route to a 110-92 win. Kevin Willis led the way for Atlanta with 23 points and 13 rebounds; Spud Webb came into the game early in the first quarter and dished out 11 assists. In the Western Conference, Denver and Dallas finished the week with two victories apiece as the teams alternated wins. In the first game, Fat Lever led the Nuggets to a solid 126-115 victory with 30 points, 8 assists and 11 rebounds. In the following game, the Mavericks answered with a 112-108 triumph as Rolando Blackman scored 31 points and Roy Tarpley came off the bench for 27 more. Denver's 107-105 third-game win featured a triple double from Lever (11 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds) and late-game heroics from Bill Hanzlik, who scored four of his nine points in the final :35, including the game-winner with three seconds left, to give the Nuggets their only lead of the day. In Game 4, Mark Aguirre, who had been in a slump, came alive with 34 points to pace Dallas to the 124-103 victory that tied the series. In the biggest surprise of the playoffs, Utah fought Los Angeles to a standstill as each team split on its opponent's home court (page 18). Detroit won three of four against Chicago in the only lopsided series. The Pistons took Games 3 and 4 handily (page 22).
CYCLING—SEAN KELLY of Ireland defeated Raymond Dietzen of West Germany by 1:27:00 to win the Tour of Spain. Kelly covered the 2,152.6-mile, 21-stage race, which concluded in Madrid, in 89 hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds to earn the winner's purse of $57,850.
GOLF—BRUCE LIETZKE sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Clarence Rose and win the Byron Nelson Classic, in Irving, Texas. Lietzke, who finished tied with Rose at nine-under-par 271 after the regulation 72 holes, earned $135,000 for the victory.
Nancy Lopez shot a final-round 66 for a 12-under-par total of 204 to defeat Jan Stephenson by eight strokes and win an LPGA event in Middletown, N.J. Lopez earned $37,500.
May 22, 1988
HOCKEY—Edmonton and Boston triumphed in their conferences' championship series to earn berths in the Stanley Cup finals. In the Campbell Conference, the Oilers quickly did in Detroit, winning two games last week to close out the series four victories to one. Edmonton's Jari Kurri was the hero in Game 4 on the Red Wings' ice; he scored his second goal of the game at 11:02 of overtime to give the Oilers a 4-3 win. In Game 5, the Oilers delighted the 17,319 fans on hand in Edmonton by routing Detroit 8-4. Mark Messier had a goal and three assists for the Oilers in that victory. In the Wales Conference finals, the Bruins had a considerably tougher time with New Jersey; their series went to a seventh game, which Boston won 6-2 (page 24).
HORSE RACING—BET TWICE ($15), Craig Perret up, came from off the pace to defeat front-running Lost Code by three quarters of a length and win the Pimlico Special at Pimlico Race Course. The 4-year-old colt, who earned $425,000, covered the 1[3/16] miles in 1:54[1/5].
Once Wild ($7.40), with Pat Day in the saddle, took an early lead and held on to defeat Tejano by 1½ lengths in the Withers Stakes at Belmont. The 3-year-old colt covered the mile in 1:35[1/5] and won $69,360. Also at Belmont, PERSONAL ENSIGN ($3.40), ridden by Randy Romero, pulled away in the final furlong to win the Shuvee Handicap by 1¾ lengths over Clabber Girl and earn $102,060. The 4-year-old filly covered the 1[1/16] miles in 1:41[3/5].
INDOOR SOCCER—Cleveland swept three games from Minnesota to win the Eastern Division playoff title and advance to the championship series for the first time in its 10-year history. While Game 3 of the best-of-seven playoff was a close 5-4 win for the Force, Cleveland dominated the Strikers in Games 4 and 5 by scores of 5-2 and 7-2, respectively. John Stollmeyer scored two power-play goals and Kai Haaskivi had four assists for the Force in the key Game 5 victory. Cleveland's likely opponent in the finals is Kansas City, which beat San Diego twice to build a three-games-to-one lead in the Western Division final. Dale Mitchell scored two goals for Kansas City in Game 3, including the game-winner at 13:57 of overtime, to lead the Comets to a 7-6 win. In Game 4, Kansas City stormed back from a 3-2 halftime deficit to win 7-3, as Damir Haramina and Kim Roentved had two goals apiece.
MOTOR SPORTS—ALAIN PROST, driving a McLaren-Honda, defeated Gerhard Berger, in a Ferrari, by 20.453 seconds to win the Monaco Grand Prix, in Monte Carlo. Prost averaged 82.52 mph for 78 laps around the 2.06-mile road course.
ROAD RUNNING—ARTURO BARRIOS of Mexico came in 50 yards ahead of Peter Koech of Kenya to win the Bay to Breakers Race, in San Francisco. He ran the 7½ miles in 34:57.6. The top women's finisher was LISA MARTIN of Australia, whose time of 39:16.4 was 57.4 seconds better than that of second-place finisher Joan Benoit Samuelson, who was running in her first race since January. The two winners each earned a BMW 325i and round-trip plane tickets to Hong Kong.
COLLEGE TENNIS—TERI WHITLINGER and ELENI ROSSIDES won a doubles competition, and WHITLINGER, ROSSIDES, LISA GREEN and KAY TITTLE triumphed in singles to give Stanford its third consecutive NCAA women's team tennis title, in Los Angeles.
TENNIS—IVAN LENDL needed 4½ hours to defeat 14th-seeded Guillermo Perez-Roldan 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the final and win the Italian Open, in Rome. The victory was worth $145,200.
Steffi Graf beat Helena Sukova 6-3, 6-1 to win a tour event in Berlin and earn $60,000.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: As coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, MIKE KEENAN, 38, after a record of 190-102-28 over four seasons. His winning percentage of .638 was second-best among active coaches.
HIRED: As coach of the Phoenix Suns, COTTON FITZSIMMONS, 56. Fitzsimmons, who has been the Suns' director of player personnel since May 1987, has a coaching record of 588-634 over 15 seasons with five NBA teams.
NAMED: As Rookie of the Year by the NBA, New York Knicks guard MARK JACKSON, 23. Jackson's average of 10.6 assists per game was the highest ever by an NBA rookie. The league also cited Chicago Bulls guard MICHAEL JORDAN, 25, as Defensive Player of the Year. Jordan led the NBA with 3.16 steals per game.