BASKETBALL—NBA: In three championship games on two coasts, the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knickerbockers continued to play cliff-hangers to capacity crowds. The week started in Madison Square Garden, where the Lakers won a 105-103 squeaker to even the series, then everybody limped west where things really got tense. In the first Forum game, the score was 102-100 for New York when Laker Jerry West hit the shot of the season: a 63-foot one-hander, with one second to go. It put them all back on overtime, and in the five minutes that followed, the Knicks finally won it 111-108. The next game produced another overtime thriller, with West scoring 37 points and 18 assists despite a badly jammed left thumb, and the Lakers won 121-115. Even again. Next, east again (page 30).
ABA: Indiana and Kentucky split the first two games of the Eastern finals, with Darrel Carrier leading the way in the Colonels' 114-110 overtime victory and Roger Brown's 33 points putting the Pacers on top in the second game 121-110. In the West, Los Angeles and Denver also split the first two: a 123-113 win for the Rockets, then a 114-105 victory for the Stars. Earlier the Rockets had needed seven games and a few punches to beat the Caps and star Rick Barry in the semifinals—taking the last game 143-119 despite Barry's playoff record 52 points. The record crowd of 9,893 saw some boxing as well as basketball: Barry and Spencer Haywood fought out the last two minutes, with the latter being thrown out of the game.
BOATING—Roaring cautiously through the rough seas off Florida, Bill Wishnick piloted his BOSS O'NOVA at an average 51 mph to win the 200-mile Sam Griffith Memorial powerboat race, in a total time of four hours, 34 minutes.
BOXING—ARMANDO MUNIZ of the Army successfully defended his 147-pound title at the senior National AAU boxing championships in Trenton, N.J. when Fred Washington was unable to come out for the third round. Navy man QUIENCELAN DANIEL won the 139-pound division over Rudy Donato.
GOLF—Down from Ontario, Canadian GARY COWAN became the first "foreign" player to win the 70-year-old North and South Amateur Golf Tournament—taking his last four matches in 17 under par (78 holes). He beat ex-Walker Cupper Dale Morey 5 and 4, playing the last 32 holes six under par at the Pinehurst (N.C.) Country Club.
There they were: JACK NICKLAUS and ARNOLD PALMER, locked in a sudden-death playoff in the $100,000 Byron Nelson Golf Classic in Dallas while the golf world held its breath. The two giants had finished the final day's 36 holes tied at 274, with Nicklaus bogeying the 72nd hole for a final-round 71, Palmer firing a 69. But the agony ended quickly as Nicklaus birdied the first hole of the playoff and Palmer rimmed the cup with a 12-foot putt to lose the $20,000 first prize.
HOCKEY—The Boston Bruins skated to a one-game lead in the Stanley Cup playoffs, defeating Western Division champion St. Louis 6-1. The Blues had reached the finals by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to two, winning the last two games after Pittsburgh had tied the series. Frank St. Marseille scored a hat trick in their 5-0 fifth win, and Larry Keenan shoved in a loose puck for the winning goal in the 4-3 decisive sixth game.
HORSE RACING—Robert E. Lehmann's DUST COMMANDER ($32.60) rallied under Mike Manganello to take the 96th Kentucky Derby by five lengths over favored My Dad George. High Echelon was a fast-closing third, half a length farther back (page 22).
After leading all the way, Locust Hill Farm's TYRANT ($15) held off Best Turn by a length to win the $55,400 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, with Bobby Ussery booting him home in 1:21[2/5] for the seven furlongs.
Thomas McKoy Jr.'s KING OF SPADES, under Doug Small Jr., easily took the 45th running of the Virginia Gold Cup, finishing the four miles and 22 fences 15 lengths ahead of Our Ivory Tower in a time of 8:47.