BASKETBALL—NBA: The playoffs began with Milwaukee and Los Angeles leading their Western Conference semifinals as expected (page 28). In the East, Boston whacked Atlanta 126-108 as John Havlicek scored 32 points, the Hawks beat the Celtjcs 113-104 on Lou Hudson's 41 points (Havlicek scored 43) and Boston beat Atlanta 136-113 to lead two games to one. In the other series. Archie Clark, with 38 points, led Baltimore to a 108-105 overtime victory over New York, but the Knicks won the second game 110-88.
ABA: Kentucky won three games to run its season-ending winning streak to seven, giving the Eastern Division champion Colonels an ABA record 68 victories and a record 23-game margin over second-place Virginia. Then the playoffs started and Kentucky, everyone's favorite to win the championship, was stunned by New York 122-108 as Rick Barry popped in 50 points and John Roche 31. Virginia clinched second place on the last day of the season by beating Memphis 123-99 to finish a game ahead of New York, winch had lost Bill Melchionni for the year with a broken hand. The Squires immediately took a 2-0 lead in their playoffs with the fourth-place Floridians, defeating them 114-107 in overtime and 125-100 on rookie Julius Erving's 59-point total. West champion Utah spin its last two games to finish a comfortable 13 games ahead of runner-up Indiana, then whacked third-place Dallas 106-96 in its first playoff game. I he Pacers and fourth-place Denver traded victories in then playoff series, with Indiana beating the Rockets 102-96 as Roger Drown and Bob Netolicky combined for 52 points, and Denver edging the Pacers 106-105 on Ralph Simpson's field goal with 11 seconds remaining. Simpson scored 32 points in that game, while Brown and Netolicky were held to a 22-point total.
Virginia's Charlie Scott, who ended the season Scoring 113 points for the NBA's Phoenix Suns, led ABA scorers with a 34.58 average on 2,524 points, followed by Barry (31.47), the runner-up for the third straight year (he won the title four years ago). Kentucky's Dan Issel (a record 2,538 points for a 30.58 average), the leader last season; Pittsburgh's John Brisker (28.92); and Simpson (27.38) rounded out the top five scorers. Kentucky rookie Artis Gilmore finished first in rebounds (1,491 for a 17.8 average) and set an ABA record for field-goal percentage (.598), while Melchionni won the assist title (669 for an 8.4 average) for the second year in a row and Barry led in free-throw percentage (.878) for the third time in four seasons.
Eastern—Ky 68-16, Va 45-39, NY 44-40, Fla 36-48, Car 35-49, Pitt 25-59
Western—Utah 60-24, Ind 47-37, Dal 42-42, Den 34-50, Mem 26-58
BOWLING—MIKE DURBIN of Chagrin Falls, Ohio defeated Tim Harahan of Canoga Park, Calif. 258-187 in the finals of the $125,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron (page 75).
BOXING—MUHAMMAD ALI won a unanimous 15-round decision over Mac Foster in Tokyo (page 80.)
Jose Napoles of Cuba successfully defended his world welterweight title with a knockout (his 49th in 72 bouts) of Ralph Charles, the British and Commonwealth champion, in the seventh round of a scheduled 15-rounder in London. "I never saw the right that knocked me out." said Charles. On the same card, world lightweight champion KEN BUCHANAN of Scotland easily won by decision over Al Ford, the Canadian titleholder, in a 10-round nontitle fight.
DIVING—MICKI KING, 27-year-old Air Force captain, gained her 10th AAU title in seven years when she won the women's one-meter event at the National AAU indoor championships in Dallas. CYNTHIA POTTER, 21, of Houston, winner of all three outdoor titles last year, defeated Captain King in the three-meter event alter finishing second in the one-meter, while URIKA KNAPE, a 16-year-old from Sweden, upset Captain King, the defending champion, in the platform dive. In men's events, DICK RYDZE of Pittsburgh successfully defended his platform title. DON DUNFIELD of the Santa Clara Swim Club won the one-meter event and Air Force Lieut. PHIL BOGGS took the three-meter dive.