PRO BASKETBALL—ABA: Indiana's Pacers, down by two against Utah in the Western Division finals, had depression added to defeat when only 6,337 fans showed up for the third game in Indianapolis—the lowest playoff crowd to attend a Pacer game at the State Fairgrounds in two years. The deflated Pacers lost 99-90. The Stars' Ron Boone and Willie Wise, who had combined for 38 points in Utah's 106-102 victory in Game Two, continued to shine with 24 and 18 points. In the fourth game Boone and Wise staked Utah to a 14-point lead minutes into the second half, but then Pacer pride, in the person of Guard Freddie Lewis, prevented a series sweep with a brilliant 118-107 comeback. Lewis registered a personal playoff high of 40 points, shooting 16 for 21. And Forward George McGinnis, who continued his prolific scoring with 30 points, insisted at week's end: "I still say we're not dead." But the Kentucky Colonels were dead, done in by the New York Nets 99-80, 89-87 and 103-90 for a 4-0 series defeat (page 24).
NBA: Minutes after Milwaukee destroyed Chicago 101-85 in the playoff opener, Coach Dick Motta was asked if he had considered taking a deliberate technical foul to inspire his team. Well, he answered, "I thought about it, but I just didn't have the enthusiasm." In Game Two, Motta didn't want a technical as the Bulls came within two of wiping out a 20-point deficit and a towering performance by Milwaukee Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (44 points, 21 rebounds), only to lose 113-111. But in Game Three, Motta finally found the provocation for polemics. The fiery coach drew a technical from Referee Earl Strom for objecting to an offensive foul against Forward Chet Walker when the Bulls were down 71-58 in the third period. Motta ripped off his jacket and threw it at Strom, saying, "Here, you've taken everything else, you might as well take this, too." But Strom was taking none of if and hit Motta with his second technical in 12 seconds and an automatic ejection. As it turned out, anywhere that Motta went the Bull was sure to follow—Chicago mascot Benny the Bull was thrown out for some similarly unkind remarks to Strom only seconds later. And injured Bull Captain Jerry Sloan left 38 seconds after that. Then the rest of the Bulls went down docilely 113-90 to fall behind Milwaukee 3-0. Meanwhile, Boston mistreated New York at home 111-99 for a 2-0 lead in the East finals. But the Knicks refused to die in Boston and survived a 20-point Celtic rally to win the third game 103-100, thanks largely to Walt Frazier's 38 points. The Celtics then rode John Havlicek's 36 points past the Knicks and a raucous New York crowd 98-91 for a 3-1 series lead.
GOLF—LEE ELDER sank an 18-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the $150,000 Monsanto Open over England's Peter Oosterhuis. Elder's victory makes him the first black player to become eligible for the Masters.
Jo Ann Prentice birdied the fourth hole of a three-way sudden-death playoff to defeat Jane Blalock by a stroke for the $32,000 first prize in the $200,000 Colgate-Dinah Shore Winners Circle in Palm Springs. Sandra Haynie was third (page 26).
HOCKEY—NHL: The prelims to the Esposito Series between Chicago and Boston provided a small clue as to what to expect in the internecine opener. Goalie Tony had blanked Los Angeles for the second time, 1-0, and the Black Hawks wrapped up the series 4-1 on Jim Pappin's 40-foot slap shot in the third period. Meanwhile, Boston easily had swept Toronto aside in four straight, but Brother Phi! was strangely quiet with only one goal. In the Hawks-Bruins series opener, Phil banged out of his scoring slump with a goal and an assist, but Tony was even better, stopping 46 of 48 shots to give Chicago a 4-2 surprise win in Boston. In Game Two, Phil and the Bruins got even as they walloped Tony 8-6. Elsewhere, New York slowed down the Canadiens with a 3-2 overtime win in Montreal, then put them out of the playoffs, 5-2, in New York (page 74). The victory marked the third straight year that the Rangers had eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion in the first round, but then the New Yorkers fell to Philadelphia 4-0 in their first Stanley Cup semifinal.
WHA: The Chicago Cougars won the biggest game in the club's history—a 3-2 seventh-game playoff clincher against defending champion New England—only to return home as less than conquering heroes. The Chicago International Amphitheatre, where the team played its home games this year, had booked a road show production of Peter Pan, thus making the arena unavailable for the Cougars' unexpected postseason fling. Now the team will host Toronto (4—1 conquerors of Cleveland in the fifth and deciding game of their series) in the Eastern Division finals in the Randhurst Twin Ice Arena at Mount Prospect, Ill. The Toros had no such Tinkerbell problems: they drew their largest Toronto crowd of the season, 8,088, to the opener of the series and rallied to defeat Mount Prospect 6-4. Meanwhile, Houston and Minnesota displayed equal parts of artistry and animosity to split their first two playoff games: the first going to the Fighting Saints 5-4 on Mike Walton's overtime tally; the second to the Aeros 5-2 as Mark Howe contributed his fifth postseason goal and Larry Lund his sixth. In Game Three Minnesota was meaner and won 4-1.
AMATEUR HOCKEY—The SOVIET UNION clinched the World Championship with a 3-1 victory over Sweden in the final game at Helsinki, Finland. Czechoslovakia, upset in its last game by Finland 5-4, gained the silver medal and Sweden won the bronze.
HORSE RACING—FLIP SAL ($20.80) and RUBE THE GREAT ($5) won the divisions of the $231,700 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct (page 78).
LACROSSE—Top-ranked MARYLAND scored five goals in the third quarter and downed No. 6 Navy 12-7 at College Park, the Terps' eighth victory in nine games. Elsewhere, No. 2 JOHNS HOPKINS manhandled Brown 21-7; WASHINGTON AND LEE surprised No. 3 Virginia in Charlottesville 13-11 and HOBART nipped Cortland State 10-9 in overtime.
MOTOR SPORTS—RICHARD PETTY led for all but 24 of 360 laps and won the Gwyn Staley 400 at North Wilkesboro, N.C., finishing nearly a mile ahead of runner-up Cale Yarborough. The victory, at an average 96.20 mph, earned Petty $6,250 and the point lead in the Winston Cup Grand National series.