BASKETBALL—NBA: The Boston Celtics climaxed a week that saw the Bulls turn into lambs and the Knicks to stone by running the Milwaukee Bucks right out of their home-court advantage, 98-83, in the opener of the title series. John Havlicek, with 26 points, again was the hero of Celtic hustle, just as he had been in Boston's fifth-game clincher (105-94) against New York. In that one Hondo's 33 points, including a key back-door basket in the waning seconds, buried the cold-shooting Knicks and gave the Celtics their first Eastern Conference final in five years. Meanwhile the Bucks had humiliated Chicago 115-99 to conclude their Western Conference match-up in four straight games. Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was so devastating with 38 points and 24 rebounds that Bull Coach Dick Motta remarked, "I'd like for us to play against Kareem alone. I think we'd beat him, but I'm not sure." Kareem seemed alone in Game One with the Celtics, and though he scored 35 points, he was far from enough.
ABA: Utah overpowered Indiana 109-87 in the seventh and deciding game of their series (page 60).
BOWLING—Tucson's PAUL COLWELL, 24, averaged a record 234 in the finals to win the 24th ABC Masters tournament at Indianapolis, posting a 7-0 match-play mark and beating Steve Neff of Sarasota, Fla. 967-905 in the final four-game series.
GOLF—JOHNNY MILLER recorded his fifth win of the year in the $200,000 Tournament of Champions at Rancho La Costa, Calif. with a final-round 69 for a 72-hole total of 280, edging Buddy Allin and John Mahaffey by one stroke (page 26).
HARNESS RACING—The Directors of the Hambletonian Society sent the Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's most prestigious event, back to the Du Quoin (Ill.) State Fair, a decision brought on by the failure of Liberty Bell Park in Philadelphia to sign a contract to hold the race for three years.
HOCKEY—WHA: Houston Defenseman John Schella literally drew first blood in the series with Minnesota when the blade of his stick caught the Saints' Mike Walton across the nose in the first period of Game Three. Walton retaliated with a stick-swinging attack of his own and was banished for the remainder of the night. Incensed by the injustice of it all and with a league-record, standing-room crowd of 16,412 urging them on, the Saints went on to whip Houston 4-1. Game Four, witnessed by an even larger crowd, saw the Aeros come back for a 4-1 victory and deadlock the series at 2-2, which was about where the league investigation of the Walton-Schella incident stood—at a standoff. In the Eastern finals Chicago evened its playoff score with Toronto at one game apiece when rookie Frankie Rochon gave the Cougars a 4-3 victory with his first playoff goal. Then Chicago gained the upper hand, beating the Toros 3-2 behind Rosaire Paiement's two goals.
NHL: The semifinal pendulum continued to swing capriciously between Chicago and Boston. In Game Three, Jim Pappin's goal at 3:48 of overtime capped the three-goal Black Hawk rally for a 4-3 victory. Then the Bruins deadlocked the series at two games each with a 5-2 win as the "big line" of Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Wayne Cashman erupted for three goals. At week's end Boston enjoyed a 3-2 edge by virtue of a 6-2 decision in Game Five. In the other semifinal New York and the Philadelphia Flyers battered and bad-mouthed each other into a 2-2 series tie (page 28).
HORSE RACING—Horses trained by Woody Stephens captured the week's two big tests for the Kentucky Derby. JUDGER ($5.60), ridden by Laffit Pincay, blazed by Big Latch in the stretch to win the $65,550 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland by four lengths, and CANNONADE ($5.60), Angel Cordero up, finished two lengths ahead of J.R.'s Pet in the Stepping Stone Purse at Churchill Downs (page 24).
MOTOR SPORTS—Austria's NIKI LAUDA, driving a Ferrari, finished 36 seconds ahead of teammate Clay Regazzoni of Switzerland to win the rain-shortened Spanish Grand Prix in Madrid. Lauda, who covered the 88 laps in 2:29.57, thus closed to within one point of Regazzoni in the Formula I world-championship standings.
RUGBY—GEORGIA won the first annual Southeastern Conference championship with a 28-6 victory over Vanderbilt in the finals before 10,000 fans at Nashville, concluding a 12-0 season.