BASKETBALL—NBA: The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics won their quarterfinal-round playoff series in the East and now square off for the conference championship (page 34). Washington edged the Cavaliers 102-98 in overtime to force a seventh game in Cleveland, where the Cavs took the series 87-85 on Dick Snyder's basket with four seconds to play before a league record crowd of 21,564. John Havlicek's return inspired the Celtics after Buffalo had tied the series at two games apiece, thanks largely to the play of forgotten guard Ernie DiGregorio. Paul Silas (22 rebounds) and Dave Cowens (16) bossed both boards as Boston won the fifth game 99-88. Guards Charlie Scott and Jo Jo White combined for 54 points in Boston's 104-100 wrap-up win in Buffalo. Out west, Golden State eliminated Detroit four games to two, winning the fifth game 128-109 and the sixth 118-116 in overtime, while Phoenix ousted Seattle by the same margin, taking the concluding game 123-112. The Warriors pummeled the Suns 128-103 in the opener of their best-of-seven series as Rick Barry connected for 38 points.
ABA: Cheered by a league-record crowd of 18,821, Denver advanced to the finals against New York by trouncing Kentucky 133-110 in their seventh game as David Thompson had 40 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals. In the opening game of the championship series, Dr. J stunned Thompson and the crowd of 19,034, a new record, in Denver when he hit a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Nets a 120-118 victory. Erving had 45 points (18 in the fourth quarter) and 12 rebounds, while Thompson had 30 points and nine rebounds. Off the court, Commissioner Dave DeBusschere presented a "definitive" plan for merging six ABA teams into the NBA. Reportedly, the ABA clubs would pay the NBA some $18 million over 10 years and not share in network television revenues for three seasons. The New York Nets also would indemnify the New York Knicks for invasion of territory.
BOXING—MUHAMMAD ALI retained his world heavyweight championship on a controversial 15-round decision over Jimmy Young in Landover, Md. (page 30).
DIVING—An international meet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. may well have been a preview of the Olympics, when USAF Lieut. PHIL BOGGS won the three-meter title and Olympic gold medalist KLAUS DIBIASI took the 10-meter. IRINA KALININA of the Soviet Union deposed Jenni Chandler to win the women's three-meter and came in second in the 10-meter which was won by Olympic gold medalist ULRIKA KNAPE of Sweden.
GOLF—LEE ELDER won his second PGA tournament—and requalified for the Masters—firing a 10-under-par 278 to beat Forrest Fezler by one stroke in the $200,000 Houston Open (page 32).
Joanne Carner won the $50,000 Lady Tara Classic in Atlanta with a 10-under-par 209.
HOCKEY—NHL: The Montreal Canadiens won three straight games by one goal to take a 3-0 series lead over the New York Islanders in their best-of-seven Stanley Cup semifinal. Larry Robinson and Yvan Cournoyer scored 86 seconds apart late in the third period to rally the Canadiens to a 3-2 win in the opening game at the Forum; then the Canadiens twice squandered comfortable leads but held on to take the second game 4-3. Back home, the Islanders charged to an early 2-0 lead but the Canadiens closed with three third-period goals for a 3-2 victory. Boston and Philadelphia split the opening games of their semifinal at the Spectrum. The Bruins ended the Flyers' record 24-game home-ice unbeaten streak with a 4-2 opening-game victory, thanks to Dallas Smith's goal early in the final period and some tight goal-tending by Gilles Gilbert. With Wayne Stephenson replacing a shaky Bernie Parent in goal, Philadelphia evened the series with a 2-1 win, ex-Bruin Reggie Leach beating Goaltender Gerry Cheevers from the side of the net at 13:38 of sudden-victory overtime. "That may have been the best game I've ever seen played by two goaltenders," said Philadelphia Coach Fred Shero, praising Stephenson and Cheevers. Stephenson stoned the Bruins again Sunday night in Boston as the Flyers took the series lead with a 5-2 victory.
WHA: The Winnipeg Jets won the Canadian final four games to one with a 4-0 victory over Calgary as Anders Hedberg scored 2 goals. The Jets will play the winner of the U.S. final between Houston and New England for the Avco World Trophy. In the U.S. semifinals, Indianapolis squared its series with New England at three games apiece with a 5-3 victory in Hartford, but New England Goaltender Cap Raeder shut out the Racers 6-0 in the series finale before 16,040 in Indianapolis. Houston Coach Bill Dineen abruptly changed goaltenders, replacing All-Star Ron Grahame with backup Wayne Rutledge after San Diego had closed its series gap to three games to two with back-to-back victories. Rutledge responded with a standout performance as the Aeros eliminated the Mariners with a 3-2 victory in the sixth game at San Diego. The Mariners, who played without pay the last two months, received a long ovation from their sympathetic fans at the end.
HORSE RACING—BOLD FORBES ($8.00), Angel Cordero up, led throughout to win the 102nd running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The dark bay colt ran the 1� miles in 2:01[3/5], beating favored Honest Pleasure by a length (page 26).
MOTOR SPORTS—BUDDY BAKER drove a Ford to an alltime NASCAR 500-mile speed record of 169.887 mph as he won the Winston 500 at Talladega, Ala. The caution flags were out for only 14 of the 188 laps on the 2.66-mile track.