PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: It was Game 6, and Denver had to win to stay alive. During the first 10 minutes of the second quarter the Nuggets closed Seattle's lead to one point. It was the closest they'd come all evening. After that, the Nuggets got within six points twice early in the third period, but Seattle, led by Fred Brown's 26 points, defeated Denver 123-108 to move into the NBA finals for the first time in its 11-year history. In Game 1 of the finals, the Sonics and Washington met at the Seattle Center Coliseum—where the Sonics have won their last 20 games, including eight in the playoffs. Led again by Brown, who scored a game-high 30 points, Seattle rallied from a 19-point third-period deficit to defeat the Bullets 106-102.
BOXING—JOSE (PEPINO) CUEVAS, 20, retained his WBA welterweight title with a first-round knockout of Billy Backus, 35, in Inglewood, Calif.
Olympic heavyweight champion TEOFILO STEVENSON of Cuba defeated Dragomir Vujkovic of Yugoslavia to retain his title at the second world amateur championships in Belgrade. Cuba also won four other gold medals, the Soviet Union three, and the U.S. wound up with three bronze medals.
GOLF—JIM SIMONS rolled in a 20-foot putt to save par on the final hole and beat Bill Kratzert by one stroke in the $250,000 Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. Simons finished with a four-under-par 284 (page 96).
Winning her fourth tournament of the year, rookie NANCY LOPEZ parred the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to defeat JoAnne Carner in the $100,000 LPGA Classic in Jamesburg, N.J. Lopez had a three-under-par 210.
HOCKEY—NHL: Guy Lafleur beat Boston Goalie Gerry Cheevers with a 35-foot shot at 13:09 of overtime as Montreal defeated the Bruins 3-2 to take a two-games-to-none lead in their Stanley Cup final-round playoff. Boston ended a 12-game winless streak against the defending Stanley Cup champions when the Bruins shut out Montreal 4-0 in Game 3—the Canadiens' first playoff shutout since May 13, 1971. On Sunday, Boston defeated the Canadiens 4-3 in overtime to tie the series at 2-2 (page 16).
WHA: In 1976 Winnipeg came off an 18-day layoff to sweep the Houston Aeros and win the Avco Trophy. This year the Jets had a 19-day wait before meeting New England in the finals. Trying for a repeat performance, the Jets led the series 3-0, and to make matters worse for the Whalers, Winnipeg had not lost to New England in their last 11 meetings. Led by a power-play goal by Willy Lindstrom at 4:56, the Jets went on to score four times in the next two minutes and 50 seconds as Winnipeg grabbed Game 3, 10-2. Each Winnipeg player, except the goaltenders and defensemen Ted Green and Lars-Erik Sjoberg, contributed at least one point.
HORSE RACING—AFFIRMED ($3), Steve Cauthen up, beat Alydar by a neck to win the $188,700 Preakness at Pimlico. Patrice and Louis Wolfson's colt ran the 1[3/16] miles in 1:54[2/5] (page 20).
Batonnier ($5.40), ridden by 16-year-old apprentice Ron Hirdes, beat Raymond Earl by three lengths in the $104,700 Illinois Derby in Chicago. The 3-year-old colt covered the 1? miles in 1:51[3/5] for his third straight impressive victory.
MOTOR SPORTS—Leading from start to finish, MARIO ANDRETTI, driving a Lotus-Ford, won the Belgian Grand Prix 9.9 seconds ahead of teammate Ronnie Peterson. Peterson, in a Lotus-Ford, set a one-lap record of 1:23.13. Andretti, who won his eighth Grand Prix, was timed in 1:39:52.02 for an average speed of 111.506 mph on the 2.648-mile Zolder circuit.