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PRO BASKETBALL—The Atlantic Division has not been known for its egalitarianism, but last week fourth-place New York lost to first-place Philadelphia, which lost to second-place Boston, which lost to New York. The Knicks were virtually unnicked in February, but their 10-2 record included only one victory against a team with a winning record, Midwest Division-leading San Antonio. However, the 76ers were 11-1 on the month. "You know you're going to be outquicked out there," said New York Coach Hubie Brown of the fast-breaking Sixers. He forgot outtalled and outbucketed. Philadelphia didn't—and beat the Knicks 106-94. Meanwhile, the Celtics are an imposing 43-16, but remain seven games back in the standings. As one wag put it, the only way they're going to catch 50-9 Philly is if Moses Malone and Julius Erving defect to the USFL. They haven't, but Erving did foul out with 55 seconds left in Boston's 115-110 win. Two late Larry Bird free throws and a Gerald Henderson layup ended the Sixers' latest win streak at 10. Thus sated, the Celts were devoured 105-98 one night later by playoff-hungry New York. On Sunday, the Sixers lost to New Jersey 112-106 and failed in their bid to become the first team in league history to go through an entire season without losing two games in a row. "You get to the point where you expect to win," observed Los Angeles General Manager Jerry West, who played on the record-setting 69-13 Lakers in 1971-72. "You feel invincible. When you finally lose, it's traumatic." The Lakers have experienced their share of trauma recently, but still lead the Pacific Division by a comfortable seven games. Blowing a 19-point lead in a 96-93 loss to Washington had a particularly sobering effect, especially since Bullet Guard Ricky Sobers flicked in the game-winner with nine seconds to go. Two nights earlier, Magic Johnson passed the ball and Los Angeles passed Central Division leader Milwaukee. He had 15 assists in a 127-117 Laker victory. Golden State's Joe Barry Carroll had 52 points against Utah, the most by a Warrior since Rick Barry's 55 in 1978.
BOWLING—NORM DUKE beat four opponents in a step-ladder final to win the $110,000 Cleveland Open and become, at 18, the youngest PBA tour champion ever.
BOXING—SANTOS LACIAR retained his WBA flyweight title with a ninth-round knockout of Ramon Nery in Cordoba, Argentina.
PRO FOOTBALL—USFL: If the league ever celebrates its centennial, perhaps historians will look back to its maiden game—Tampa Bay's 21-17 victory over Boston. The first coin toss (it was tails) was won by the Bandits. The first offensive play was a flair pass to Ricky Williams of Tampa Bay that gained eight yards. The Breakers' kicker, Tim Mazzetti, was the first to score, on a 30-yard field goal. And the first game-winning touchdown was made by Tampa Bay's Willie Gillespie, on a 33-yard pass from John Reaves. George Allen's Chicago Blitz sacked Washington 28-7 to make his return to the nation's capital a triumphal one. But the debut of Herschel Walker and his New Jersey Generals may not be remembered at all (page 18). In General, he played pretty well: 65 yards on 16 carries and one TD. Specifically, New Jersey lost to Los Angeles 20-15. In other games, Philadelphia edged Denver 13-7 and Oakland routed Arizona 24-0.
HOCKEY—Though four Smythe Division teams, Calgary, Winnipeg, Los Angeles and Vancouver, were still vying for three remaining playoff spots, the real NHL race was taking place in the Patrick Division. For the first time ever, all three New York area franchises had home games the same night, and Queens lawyer Julian Kaplan and his pals planned to see a period of each one. They began on the Devils' turf in East Rutherford, N.J., and witnessed visiting Philadelphia, the Patrick leader, score the opening goal of an eventual 4-1 Flyers win. At the end of the period they raced to the parking lot for the four-mile trip to Madison Square Garden to see Washington slap in two second-period goals in a 4-3 victory over the Rangers. Only a 25-mile jaunt to the Nassau Coliseum remained. They arrived eight minutes early for the third period of the Islanders' 5-1 rout of Toronto, but too late to see New York's four-goal second period. They had to settle for a hat trick of their own. Boston (Adams), Chicago (Norris) and Edmonton (Smythe) remained atop their respective divisions by amassing a combined 8-3 record.
HORSE RACING—Frank Olivares rode CROESO ($172), an 85-1 shot, to a 1�-length victory over favorite Copelan in the $250,000 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old gelding covered the 1? miles in 1:49[4/5] (page 68).
Bates Motel ($9.60), Terry Lipham up, won the $542,350 Santa Anita Handicap by 2� lengths over It's The One. The 4-year-old colt ran the 1� miles in 1:59[3/5].
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: Julie Veee's two goals brought glee to San Diego as the Sockers beat Buffalo 10-6 to take sole possession of first in the West. Baltimore continued to lead the East with the league's best record (24-9).