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PRO BASKETBALL—The postseason math is simple in the NBA's Eastern Division. There's no way three teams—Atlanta (41-38), New York (40-38) and Washington (40-38)—can fit into the final two of the six conference playoff spots. The question is: Which is the odd team out? The Bullets have been lethal of late, winning 11 of their last 13. After blasting Atlanta 100-78 Saturday night to draw within a half-game of the Hawks, Washington Coach Gene Shue said, "Right now, we're playing as well as anyone, but we have to win the rest of our games." A tall order, considering Washington's remaining schedule: Three of its final four are on the road, including away games with division champions Philadelphia (Atlantic) and Milwaukee (Central). Atlanta's no sure thing, either. The Hawks have Philly and Milwaukee at home and Kansas City on the road. And the Kings (42-36) are in a fight of their own; they're tied for the final Western playoff spot with Denver. Only New York, despite losing to the 76ers 113-92 Sunday, got some help from the schedule maker. The Knicks mix also-rans Indiana and Chicago with rugged New Jersey and Detroit.
BOWLING—TOM MILTON beat Earl Anthony 235-227 to win the $110,000 Greater Hartford Open.
BOXING—KATSUO TOKASHIKI fought a 15-round draw with Lupe Madera to retain his WBA junior flyweight championship in Tokyo.
PRO FOOTBALL—USFL: Tampa Bay tarnished the Denver Gold 22-16 as Quarterback John Reaves (page 48) completed 38 of 63 passes for 357 yards. The 5-1 Bandits stayed one step ahead of Chicago (4-2) in the Central Division after the Blitz beat Birmingham 22-11. Herschel Walker (26 carries, 133 yards) rated a B-plus on his weekly report card, but his New Jersey Generals (1-5) failed again, falling 21-6 in the rain to Michigan. Oakland invaded Boston and broke the Breakers' four-game win streak 26-7 as Running Back Ted Torosian had two TDs. Los Angeles, 3-3, stayed tied atop the Pacific Division race with Denver despite losing to Atlantic Division-leading Philly 17-3.
HOCKEY—Late in the NHL regular season, Philadelphia Flyer Coach Bob McCammon had criticized the Rangers' forwards, labeling them Smurfs after the tiny cartoon characters. But after New York stunned the Flyers three straight in a best-of-five opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight year, McCammon changed his tune. "They're great little hockey players," he said about the Ranger line of Rob McClanahan, Mark Pavelich and Anders Hedberg, which averages just 5'9�" and 175 pounds. The three had 21 points in three games. The SRO Madison Square Garden crowd of 17,381 also had something to say during the series clincher. As New York cruised to a 9-3 win, they chanted "Eddie, Eddie" in recognition not only of each of Goaltender Eddie Mio's 27 saves, but also of his six straight playoff wins over the Flyers. They also voiced displeasure over McCammon's comments, singing, "Good night, Flyers, we hate to see you go," as fans in the cheap seats inflated a giant Smurf doll. Two other opening-round pairings ended in three games: Buffalo smothered Montreal (page 76) and Edmonton waxed Winnipeg. Before the series, Jets Right Wing Paul MacLean said, "The only place Wayne Gretzky hasn't really proven himself is in the playoffs." MacLean was munching on those words after The Great One scored four goals in Edmonton's 6-3 opening-night win, two on short-handed breakaways. In the other first-round action, the New York Islanders advanced, three games to one, with a 6-3 victory on the road against the Washington Caps. Four other clubs were eliminated in four games as, Sunday night, Minnesota knocked out Toronto 5-4, Boston bounced Quebec 2-1, Calgary charged past Vancouver 4-3, and Chicago dumped St. Louis 5-3.
HORSE RACING—MARFA ($9.20), Jorge Velasquez up, defeated My Habitony by three lengths to win the $310,500 Santa Anita Derby. The 3-year-old colt covered the 1? miles in 1:49[2/5], as 4-5 favorite and leading Kentucky Derby contender Desert Wine finished sixth.
MOTOR SPORTS—HARRY GANT, in a Buick Regal, beat Darrell Waltrip, in a Chevy, by less than a second in a 500-mile NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C. Gant averaged 130.406 around the 1.366-mile Darlington International Raceway oval.