PRO BASKETBALL—Call it a Knickerbocker bench press, because that's what New York used to jerk an NBA Eastern Conference playoff berth away from Washington. Dead even with the Bullets at the start of the week, the Knicks relied on their second unit in wins over New Jersey (108-100) and Detroit (100-83). After the Nets had opened a 12-point lead in the first quarter, New York Coach Hubie Brown sent in his reinforcements, who outscored the Nets' subs 41-7. Two nights later against the Pistons, the Knicks' reserves prevailed again, 47-22. Meanwhile, the Bullets beat Atlantic titlist Philadelphia 95-76 as the league's top rebounder, Moses Malone, never left the Sixers' bench. But the Bullets' shot in the dark ricocheted away for good in a 97-90 loss to Central Division winner Milwaukee. Denver won the Western Conference's final playoff berth by defeating Kansas City 125-116 on the last day of the regular season. Alex English, whose 28.4 scoring average led the NBA, popped in 31 in the win. Midwest Division champ San Antonio made some Pacific overtures, sweeping past the winner of that division, Los Angeles, twice in three hours. The first win (117-114) was the finish of a Nov. 30 suspended game that had been protested. The second (114-109) was won on Banks's shots, as the Spurs' Gene Banks deposited 19 of 22 shots and withdrew with a career-high 44 points. By losing 132-124 in overtime to Cleveland, Indiana made the finals of the Ralph Sampson Derby (page 28).
BOWLING—ART TRASK rolled nine straight strikes and beat Earl Anthony 275-202 to win the $120,000 Fair Lanes Open in Baltimore.
Dana Miller scored a 247-200 victory over Aleta Rzepecki to win the $50,000 U.S. Women's Open in Chesterfield, Mo.
DIVING—At the U.S. indoor championships in Indianapolis, GREG LOUGANIS won the one- and three-meter springboard events and BRUCE KIMBALL was the 10-meter platform titlist. Among the women, MEGAN NEYER won her third straight three-meter crown and her second consecutive one-meter championship. WENDY WYLAND won the platform title for the second year in a row.
PRO FOOTBALL—USFL: Two weeks ago New Jersey Wide Receiver Mike Friede suffered such a bad concussion in the Generals' 21-6 loss to Michigan that he couldn't recall his team's horrendous second half. Last week New Jersey played Washington, and it was Federals Kicker Ken Olson who could have used an excuse to forget. With eight seconds remaining, Olson shanked a 33-yarder and Washington lost the game to boot, 23-22. Herschel Walker had two touchdowns and picked up 142 yards on 28 carries to tie Kelvin Bryant of Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia (page 26) for the league rushing lead. Brian Speelman of Pacific Division front-runner Denver missed a 52-yard field goal in the closing seconds with the Gold trailing 7-6. But he was roughed on the play, and the refs awarded him another try. His second attempt, from 50 yards, cleared the uprights and Denver won 9-7. Arizona Quarterback Alan Risher said it with (Jackie) Flowers. He hit his favorite receiver with a 98-yard TD pass that capped a 22-21 come-from-behind victory over Washington. Michigan upended Chicago, 17-12, and Boston beat Arizona, 44-23.
GOLF—FUZZY ZOELLER shot a nine-under-par 275 to win the $350,000 Sea Pines Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, S.C. He finished two strokes ahead of Jim Nelford.
Lynn Adams won the $150,000 Orlando Classic with an eight-under-par 208. She edged JoAnne Carner and Janet Anderson by two strokes.
HOCKEY—No one on Edmonton was tidier than Left Wing Mark Messier. His four opening-game goals against Calgary led to a clean sweep of the Oilers' first three games in the best-of-seven series with the Flames. Wayne Gretzky had four goals and three assists in Game 3 to set a Stanley Cup single-game point record. There are Messiers, and then there are Tessiers. Orval Tessier, coach of Chicago, watched his Black Hawks play What's My Line? with Minnesota and take a two-games-to-one lead over the North Stars. Chicago has relied on the high-scoring lines centered by Denis Savard and Darryl Sutter all season; when they couldn't find the net in the first game against the North Stars, a third line took up the slack. Curt Fraser, the left wing of that trio, broke a 2-2 tie on a deflected goal and Chicago won the opener 5-2. Unfortunately, Tessier never got to see the goal. "I'm only a short, fat fellow, and I just saw the red light go on," he said. Boston's Pete Peeters, the league's top goalie during the regular season, peetered out in a 7-4 loss to Buffalo. He was far better in the next game, as the Bruins won 5-3. The Sabres then took a 2-1 lead in the series with a 4-3 victory as Mike Ramsey fired a 40-footer past Peeters for the winning goal. The Islanders ripped the Rangers 4-1 and 5-0 in the New Yorkers' opening two games, but the Rangers hung on to win the third game 7-6.
HORSE RACING—SUNNY'S HALO ($7.80), Eddie Delahoussaye up, beat Caveat by four lengths to win the $293,900 Arkansas Derby. The 3-year-old colt covered the 1? miles at Oaklawn Park in 1:49[2/5].
MARATHON—JOAN BENOIT shattered the women's world best by 2.47 with a time of 2:22.42 in the 87th Boston Marathon. GREG MEYER beat Ron Tabb by 32 seconds to win the race in 2:09.00.