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PRO BASKETBALL—The Doctor had spoken. "They [the Nets] aren't going to win in Philadelphia," he said before his 76ers' fifth and final playoff game against New Jersey. "You can mail in the stats." Ooops. When the stats were delivered, they showed that the Amazin' Nets were 101-98 victors; that the Doc—tired and suffering from Converse-in-mouth disease—had only 12 points and a game-high seven turnovers; and that New Jersey's Otis Birdsong and Micheal Ray Richardson each had 24 points, six assists and six steals. Thus, Philadelphia became the 16th successive NBA championship team to fail to successfully defend its title. "I think I'm dreaming, and I hope nobody wakes me up," said Nets forward Buck Williams. No one did. Milwaukee, a 118-89 winner over Atlanta in their fifth playoff game, let the Nets' dream continue by losing to New Jersey 106-100 in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. Boston, winner in four over Washington, faced weary New York in the opener of the conference's other semi and whipped the Knicks 110-92, but given the intensity of the New Yorkers' first-round duel with Detroit (page 26), that was understandable. In the Western Conference semis, Los Angeles destroyed (134-91) Dallas, which had needed two OTs in the fifth game to eliminate first-round opponent Seattle 105-104, while Utah beat Portland 105-95. The Jazz and Blazers had defeated Denver and Phoenix, respectively, in five games in the opening round. That brought to six—out of a possible eight—the number of opening series that went the distance.
PRO FOOTBALL—USFL: Tampa Bay had a two-win week, first beating Michigan 20-7 on Monday and then wasting Washington 37-19 on Saturday. The Bandits' John Reaves threw for 423 yards and five TDs in the victories. Tampa Bay is now tied with New Orleans—a 35-0 loser to Atlantic Division pacesetter Philadelphia—for second in the Southern Division. One of the Stars who helped break the Breakers was running back Kelvin Bryant, who, after having missed three games while recuperating from knee surgery, carried the ball 16 times for 97 yards. When Southern Division-leading Birmingham met Pacific Division front-runner Denver, Stallion Joe Cribbs ran for 110 yards, thus becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher this season, as Birmingham won 31-14. Other than when Pittsburgh scored a third-period TD, the Maulers never got inside the Memphis 35, so the Showboats won that showdown 17-7. Jacksonville jolted Oklahoma 34-6; San Antonio edged Arizona 24-23; Oakland had its first victory of the season, 17-13 over Chicago; and New Jersey beat slumping Michigan 31-21. Central Division-leading Houston and Los Angeles did not play.
GOLF—COREY PAVIN shot a 10-under-par 274 to beat Buddy Gardner by one stroke and win the $500,000 Houston Open.
HOCKEY—Edmonton took a three-games-to-none lead over Minnesota in the Campbell Conference title series, but with the exception of a 7-1 romp in Game 1, it wasn't easy. Wayne Gretzky, who momentarily had Oiler fans on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown when he had to be helped off the ice after getting smacked into the boards at the end of the opener, did some controversial smacking of his own in Game 2. The score was tied 3-3 with 14 minutes remaining when the Great One nudged in his own rebound past Minnesota goalie Don Beaupre. Or did he? "He [referee Bruce Hood] obviously didn't think it was a goal because he blew the whistle to stop play and he didn't signal a goal right away," said North Star general manager Lou Nanne. "We feel we were cheated," echoed Minnesota forward Steve Payne. And so the North Stars played with a vengeance in Game 3, setting a playoff record with five power-play scores in the second period and taking a 5-3 lead into the third. Then the bubble burst as Oilers Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Ken Linseman and Mark Messier had goals to give Edmonton an 8-5 win. Montreal, meanwhile, took a 2-1 lead over New York in the battle for the Wales Conference crown (page 88).
Taylor's Special ($5.60), Pat Day up, beat Silent King by 3� lengths to win the $181,050 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. The 3-year-old colt covered the 1? miles in a slow 1:52[1/5].
MOTOR SPORTS—MICHELE ALBORETO, in a Ferrari, averaged 115.22 mph around the 2.64-mile Zolder circuit to beat Derek Warwick, in a Renault, by 42.38 seconds at the Belgian Grand Prix. Alboreto finished the 70-lap race in 1:36:32.048.