PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: After winning the first two games of its playoff series against Houston, Boston's fast-break express was derailed at Hofheinz Pavilion, the Rockets exploding for a 117-102 victory. Rudy Tomjanovich scored 28 points as Houston outrebounded Boston 47-41. Seattle knotted its series against Golden State 2-2 with a 111-94 fourth-game win. The Sonics' Fred Brown pumped in 37 points while Golden State golden boy Rick Barry was held to 11. Rookie Tom Burleson of Seattle matched his career high of 29 points in the same contest. Chicago and Kansas City-Omaha continued their tug-of-war, the Bulls holding a 3-2 edge at week's end. Washington held a 3-2 lead over Buffalo in another hard-fought series. Braves Center Bob McAdoo was awesome in the fourth game, scoring 50 points and grabbing 21 rebounds to pace a 108-102 Buffalo victory (page 14).
ABA: The lightly regarded Spirits of St. Louis dethroned the defending champion New York Nets convincingly, capturing the best-of-seven opening-round playoff series 4 games to 1 (page 62). St. Louis won the fifth and final game 108-107 on the Nets' court when Guard Freddie Lewis hit a 20-foot jumper with three seconds left. All told, Lewis scored 29 points, including his team's last 10. The Nets' Julius Erving kept the contest close by scoring a game-high 34. St. Louis now faces Kentucky, the other Eastern Division finalist. In the Western, Denver, whose Larry Brown was named ABA Coach of the Year, defeated Utah 4 games to 2 by edging the Stars 115-113 in Salt Lake City. The Nuggets next play Indiana, which, led by George McGinnis and rookie Forward Billy Knight, beat San Antonio 4 games to 2. In a losing cause at home before an ABA record crowd (17,389), McGinnis and Knight racked up 75 points, but George Gervin and James Silas of the Spurs combined for 81 to give San Antonio a 123-117 victory. The Pacers came back to win the series, defeating the Spurs 115-100 as Knight and McGinnis scored 33 and 32 respectively.
BOWLING—DAVE DAVIS of Atlanta won $25,000 by defeating Barry Asher 201-195 in the finals of the $125,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron. It was the 14th PBA title of Davis' career and his second in three weeks.
HOCKEY—NHL: The Philadelphia Flyers swept past the Toronto Maple Leafs in four games. In the shortlived series Flyer Goalie Bernie Parent recorded shutouts in Games Two and Three. Maple Leaf Ron Ellis sent the fourth game, played before 16,485 in Toronto, into overtime with a third-period goal. Then, with 1:45 gone in sudden death, Andre Dupont took the first shot on goal and scored to win the series for Philadelphia. Montreal led Vancouver 3-1, as Canadien Ken Dryden stopped 37 Canuck shots in a 4-0 fourth-game shutout. Buffalo held a 3-1 edge over Chicago. Pittsburgh also led the New York Islanders 3-1 (page 20).
WHA: Defending champion Houston skated past the Cleveland Crusaders in five games to capture the best-of-seven series. Twenty-one seconds into the final game, the Aeros' 47-year-old Gordie Howe rammed in his only goal of the series from short range and Houston went on to win 3-1. Quebec also won its series with Phoenix in five games. The Nordiques' lone loss came in the fourth game when Michel Cormier scored in overtime for a 6-5 Phoenix win. Minnesota defeated New England four games to two. In the fifth game Goalie John Garrett of the Fighting Saints turned away five Whaler power plays to shut out New England 4-0. At the end of five games San Diego was leading Toronto 3-2.
GOLF—SANDRA PALMER shot a 283 to beat Kathy McMullen by one stroke in the $200,000 Colgate-Dinah Shore Winners Circle LPGA Championship tournament in Palm Springs (page 69).
Arnold Palmer ended a two-year winless drought by shooting an eagle-3 on the final hole of the $67,000 Spanish Open at La Manga. Palmer, who beat John Fourie of South Africa by one stroke, scored a 5-under-par 283 and earned $9,000.
Jerry McGee claimed his first PGA title in winning the $125,000 Pensacola (Fla.) Open with a final-round 70 and 13-under-par 271 total, two strokes better than Wally Armstrong. McGee took home $25,000 for his triumph.
HORSE RACING—FOOLISH PLEASURE ($3), Jacinto Vasquez riding, overcame a poor post position to catch Bombay Duck at the wire and win Aqueduct's 1‚⅛-mile $121,400 Wood Memorial. The favorite's time was a stakes record-tying 1:48[4/5].
Laffit Pincay Jr. rode another Kentucky Derby contender, DIABOLO ($5.60), to a 4½-length victory in the 1‚⅛-mile $100,000 California Derby in a track-record 1:46[3/5] at Golden Gate Fields.
SOCCER—The NASL opened its eighth season with four games and an average attendance of 10,000. Los Angeles began the defense of its title by defeating the Earthquakes 2-1 in overtime before 18,347 in San Jose. (The league has instituted a 15-minute overtime period in an attempt to settle ties.) In San Antonio the expansion Thunder slipped past Dallas 2-1 in overtime as James Doherty scored the winning goal with two minutes left. The Miami Toros knocked off St. Louis 1-0, while Vancouver edged the Chicago Sting 1-0.
TENNIS—CHRIS EVERT dropped the first set to Billie Jean King 4-6, then came back to register a 6-3, 7-6 victory and win $50,000, the largest winner's purse in women's tennis, in the L'eggs World Series tournament in Austin, Texas.
Before Evert registered her triumph, boyfriend JIMMY CONNORS scored a 6-3, 6-4 win over Brian Gottfried in a WCT tournament in Denver (page 58). Connors won $12,000 in the tune-up for his $250,000 challenge match with archrival John Newcombe.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: DAVE BLISS, 31, as head basketball coach at Oklahoma, replacing Joe Ramsey, who resigned four weeks ago. A 1965 graduate of Cornell, Bliss was an assistant to Bobby Knight at West Point (1968-70) and Indiana (1972-75).
NAMED: LEE CALHOUN, 42, 120-yard high hurdles gold medalist in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, as head track and field coach at Yale. Calhoun, an Eli assistant for the past five years, succeeds Bob Giegengack, who is retiring July 1.
NAMED: EDDIE DONOVAN, as general manager of the New York Knicks, a position he held in 1965-70 before taking the same job with the Buffalo Braves. Donovan will replace Red Holzman, who remains as head coach.
NAMED: GARY WALTERS, 29, an assistant coach at Princeton, as head basketball coach at Dartmouth, succeeding resigned Coach Marcus Jackson. Walters started on the 1964-65 Princeton team captained by Bill Bradley, which finished third in the NCAAs.
RETIRED: JUAN MARICHAL, 36, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants (1960-73) and Boston Red Sox (1974); after a weak showing with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. A nine-time All-Star, Marichal's lifetime record is 243-142 with an ERA of 2.89.
SIGNED: MARGARET COURT, 32, to a one-year contract with the Hawaii Leis of World Team Tennis. The rights to Court were obtained by the club in a trade with the San Francisco Golden Gaters, who received the rights to sign Chris Evert, who has not indicated whether she will sign with the league.
SUBMITTED: By the All-China Sports Federation of the People's Republic of China, an application for recognition from the International Olympic Committee. The application will be put to a vote at next month's IOC Session in Lausanne, Switzerland; approval would enable the country to compete in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and Innsbruck.