BASKETBALL—NBA: BALTIMORE (23-7) won its three games and knocked Boston from first in the East. Ed Manning's four straight jumpers in the fourth quarter were key baskets as the Bullets beat the Celtics 110-101. PHILADELPHIA (19-7) lost only one of four and rose to second, Bill Cunningham totaling 14 points in the final period of a win over Milwaukee. BOSTON (20-9) fell to third, losing three but beating Detroit on Jim Barnes' three-point play with 70 seconds left. CINCINNATI (19-9) won five in a row but barely defeated Phoenix 130-123 as Tom Van Arsdale tied it at the buzzer and Oscar Robertson scored seven of the 18 overtime points. Bill Bradley of NEW YORK (16-16) hit eight straight baskets against San Diego in the fourth quarter for the Knicks' third win in four games, and the New Yorkers reached .500. DETROIT (10-18) lost its three games. Guy Rodgers of MILWAUKEE (8-23) beat San Diego 101-96 with three field goals and five free throws in the final two minutes. The Bucks won another but lost three and remained in the Eastern cellar. LOS ANGELES (20-10) held a 4½ game Western lead by taking two of three. Against San Diego, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West scored 63 points in a 132-118 victory. Walt Hazzard of ATLANTA (16-15) hit a jumper with two seconds left to beat Seattle 93-91, and the Hawks won three others. SAN DIEGO (14-17) lost four of five and fell to third. SAN FRANCISCO (13-18) dropped three but beat Boston 108-98 while hitting 36 free throws to only 18 for the Celtics. SEATTLE (13-20) lost both its games. CHICAGO (12-19) split a pair, beating Detroit 100-83 on hot third-quarter shooting by Jim Washington and Clem Haskins. Gail Goodrich of PHOENIX (7-22) scored a career high of 41 points in a 123-118 win at Detroit, but the Suns lost four other games and stayed last in the West.
ABA: After beating Miami 112-105 for its ninth victory in 10 games. MINNESOTA (16-7) lost twice but held a 4½ game Eastern lead. KENTUCKY (11-11) split, beating Houston 106-99 after jumping off to a 31-17 first-quarter lead. NEW YORK (9-14) snapped a five-game losing streak against Indiana, then came back to beat Houston 112-107 on Bob Lloyd's 10 points in the last 4½ minutes. MIAMI (9-14) lost three straight, then took New York 116-112 on Willie Murrell's four last-minute points. INDIANA (9-16) won three straight, its best streak of the season, after dropping one game. Rick Barry of OAKLAND (22-4) scored 162 points in four games and the Oaks won three, increasing their Western lead to eight games. Player-Coach Cliff Hagan of DALLAS (11-9) came up with last-ditch scoring heroics in three straight games and the Chaparrals won all three to go from fourth to second. DENVER (12-10) won two of three, beating Miami 121-113 as Larry Jones and Lonnie Wright combined for 54 points. LOS ANGELES (10-11) and NEW ORLEANS (9-14) each took only one of three, but the Bucs' victory snapped a five-game losing streak and featured a 48-point night by James Jones. HOUSTON (5-13) lost four games and sank deeper into the Western cellar.
BOXING—JOE FRAZIER held onto his share of the heavyweight title in a 15-round decision over Oscar Bonavena of Argentina (page 10). Former heavyweight champion SONNY LISTON scored an impressive second-round knockout of his former sparring partner, Amos (Big Train) Lincoln, in Baltimore.
FOOTBALL—NFL: MINNESOTA (8-6) won the Central Division title (page 12) on a 24-17 defeat of Philadelphia, coupled with a GREEN BAY (6-7-1) victory over Chicago (7-7) in a 28-27 thriller. Behind by 18 points in the last period the Bears put on one of the most stirring rallies in pro history. But two TD passes and other feats by the Packers' third-string quarterback, Don Horn, had put the game just out of reach. BALTIMORE (13-1), winner of the Coastal Division, closed its regular season with a 28-24 win over Los Angeles (10-3-1). Johnny Unitas entered the game in the second half to test his ailing arm and threw for one TD, set up another—but he also threw one pass a bit short for an interception. SAN FRANCISCO (7-6-1) finished third in the Coastal Division with a 14-12 win over last-place Atlanta (2-12). The 49ers' Ken Willard scored two TDs, the first on a 69-yard run from scrimmage. Capitol Division champion DALLAS (12-2) scored 28-10 over second-place New York, which finished at 7-7 for the second straight year. Cowboy Bob Hayes scored once on a 63-yard punt return and again on a 13-yard pass from Craig Morton. WASHINGTON (5-9) got a fine performance from third-string Quarterback Harry Theofiledes in a 14-3 victory over Detroit (4-8-2), last in the Central Division. Theofiledes came off the bench at the end of the last quarter and, with barely five minutes to play, threw a TD pass and engineered another score. ST. LOUIS (9-4-1) posted its best record since 1964 and embarrassed Century champ Cleveland (10-4) with a 27-16 defeat. The game featured two TD passes from Jim Hart to Bobby Joe Conrad, and three NFL records by Chuck Latourette: most yards on kickoff returns, most yards for all returns and most returns handled, NEW ORLEANS (4-9-1) finished third in the Century Division with a 24-14 victory over last-place Pittsburgh (2-11-1). Quarterback Billy Kilmer of the Saints gained 292 yards in the air and hit for two TDs.
December 23, 1968
AFL: KANSAS CITY (12-2) beat Denver (5-9) Saturday with brilliant defensive play, 30-7. The next day OAKLAND (12-2) picked up a 34-27 victory over San Diego (9-5) to tie the Chiefs for the Western Division title and force a Dec. 22 playoff. The big Raider plays were Daryle Lamonica's three TD passes, Rodger Bird's scoring interception and George Blanda's two field goals. Defensive maneuvers by Buck Buchanan and Aaron Brown led to 16 Kansas City points against Denver. The Chiefs' defense set an AFL record for fewest points allowed in a season (170) and tied another mark by allowing only four TDs on the ground. NEW YORK'S (11-3) Eastern champion Jets routed Miami (5-8-1) by 31-7 as two short TD runs, by Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer, and Jim Turner's 49-yard field goal in the first half gave the Jets a big head start. HOUSTON (7-7) finished second in the East with a 45-17 victory over Boston (4-10), which finished fourth. Don Trull, let go by the Patriots early this year, threw two TD passes against them and Hoyle Granger ran for two more scores.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: MISSISSIPPI, behind the passing of Archie Manning and a defense that recovered three fumbles and intercepted two passes, overcame a 17-0 Virginia Tech lead to beat the Gobblers 34-17 in the Liberty Bowl. NORTH DAKOTA STATE got excellent running from small-college All-America Halfback Paul Hatchett and beat Arkansas State 23-14 in the Pecan Bowl. TROY (Ala.) STATE won the NAIA small-college championship by downing Texas A&I 43-35 in the 13th Champion Bowl. Dave Banducci kicked three field goals and threw a touchdown pass as HUMBOLDT STATE COLLEGE upset Fresno State 29-14 in the Camellia Bowl. Tom DiMuzio's TD pass gave DELAWARE a 31-24 win over Indiana of Pennsylvania in the Boardwalk Bowl. LOUISIANA TECH beat Akron 33-13 in the Grantland Rice game.
HOCKEY—NHL: MONTREAL (17-6-5) held a four-point East Division lead after tying Toronto 4-4, beating St. Louis 5-4 on two goals by Henri Richard and blanking Philadelphia 1-0 for Tony Esposito's first NHL shutout. BOSTON (15-7-5) took undisputed possession of second place as Bobby Orr turned the hat trick and got two assists in a 10-5 blasting of Chicago. Streaking TORONTO (14-7-6) moved up to third with three victories and a tie, Johnny Bower getting his 37th career shutout against Philadelphia 1-0. NEW YORK (16-11-1) lost two, tied one and dropped to fourth. Gordie Howe of DETROIT (12-11-4) got two assists and career goals 701 and 702 in a 5-2 win at New York. The Red Wings lost two before winning another. Brothers were the winning ingredient for CHICAGO (13-12-2). Bobby Hull's 23rd career hat trick beat the Bruins 7-4; brother Dennis got two key goals in a 6-3 defeat of St. Louis. ST. LOUIS (11-9-8) went winless, losing three and tying one, and lost three points from its West lead. LOS ANGELES (11-12-2) won its two games and moved within six points of first, Bill Flett's hat trick downing Detroit 6-3. Gary Smith of OAKLAND (8-15-5) shut out the Red Wings 6-0, but the Seals lost their other two games. MINNESOTA (8-15-4) lost one but bunched its goals in two 4-1 victories—three in the third period against Oakland, three in the second against the Rangers. PITTSBURGH (6-15-6) beat the North Stars but lost two other games. PHILADELPHIA (6-17-4) lost two and tied one as its goal famine persisted.
MILEPOSTS—HONORED: KATHY WHITWORTH, named Palyer of the Year by the Ladies PGA, for the third consecutive time.
HIRED: JOHN RAY, defensive football specialist and Notre Dame assistant coach, to succeed Charlie Bradshaw as head coach at Kentucky. Bradshaw had compiled a seven-year record of 25-41-4.
DIED: Jess Willard, 86, the heavyweight boxing champion (1915-19) who won the title from Jack Johnson, lost it to Jack Dempsey; of a stroke, in Los Angeles.