PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: As the season reached the one-quarter mark, close races continued between the top two teams in each division. Chicago overtook Milwaukee and led by half a game in the Midwest. Nate Archibald, the scoring leader, continued to keep Kansas City-Omaha a contender and also set a league record by posting 10 or more assists in 12 straight games. The Celtics and Knicks played a home-court series in the Atlantic Division. Boston was a 114-97 victor, then the Knicks won the next night in New York 97-94 to remain in second place—.032 behind. Philadelphia's latest losing streak reached six as Portland won 117-106 to hand the 76ers their 21st defeat in 22 games. Neither Atlanta nor Baltimore gained in the Central Division and remained tied for first place. Houston was half a game back, and Cleveland, behind the playmaking of Lenny Wilkens, moved to within 2½ games of first. For the first time in his 13 years with the Lakers, Jerry West was thrown out of a game. Still, Los Angeles won its 12th consecutive game, 116-109 over Phoenix, to extend its Pacific division lead to four games over Golden State. Mahdi Abdul-Rahman scored 18, his best as a Warrior. The night before, West recorded 18 assists in a 140-123 victory over Detroit.
ABA: Only 5½ games separated all five teams in the East Division. Kentucky defeated first-place Carolina 115-111 behind Dan Issel's 31 points, and Virginia, 1½ games back, gained with a 122-108 triumph over Memphis. Julius Erving, the league's leading scorer, had a regular-season career high of 46 points for the Squires. Defending champion Indiana continued to lead the West Division, maintaining a 2½-game edge over Denver with a 111-103 victory against San Diego. Denver received 19 assists from Al Smith in its 130-111 triumph over the Conquistadors. Dallas, in last place, gained at the expense of Utah with a 97-94 win. Rich Jones scored 29 points.
BOWLING—For the second straight year, DON JOHNSON won the $85,000 Brunswick World Open in Glendale Heights, Ill. He took the $12,000 first prize by defeating Mark Roth 207-181.
BOXING—MUHAMMAD ALI knocked out Bob Foster in the eighth round of a heavyweight bout at Stateline, Nev. (page 30).
CROSS-COUNTRY—Last Tennessee State's NEIL CUSACK won the NCAA individual title with a 28:23 time over the muddy Glennbrook Country Club in Houston, but TENNESSEE, with Douglas Brown finishing second, won the team title.
PRO FOOTBALL—AFC: OAKLAND took a giant stride toward the Western Division championship with a 26-3 victory over its only competition, Kansas City. The Raiders are 7-3-1 with three games remaining and the Chiefs are 5-6. CLEVELAND, PITTSBURGH and CINCINNATI, all winners, maintained the status quo in the Central Division. The Browns defeated Buffalo 27-10 to remain tied for first place with the Steelers, who beat Minnesota 23-10. Rookie Franco Harris of Pittsburgh gained 127 yards, the sixth time in his last seven games he has made more than 100. Coach Paul Brown started Quarterback Virgil Carter against his former team, Chicago, and Carter came out with a 13-3 win that left the Bengals two games behind the leaders. Marty Domres threw three touchdown passes for BALTIMORE in a 31-0 triumph over New England. With the Eastern Division title already clinched by MIAMI, the idle New York Jets (6-5) had only an outside chance of a wildcard selection. SAN DIEGO beat Houston 34-20.
NFC: WASHINGTON assured itself of a playoff berth either as the Eastern Division champion—which seems likely or as a wild card with a 21-16 win over Green Bay. Quarterback Billy Kilmer threw a pair of touchdown passes for the Redskins. NEW YORK went off on a scoring spree, the biggest in its history, with a 62-10 victory over the Eagles to remain in contention as a possible wild-card playoff entry. Mathematically, the Giants could tie both Washington and/or Dallas for first place but would lose on the league's tie-breaking rules. DETROIT, a 37-20 winner-over the Jets on Thanksgiving Day, moved into a deadlock for first place in the Central Division with the Packers. Both clubs are 7-4 and the Vikings are one game back with three to play. SAN FRANCISCO (page 22) beat the Cowboys 31-10 on Thanksgiving Day to take sole possession of first place in the Western Division. The 49ers received some unexpected help from NEW ORLEANS, which defeated Los Angeles 19-16 on a 33-yard field goal by Happy Feller in the final three seconds. ATLANTA had to come from behind for a 23-20 win over Denver to remain half a game behind the 49ers.
HARNESS RACING—Stanley Dancer's ALBATROSS ($2.40) led wire to wire in taking the $50,000 Western Pace by 4¾ lengths over Nansemond, driven by Herve Filion, in 1:56 at Hollywood Park. The win was the 19th in 26 starts this year for the 4-year-old Albatross, who will be retired to stud after his last race Dec. 1.
HOCKEY—NHL: Atlanta (page 26), a new addition, has become a fixture, and another fixture, 41-year-old Alex Delvecchio of Detroit, also was making news. In his 22nd season the Red Wing center scored two goals in a 6-4 victory over Philadelphia. The second, into an empty net, was his sixth goal and 14th point of the season for a career total 1,219 points, tying him for second place on the alltime list with Jean Beliveau. Boston's Bobby Orr scored a pair of goals, his third and fourth of the season, as the Bruins defeated California 4-2. Orr also had a goal and two assists in a 4-0 triumph over the Flames. Montreal kept its hold on first place in the East Division with a 9-1 win over Vancouver. Frank Mahovlich, Jacques Lemaire and Murray Wilson netted two goals apiece for the Canadiens. Chicago moved into a first-place tie with Pittsburgh in the West by beating St. Louis 4-2. The Penguins took a 2-0 lead against the New York Islanders on a pair of goals by Greg Polis, but had to settle for a 2-2 deadlock, snapping a winning streak at four. In a 10-4 win over St. Louis, Pittsburgh broke a league record by scoring five goals in a 2:07 span of the final period.
WHA: The league posted a $2.5 million surety bond to satisfy a court ruling that Winnipeg Coach Bobby Hull be allowed to play as long as a bond was posted to insure against possible damage to the NHL in future decisions. After sitting out a 4-2 victory over Houston because of a restraining order by a circuit judge in Chicago, Hull returned to play against Quebec and scored twice in a 5-3 triumph. His second goal broke a 3-3 tie for the Jets, who lead the West Division. Despite a 3-1 loss to Houston, Cleveland remained in first place in the East. New York moved into third place, just behind New England, with a 4-2 win over Alberta, the fourth straight victory for the Raiders.
TENNIS—ARTHUR ASHE defeated Bob Lutz 7-2 in a fifth-set tie breaker to win the $50,000 WCT tournament in Rome. Ashe came from behind twice in the final set for a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 victory in a match worth $25,000 to the winner.
WATER POLO—Led by Kathy Home, CORAL GABLES, Fla. defeated Cincinnati 9-4 to win the National AAU Senior Women's championship.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: To CARLTON FISK of the Boston Red Sox and JON MATLACK of the New York Mets, Rookie of the Year honors in the American and National Leagues respectively, by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
FIRED: New Mexico State University Football Coach JIM WOOD, who did not have a winning season in five years and was 2-9 this season.
RELINQUISHED: The presidency of the Philadelphia Phillies by R.R.M. (Bob) Carpenter Jr., 57, to his son, R.R.M. (Ruly) CARPENTER III, 33, making him the youngest president in baseball.
RETIRED: First Baseman WES PARKER of the Los Angeles Dodgers, at age 33, after nine major league seasons, opting for "a more settled life."
SIGNED: To ski for the North American professional troupe, JEAN-CLAUDE KILLY, 29, who retired from racing after winning three gold medals in the 1968 Olympics.
DIED: FRANCIS X. (Frank) REAGAN, 53, star of the 1938-40 University of Pennsylvania football teams and former coach and athletic director at Villanova University; in Philadelphia.
DIED: A member of the National Hockey League's Hall of Fame, DOUG BENTLEY, 56, who played on the Chicago Black Hawks' Pony Line in the 1940s; after a long illness; in Saskatoon, Canada.
DIED: HERB McQUILLAN, 79, former football coach at Stetson University and basketball coach at Texas Christian and Texas A&M; after a brief illness; in Tallahassee, Fla.