BOWLING—JIM GODMAN outrolled Barry Asher 224-200 to win the $125,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions in Akron (page 94).
BOXING—KEN NORTON defeated former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in a 12-round split decision in San Diego (page 28).
DIVING—CYNTHIA POTTER won the women's one-and three-meter national AAU indoor championships in Pittsburgh. PHIL BOGGS took the men's three-meter title and TIM MOORE captured the men's one-meter competition. STEVE McFARLAND and DEBBIE LIPMAN won the platform divisions.
HOCKEY—NHL: Philadelphia edged into second place in the West, passing Minnesota. In a 4-2 victory over Atlanta the Flyers' Bobby Clarke scored two goals to become the ninth player in NHL history to reach the 100-point mark. Two days later Philadelphia turned in a spectacular performance against the hapless New York Islanders, with a league-tying eight-goal third period, smashing the New Yorkers 10-2. Montreal set an NHL record for fewest losses (10) as the Canadiens beat West Division champ Chicago 4-3. Buffalo won the battle with Detroit for the fourth playoff berth in the East, beating St. Louis in the season finale 3-1. Boston clinched second place in the East with a 6-3 victory over the Rangers as Phil Esposito scored four goals, but in a Stanley Cup preview the Bruins lost to the Canadiens 5-3. St. Louis, the only original expansion team to never miss a playoff, nailed down fourth place in the West by defeating Pittsburgh 7-2.
WHA: Philadelphia also was the big story in the WHA as the Blazers clinched a playoff spot and Andre Lacroix assured himself of the league scoring title (124 points). Teammate Danny Lawson got his sixth hat trick of the season in a 5-1 win over Chicago and became the second major league hockey player to score 60 goals in a season (Phil Esposito of the NHL Boston Bruins is the other). Houston won a spot in the playoffs when the Aeros downed New York 5-3. Alberta and Minnesota tied for the final berth in the West, and will face off in a deciding playoff Tuesday or Wednesday.
HARNESS RACING—Glen Garnsey drove R. R. Fastball ($2.40) to a 2¾-length victory over Tarpon Tamer in the $33,350 Florida Breeders Stake.
HORSE RACING—SHAM ($5.80), ridden by Laffit Pincay, took the $124,400 Santa Anita Derby over odds-on favorite Linda's Chief (page 92).
Brian Fletcher rode RED RUM to victory in the $98,600 Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree, England setting a record time of 9:01.9.
Royal and regal ($15.20) captured the $130,200 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. Ridden by Walter Blum, the winner finished three lengths in front of 2-1 favorite Forego.
MOTOR SPORTS—DAVID PEARSON outdueled Cale Yarborough to win the $112,825 Atlanta 500 stock car race (page 32).
PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: New York swept into the playoffs, squashing Baltimore 95-83 and 123-103. In the first game the Knicks got impressive performances from Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe, who combined for 48 points, 11 assists and 13 rebounds. The New York backcourt men did it again two days later as Monroe scored a season-high 32 and Frazier popped in 29. In less than 15 minutes the two accounted for 30 of the Knicks' 32 points. Boston downed the Hawks 134-109 in its playoff opener at home. John Havlicek led the Celtics with 54 points. In the Midwest Milwaukee extended its win streak to 15 by dropping Golden State 110-90 in the playoff opener. The Warriors looked all too peaceful as they shot 36.7% and committed 27 turnovers. In the second game the Warriors got angry and held on for a 95-92 win to tie the series. Milwaukee received the potential home-court advantage over Los Angeles when the two teams finished the season with matching 60-22 records and flipped a coin to determine the technical winner. The toss also meant that the Lakers had to play Chicago rather than Golden State. After the first game the Bulls were convinced the L.A. Forum was a 17,500-seat dry cleaner. When three Chicago players fouled out in a 107-104 overtime loss Coach Dick Motta raged, "I'm getting sick of seeing the Chicago Bulls pushed around this league like a bowling ball." In the second game the Bulls struck out, losing 108-93. Buffalo finished 21-61 for the season while Philadelphia was an amusing 9-73. Cleveland was 32-50 and Houston, which ended up first in NBA offense, averaging 112.8 points per game, finished 33-49. Detroit was 40-42 and K.C.-Omaha 36-46. Phoenix completed the year 38-44, Seattle 26-56 and Portland 21-61.
ABA: The Indiana Pacers had a Rocky Mountain high in the heart of the Midwest as they dumped Denver in the first two games of the West Division playoffs. Roger Brown led Indiana to a 114-91 win. The next day Freddie Lewis was the hero, scoring 30 points for a 106-93 victory. Brown came off the bench in the fourth quarter to score 12 of his 16 points and George McGinnis added 23. Center Dave Robisch hit 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Rockets but fouled out with 7:33 remaining in the game. Dan Issel racked up 43 points to lead Kentucky to a 129-101 drubbing of Virginia. Julius Erving, back from a short rest because of bruised ribs, was high man for the Squires with 21. Kentucky ran low on power in the next meeting as the Squires took it 109-94 with Dr. J pumping in 41 points. New York and Carolina split their first two games, the Cougars stopping the Nets 104-96 as New York played without Forward Tom Washington, who is suffering from a knee injury. The Cougars then bowed 114-111, a key reason being the play of New York Center Billy Paultz, who had 18 points, 11 rebounds and forced Kentucky Center Tom Owens to foul out with 4:29 left in the overtime. The rest of the league, Memphis and Dallas, met one another in a season finale with the Tams winning 130-125, sparked by Johnny Neumann's 22 assists. The Tams were 24-60 for the year, the Chaps 28-56.
TENNIS—TOM GORMAN rallied to defeat Jan Kodes 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 and collected the $10,000 first prize in the Rothmans tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: By the National Association of College Basketball Coaches, GENE BARTOW, Memphis State, as Coach of the Year. BOB JONES of Kentucky Wesleyan was named college division Coach of the Year.
NAMED: Boston Celtic Center DAVE COWENS, as MVP, by NBA players.
NAMED: JOHN MacLEOD, 35, basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma, as coach of the NBA Phoenix Suns.
NAMED: DICK VITALE, 32, assistant basketball coach at Rutgers, as head man at Detroit.
RESIGNED: Xavier University Basketball Coach DICK CAMPBELL, 42, after a 3-23 season, with one year remaining on his contract.
DIED: FRANCES GRISCOM, 93, who won the U.S. Women's Amateur golf championship in 1900; in Tallahassee, Fla.
DIED: Baseball Hall of Famer GEORGE SISLER, 80, first baseman from 1915-30; in St. Louis. Two-time American League batting champ with averages of .407 and .420, Sisler hit .340 during his career with the St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators and Boston Braves.
DIED: HONESTOUS, 4-year-old filly owned by Eddie Yowell, in a stable fire with 35 other thoroughbreds; at Hialeah.