PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Atlantic Division action started with Buffalo, Philadelphia and Boston tied for the lead. Then the Celtics lost three straight, to Atlanta 100-91, Washington 110-107 and Philadelphia 119-109 as 76er Guard Doug Collins poured in 32 points before edging Buffalo 112-110, despite the absence of Center Dave Cowens because of an injured back. The Braves suffered a 105-90 loss to Washington with Center Bob McAdoo sidelined with a leg injury, but he was back for Houston, scoring 33 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in a 93-80 victory. Philadelphia lost to Milwaukee 108-81 and 107-84 before beating Washington 110-109 in triple overtime. At week's end the Braves and 76ers were co-leaders. After losing five straight on the road, the Knicks came home to beat Houston 108-102. Washington led the Central until falling to Atlanta 97-88, which then beat Detroit 109-106 as John Drew came off the bench to score 18 points in a third-period rally. The New Orleans Jazz fell out of first by losing to Portland 106-104, Los Angeles 116-100 and Houston 103-101, and trail Atlanta by a game and a half after the Hawks defeated the Knicks 97-96. Following its defeat by Atlanta, Detroit whipped Milwaukee 101-89 to retain first in the Midwest. After losing its first five games, Milwaukee turned around and won five, the last two over Philadelphia. However, two late-week losses kept the Bucks in second place, 1½ games back. Golden State remained unbeaten at home, topping Cleveland 103-98, Chicago 98-87 (with Rick Barry exploding for 38 after a scoreless first period) and Kansas City 123-92. The Lakers trail the Warriors by half a game despite Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and rookie Forward Don Ford combining for 53 points in a 116-100 defeat of New Orleans and 58 points in a 114-107 victory over Phoenix. Portland lost to Cleveland 99-95, snapping a four-game winning streak.
ABA: It was one of those off-and-on weeks. Off the courts, league officials posted the season's third schedule following the collapse of San Diego. A dispersal draft of Sails players sent Forward Dave Robisch and Guard Dwight Lamar to Indiana, and Kentucky bought 6'11" All-Star Center Caldwell Jones in an auction. On the courts, Kentucky (7-2) defeated Virginia 128-106, with Center Artis Gilmore and Guard Bird Averitt combining for 41 points. Averitt hit a season high of 31 against St. Louis as the Colonels won their sixth straight. 98-81. Kentucky still led the East despite losing to Denver 117-111 in a game in which Nugget rookie forward David Thompson scored 34 points. The New York Nets ended the week in second after losing to Utah 134-114 and beating San Antonio 112-109. St. Louis defeated Virginia 106-102 in overtime. San Antonio and Indiana trail division-leading Denver, the Spurs beating Virginia twice and the Pacers downing Utah 127-119 behind Forward Billy Knight's 43 points.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: After eight nonwinning seasons Houston may possibly post a winning record after defeating Miami 20-19. Oiler Billy (White-shoes) Johnson returned a punt 83 yards for a score, and Running Back Ronnie Coleman broke five tackles on a seven-yard, game-winning touchdown jaunt with 1:11 left. Houston still trails Pittsburgh by one game in the AFC Central, the Steelers having downed Kansas City 28-3. Baltimore won its fourth in a row, 52-19 over the New York Jets as Colt Quarterback Bert Jones completed 16 of 22 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns before leaving with a rib injury in the third quarter. Dallas defeated New England 34-31. Oakland still leads the AFC West, beating Cleveland 38-17, while Kansas City played twice, outscoring Dallas 34-31 before losing to Pittsburgh. Denver, win less on the road, gained a 27-17 victory over San Diego, which is still looking for its first win. Minnesota remained undefeated, Fran Tarkenton throwing three touchdown passes, two to John Gilliam, as the Vikings beat New Orleans 20-7. Detroit defeated Green Bay 13-10 on Earl Mann's 23-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining, giving fill-in Quarterback Joe Reed his third win in as many games. NFC East co-leaders Washington and St. Louis met for the second time this season (page 26). Jim Bakken kicked a 37-yard field goal in sudden-death overtime to enable the Cardinals to win 20-17. Philadelphia ended a five-game losing stretch, Horst Muhlmann booting a 30-yard field goal with 28 seconds left for a 13-10 victory over the New York Giants. In the NFC West, division leader Los Angeles parlayed Tom Dempsey's field goals of 17, 33 and 42 yards with James Harris' 13-yard pass to Ron Jessie to defeat Atlanta 16-7. San Francisco downed Chicago 31-3.
GOLF—SANDRA HAYNIE won the Lady Jacksonville (Fla.) Open by one stroke over Sandra Post, firing a seven-over-par 223 at the Selva Marina Country Club.
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: When California beat Los Angeles 3-2 the Kings lost more than the game. They lost their status as the NHL's only undefeated team at home and surrendered the lead in the Norris Division. The Kings rallied to defeat the New York Islanders 4-3, then tied Toronto 1-1, but could not catch division leader Montreal, which posted a third-straight shutout, against Minnesota 6-0, then beat Pittsburgh 5-4 as Yvan Cournoyer scored the winning goal, his 351st. Buffalo holds a commanding lead in the Adams Division despite a 3-1 loss to Philadelphia that broke a 10-game home-ice unbeaten streak. Bruin defenders Bobby Orr and Brad Park each scored a goal and got two assists in Boston's 5-3 win over Atlanta. Orr had scored his first goal of the season in the Bruins' 6-0 shellacking of Minnesota. California defeated the Islanders 5-1, Center Dennis Maruk scoring his third shorthanded goal of the season. Chicago lied the Rangers, Flyers and Canadiens, enough to retain the Smythe Division lead. St. Louis now has a winning record, defeating the Rangers 5-3 and Washington 9-2. Although it won only one game, beating Buffalo 3-1, Philadelphia increased its Patrick Division lead. The second-place Islanders lost three, to California 5-1, Los Angeles 4-3 and Vancouver 4-3. The Rangers (page 28) began a two-week stretch in which they will face all 10 recently traded players with a loss to St. Louis and a tie with Chicago.
WHA: It was an icy replay of the American Basketball Association problem: average attendance for the first month of play was 7,327, and League President Ben Hatskin noted, "We must have at least 9,000 per game to even consider breaking even. Otherwise we're in trouble." Minnesota President Wayne Belisle promptly tabled further talk of money troubles, saying, "From now on we'll talk about our performance on the ice." The Fighting Saints then beat Indianapolis 9-7. Despite an 8-5 loss to Cincinnati and a 5-3 defeat by Calgary, Houston remained in first place. Minnesota won 3-2 over Cincinnati. Quebec leads the Canadian Division after downing Minnesota 8-6 and New England 3-1. Last-place Toronto defeated Denver 11-8 as Center Vaclav Nedomansky tied a WHA record by scoring five goals to become the league's leading goal scorer with 15 in 13 games. Winnipeg beat division rivals Calgary 4-2 and Edmonton 6-1 to hold second place. With East Division-leading Cincinnati idle. New England gained ground by belting Houston 4-1.
HORSE RACING—ALL THE MORE ($8.40) came from behind to beat favored Whats your pleasure by half a length in the $150,000 Heritage Stakes at Keystone in Cornwells Heights, Pa. The 2-year-old colt covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 4/5.
Cafe Prince ($34.20), Dave Washer up, took the lead from Augustus Bay after the 17th fence of the 18-fence Colonial Cup Steeplechase at Camden, S.C. and went on to win the 2¾ mile race in 5:30.1.
TENNIS—EDDIE DIBBS of Miami upset Jimmy Connors 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 to win the Dewar Cup tournament in London.
Guillermo Vilas of Argentina defeated Italy's Adriano Panatta 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to win the Argentine Open at Buenos Aires. Vilas' first-round win over countryman Roberto Carruthers earned him enough points over the season to clinch his second-straight $100,000 top prize in the Commercial Union Grand Prix.
WEIGHT LIFTING—Soviet superheavyweight VASILY ALEXEYEV broke his world records at a meet with East Germany in Archangel, Russia, jerking 542½ pounds to increase the mark by 13¼ and posting a total of 948 pounds in the combined, a gain of six.
MILEPOSTS—PRESENTED: The Cy Young Award, to TOM SEAVER of the New York Mets and JIM PALMER of the Baltimore Orioles. Seaver compiled a 22-9 record and had a 2.38 ERA. Palmer posted a 23-11 record and led the majors with 10 shutouts and a 2.09 ERA.
SHIFTED: To the Quebec provincial government from the city of Montreal, control over the strike-plagued main Olympic stadium. Montreal remains responsible for other venues and athlete housing, but a projected $600 million deficit erases any fond hope of breaking even on the 1976 Games.
SIGNED: CHRIS EVERT, by the WTT Phoenix Racquets, loan undisclosed six-figure, two-year contract that assertedly makes her the highest-paid player in the 10-team league.
DIED: WILLIAM H. (Bill) GORE, who trained world champions Willie Pep, Joe Brown and Bob Foster; at 84; in Lutz, Fla.