PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Golden State arrived in New Orleans too late to celebrate Mardi Gras, but just in time to rejoice over clinching at least a share of the Pacific Division title with a 111-97 win over Houston. Pete Maravich scored 33 points to lead the Jazz to a 118-103 defeat of the Warriors, after already guiding New Orleans out of the Central Division cellar with wins in three of four previous games. Earlier in the week Golden State rallied after being 20 down in the third period to get by the Pistons 112-108, Phil Smith and Rick Barry scoring 48 of their 74 points in the second half. In the Atlantic, Boston holds a six-game edge on Buffalo and Philadelphia. The 76ers unleashed rookie Joe Bryant, who scored a career high 26 points in a 125-108 win over Phoenix and threw in another 23 in a 109-107 defeat of Atlanta. Central leader Washington was idle until Sunday when it defeated Boston 102-89. Second-place Cleveland gained slightly on the Bullets by notching its 11th and 12th consecutive home-court victories, over Golden State 110—99 and Phoenix 99-77. In the Midwest, still without a club close to .500, Milwaukee remained the best of the sad lot, staying 2½ games ahead of Detroit. Chicago proved itself the worst, the Bulls' record falling to a league low of 20-46.
ABA: Indiana and St. Louis didn't play each other, but in their skirmish for the fifth and final playoff berth each defeated two of the top three teams. Fifth-place Indiana toppled league-leading Denver 129-119, getting 55 points and 30 rebounds from Billy Knight and Darnell Hillman. Against third-ranked San Antonio, seven Pacers scored in double figures—Knight had 29—and Indiana got a 132-115 win. St. Louis stayed two games behind the Pacers, as Marvin Barnes contributed two key baskets and a blocked shot (one of a career-high seven) in the waning minutes of a 99—95 defeat of second-place New York. The Spirits then bounced Denver 101—97, with Barnes accounting for 10 of his 25 points in the final four minutes. New York contributed to the Nuggets' rare losing week, winning 141—136 as Guard John Williamson scored nine straight points in overtime to finish with a career high of 36. Fourth-place Kentucky dismantled Virginia 151-114, falling two points short of a club scoring record.
BOATING—ROCKY AOKI, piloting a 35-foot Cigarette, won the Bushmills Grand Prix off Newport Beach, Calif. (page 52).
GOLF—HUBERT GREEN carded a tournament record 18-under-par 270 to win the Doral-Eastern Open by six strokes over Jack Nicklaus and Mark Hayes, in Miami (page 16).
March 22, 1976
HOCKEY—NHL: The Smythe Division lead seesawed between Vancouver and Chicago. After the Black Hawks' 5-3 loss to the Islanders on Sunday, they led the Canucks by just two points. A club's reward for a first-place finish is a bye into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In the Norris, Montreal could savor that prospect after defeating Boston 4-2 (page 20). Philadelphia and the Bruins are expected to win in the Patrick and Adams divisions. Pittsburgh began the week in a second-place tie with Los Angeles in the Norris, but blew a 6-2 third-period lead over Buffalo and lost 7-6, as Penguin Pierre Larouche assisted on three goals to set an NHL scoring record for second-year men of 91 points. The Kings slipped by the Rangers 4-3 and into a playoff berth for the third straight year. St. Louis' Garry Unger broke ex-Ranger Andy Hebenton's consecutive-game mark by skating in his 631st straight—a 2-2 tie with Toronto. Canadien Guy Lafleur and Flyer Bobby Clarke both surpassed the 100-point mark; Lafleur with his 44th goal and an assist in a 5-1 defeat of Chicago, Clarke when he had two assists in a 6-1 romp over Buffalo.
WHA: After a 3-2 loss to Phoenix dropped them into third place in the Eastern Division, the New England Whalers replaced Coach Don Blackburn with Harry Neale, who had coached Minnesota until it folded. New England thereupon skated back into first place, beating Cleveland 8-2. Cincinnati's 6-3 loss to Indianapolis put it in a tie with Cleveland for second. Earlier in the week the Crusaders nipped Cincinnati 5-2. On Saturday night New England defeated the Stingers 5-1 to build a three-point edge. But even Indianapolis, the Eastern's basement team, was within five points of first after winning its third game of the week, 6-4 over Phoenix. Between them, Canadian leader Winnipeg and second-place Quebec have the league's top six scorers. In Winnipeg's 5-2 defeat of Toronto, each member of the Jet line of Ulf Nilsson (No. 2), Bobby Hull (No. 3) and Anders Hedberg (No. 4) scored a goal. They each tallied again in a 10-3 defeat of Quebec, raising the line's season total to a league-leading 124. No. 1 scorer Marc Tardif tallied his 60th for the Nordiques. Houston beat San Diego twice, 9-2 and 3-2, and leads the shrunken Western Division by 12 points over Phoenix.
HORSE RACING—BILL SHOEMAKER got his 7,000th career win atop Royal Derby II with a 3½-length come-from-behind victory in the fifth race at Santa Anita on Sunday.
Telly's Pop ($5), ridden by Francisco Mena, scored a two-length victory over Classy Surgeon in the $150,000 California Derby. The 3-year-old gelding was timed in 1:42[3/5] for the 1[1/16] miles at Golden Gate Fields.
SPEED SKATING—World records fell in four events at the Golden Skates meet in Inzell, West Germany. NANCY SWIDER, of Park Ridge, Ill., won the 3,000 in 4:40.85 to shatter by 3.84 seconds the mark held by Russia's Vera Kuznetsova. SHEILA YOUNG won the 500 in 40.68, shaving .23 seconds off her own mark. HANS VAN HELDEN, of The Netherlands, took the 1,500 in 1:55.61 to lower countryman Ard Schenk's record by 3.09 seconds; and The Netherlands' PIET KLEINE set a 10,000 record of 14:43.92.
SKIING—LISE-MARIE MOREROD, of Switzerland, and INGEMAR STENMARK, of Sweden, clinched the women's giant slalom and the men's slalom World Cup titles by winning their specialties at Aspen, Colo. Olympic gold medalist FRANZ KLAMMER and BRIGITTE TOTSCHNIG, both of Austria, took the downhills. Totschnig's victory gave her the lead in that event's World Cup.
Henri Duvillard, of France, wrapped up the 1976 pro racing title with his third consecutive sweep of the slalom and giant slalom events, in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
SWIMMING—ULRIKE TAUBER, ANTJE STILLE, ULRIKE RICHTER and ROSEMARIE GABRIEL of East Germany broke their own world records in a dual meet in Tallinn, U.S.S.R. Tauber's 2:18.30 in the 200-meter individual medley was .53 second faster than her previous mark. Richter's 1:02.6 for the 100 backstroke took .38 second off her earlier record. Stille's 2:13.5 for the 200 back was .91 second better than the existing mark. Gabriel lowered her three-year-old 200-meter butterfly record by .16 second with a clocking of 2:13.6.
TENNIS—The UNITED STATES led the Soviet Union 107—77 after the first four of five matches between the two teams (page 56).
Jimmy Connors beat Ilie Nastase 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to win the I.P.A. tournament in Hampton, Va.
Rod Laver outlasted fellow Australian John Alexander 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 and 6-2 to win the WCT Challenge match in Keauhou-Kona, Hawaii. In WCT tournament play VIJAY AMRITRAJ, of India, beat Stan Smith 6-2, 0-6, 6-0 in the Memphis Racquet Club Classic and RAUL RAMIREZ defeated Eddie Dibbs 7-6, 6-2 in Mexico City.
TRACK & FIELD—UTEP scored 23 points to win an unprecedented third consecutive NCAA indoor championship in Detroit. Villanova, with 15, was second and Tennessee, 14, third.
WRESTLING—The UNIVERSITY OF IOWA retained its NCAA title and set a meet scoring record of 123.25 points, at Tucson, Ariz. (page 22).
MILEPOSTS—DENIED: Major league baseball's appeal of an arbitrator's decision granting free-agent status to Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally. The decision by the U.S. Circuit Court in St. Louis upheld a previous ruling by a Federal District Court in Kansas City.
NAMED: RAY SCOTT, 37, coach of the Detroit Pistons from 1972 to January 1976, as basketball coach at Eastern Michigan University.
PLACED ON PROBATION: By the NCAA, the UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA basketball team for three seasons, for recruiting and other violations in 1971-75. Among other penalties, the Gophers are barred from postseason competition until 1978.
RESIGNED: ROY SKINNER, 45, for 16 years basketball coach at Vanderbilt, where his teams compiled a 278-135 record. WAYNE DOBBS, 36, his assistant for six seasons, was named to succeed him.
DIED: TEDDY BENTHAM, 67, boxing trainer for 30 years, who handled featherweight champion Davey Moore and lightweight champions Jimmy Carter and Carlos Ortiz; in Beverly Hills, Calif.
DIED: CHARLEY (Phil) ROSENBERG, 73, world bantamweight boxing champion from 1925-27; in New York City.