PRO BASKETBALL—Golden State still seems to be in a daze left over from last season's upset by Phoenix in the playoffs. It finished the week with a 7-7 record, third-best in the Pacific Division. But Rick Barry is still in fine fettle, leading the Warriors with 33 points in a 110-102 victory over Seattle, a game in which he broke Calvin Murphy's league record for consecutive free throws (58). Barry hit his first eight foul shots for a total of 60, then missed. "I had hoped to make 80 or 90 in a row," said Barry, who shoots free throws underhanded, "but I didn't concentrate." Two nights later in a 130-93 win over Buffalo, Barry scored the 20,000th point of his pro career. "This is the year for the game to be physical," said New Orleans Coach Butch van Breda Kolff, but even he wasn't prepared for the Jazz' skirmish with Portland. In a game marred by 66 personal fouls, three technicals and a brawl between Pete Maravich and Portland's Dave Twardzik, New Orleans escaped with a 100-98 win. Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia was upset by Indiana 123-117, then got 59 points from Doug Collins and George McGinnis in a 123-106 defeat of Atlanta. Boston won four of its first five games without Dave Cowens before losing to Detroit 116-110. Against the Pistons, John Havlicek scored 28 points and broke Hal Greer's NBA endurance record by playing in his 1,123rd game. Midwest Division-leading Denver left home with a 10-1 record following a 112-78 drubbing of the New York Nets, then fell on hard times. Playing in the Boston Garden and New York's Madison Square Garden for the first time, the Nuggets lost 112-108 to the Celtics and 120-115 to the Knicks. In the Central Division, where Cleveland led Houston, the Rockets won a pair of overtime victories against Buffalo and Kansas City to stay close to the 11-4 Cavaliers. Washington defeated the Knicks 111-97 and San Antonio 109-103, as Phil Chenier hit 13 of his first 16 shots and scored 34 points.
PRO FOOTBALL—It was supposed to be a breather for Dallas, which came into Atlanta with a 9-1 record. The Falcons, who were 3-7 on the season and without first-string Quarterback Steve Bartkowski, played as expected for three quarters, then reeled off a fourth-quarter scoring burst for a 17-10 upset. In the space of five minutes Nick Mike-Mayer kicked a 21-yard field goal, Mike Esposito ran in from 35 yards out and backup Quarterback Scott Hunter went in on a one-yard run. The Cowboys had several opportunities to pull the game out, but Defensive End Claude Humphrey deflected two of Roger Staubach's passes and pressured him into throwing an interception. Minnesota clinched its eighth NFC Central title in nine years, defeating Green Bay 17-10. Fran Tarkenton completed 23 of 43 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh continued its climb back into playoff contention, defeating Houston for its sixth straight win after a 1-4 start. The Steelers' string of 22 quarters without allowing a touchdown ended, however, when John Hadl hit Ken Burrough with a 69-yard scoring pass. Cincinnati coughed up the ball on five fumbles and an interception but still came away with a 27-24 win over Kansas City. Prentice McCray of New England (page 32) returned interceptions of Joe Namath passes 63 and 55 yards for touchdowns as the Patriots defeated the Jets 38-24. The New York Giants scored two TDs, their first in five games, but had an extra point blocked and lost to Denver 14-13. San Diego Quarterback Dan Fouts threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns as the Chargers defeated Buffalo 34-13. Tampa Bay remained winless, losing 24-7 to Cleveland. Detroit held Chicago's Walter Payton to 40 yards rushing, while Lion Quarterback Greg Landry threw a pair of scoring passes 90 seconds apart in a 14-10 win over the Bears. Oakland defeated Philadelphia 26-7 to clinch the AFC West title. Mark van Eeghen rushed for 133 yards in the Raiders' seventh straight victory. San Francisco's defense held Los Angeles to 88 yards total offense, but the offense committed 6 turnovers, leading to a Rams 23-3 victory (page 34). New Orleans drubbed Seattle 51-27, and Washington defeated St. Louis 16-10.
HARNESS RACING—PLAZA BRET ($23), driven by Lew Williams, defeated Windshield Wiper by a head in the $101,500 L. K. Shapiro Stakes at Hollywood Park. Keystone Ore, the 6-to-5 favorite, was third.
HOCKEY—NHL: While the New York Islanders, Montreal and Boston were adding to their already impressive division leads, struggling St. Louis backed into first place in the Smythe Division. The Blues went five games without a win before defeating the New York Rangers 3-1. Still, that was enough to give them a one-point lead over Chicago in the Smythe Division. St. Louis had a 10-9-1 record at week's end, had scored only 64 goals (53 fewer than the NHL-leading Canadiens) and had allowed 78 (38 more than the Islanders, who are tops in that category). Meanwhile, the Islanders continue to tear up the Patrick Division, remaining unbeaten in nine games with a 3-1 win over Los Angeles. Atlanta, eight points behind in the Patrick Division, stayed in the fray by scoring five goals in the second period to defeat Colorado 6-3. The Rangers remained in the Patrick cellar, 15 points behind the Islanders, despite beating Chicago, as Phil Esposito scored twice on brother Tony. Montreal opened a 12-point lead over Los Angeles in the Norris Division, as the second-place Kings played their eighth straight game without a win. In an 0-0 tie with Cleveland, the Kings and the Barons exchanged 68 shots to no avail. Montreal proved itself mortal in a 1-0 loss to Toronto—the first shutout against the Canadiens in 168 regular-season games. Boston continued to roll in the Adams Division, opening a nine-point bulge on second-place Buffalo. The Bruins had to work for a 3-2 victory over lowly Washington, however; Boston's winning goal came on a freak bounce of the puck that set up Brad Park while Washington Goalie Ron Low was behind the net. Buffalo kept pace with the Bruins by defeating Vancouver 3-2, on Don Luce's goal with only 13 seconds remaining, and Los Angeles 4-3, as Gil Perreault fired a 35-footer with only 32 seconds left in the game. Last-place Cleveland followed up its scoreless tie with Los Angeles by deadlocking Minnesota 3-3.
November 29, 1976
WHA: First-place Winnipeg maintained a precarious lead over Houston in the Western Division by defeating Quebec 8-4 and then losing to Indianapolis by the same score. The Nordiques, who lead Cincinnati by two points in the Eastern Division, tried a show of force against the Jets, but ended up hurting themselves with their aggressive tactics. Winnipeg Coach Bobby Kromm called the Nordiques "goons," and said that Quebec "got what it deserved—a good lacing." For much of the third period, the Nordiques were without Right Wing Curt Brackenbury, who got a five-minute penalty for fighting. Quebec bounced back with a 9-5 victory over Minnesota, as Marc Tardif scored four goals. Minnesota salvaged a 3-3 tie with New England on a pair of goals in the third period. The Whalers also defeated cellar-dwelling Birmingham twice, 5-4 and 6-4, coming from behind in the final period in both games. Houston extended its undefeated streak at home to 10 games with a 4-2 victory over Calgary, then defeated Phoenix 5-2. Edmonton stayed on the bottom of the Western Division, with losses to Phoenix and San Diego.
MOTOR SPORTS—DAVID PEARSON won the $185,000 Los Angeles Times 500 stock-car race at Ontario, Calif., finishing a lap ahead of second-place Lennie Pond. Pearson drove his Mercury at an average speed of 137.101 mph on the 2.5-mile oval. CALE YARBOROUGH, who dropped out of the race with a burned clutch after 420 miles, earned enough points to win the NASCAR drivers championship.
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: As manager of the Chicago White Sox, BOB LEMON, 56, a Hall of Fame pitcher who had seven 20-win seasons with the Cleveland Indians. Lemon, who was pitching coach for the New York Yankees last season, replaces Paul Richards, who will stay with the White Sox as a consultant; JACK McKEON, 46, as manager of the Oakland A's, replacing Chuck Tanner. McKeon managed the Kansas City Royals for 2½ seasons and has 16 years of minor-league managerial experience, including last season with Richmond of the International League; ROBIN ROBERTS, 50, a Hall of Fame pitcher who won 286 games in his major-league career, as baseball coach at the University of South Florida.
NAMED: The Most Valuable Player in the American League, THURMAN MUNSON, New York Yankee catcher. Munson batted .302, drove in 105 runs and hit 17 homers.
SIGNED: As a result of baseball's free agent draft, former A's GENE TENACE, with San Diego; DON BAYLOR and JOE RUDI, with California; BERT CAMPANERIS, with Texas; and SAL BANDO, with Milwaukee. Also, ex-Phillie DAVE CASH, by Montreal; ex-Oriole WAYNE GARLAND, by Cleveland; and ex-Giant GARY MATTHEWS, by Atlanta.