PRO BASKETBALL—Hard on the heels of Commissioner Larry O'Brien's warning to coaches and players that there has been too much violence in the game. Golden State's Rick Barry and Boston's Sidney Wicks exchanged punches and were ejected during the Warriors' 101-94 victory. Two nights later Barry returned and scored 33 points as the Warriors edged Philadelphia 121-119 in overtime for their fourth straight win to move to within three games of Pacific leader Los Angeles and two of second-place Portland. The Trail Blazers again lost the services of Bill Walton, who sprained his left ankle, but slipped by the 76ers 108-107 on Maurice Lucas' left-handed hook with 10 seconds to play. David Thompson scored 37 points as Denver topped Detroit 110-94. giving Nugget Coach Larry Brown the season series over brother Herb 2-1. Detroit lost three games and Center Bob Lanier and his 25.2 points per game for four weeks with a fractured bone in his right hand. Chicago beat Indiana, Phoenix and Los Angeles to extend its winning streak to six and suddenly began to think playoffs. Three teams—Houston, San Antonio and Cleveland—are bunched within 3½ games of Central leader Washington, which won twice. Phil Chenier totaled 61 points in the Bullets' victories, his 15-foot jumper with eight seconds to play nipping the Nuggets 115-113 in overtime. Surprising San Antonio displayed the league's best offense and worst defense, averaging 129 points and giving up 119, but won three games. Philadelphia lost two games by a total of three points, but maintained its six-game margin over the Celtics. Despite the return of Forward Spencer Haywood after a 23-game absence, the Knicks lost twice. Buffalo's Adrian Dantley (page 60) scored 23 points as the Braves stopped New Orleans 95-91 for their only win against three losses.
DOG RACING—DOWNING ($2.80) won the $115,000 World Greyhound Classic by five lengths over Waneagle at Hollywood, Fla. (page 18).
GOLF—GARY KOCH shot a final-round 70 for a 14-under-par 274, to win the $200,000 Florida Citrus Open by two strokes at Orlando.
HOCKEY—NHL: The Montreal Canadiens had almost forgotten how to lose. Before coming up against Buffalo Sunday night, it had been seven weeks and 21 games since the Habs were on the short end of the score. Unawed, the Sabres dumped Montreal 4-1, the lone Canadien tally coming on Guy Lafleur's power play goal late in the game. It was Lafleur's 50th of the season. Earlier in the week Steve Shutt had notched his 50th—putting the linemates in the select company of Maurice Richard and Bernie Geoffrion as the only Canadiens to perform such a feat in a single season. Way, way down in the Norris Division, 45 points from the Canadiens. Los Angeles moved within two points of Pittsburgh for second place by beating the Penguins 5-0 on Rogatien Vachon's seventh shutout of the year, then tying them 3-3 on Marcel Dionne's goal with seven seconds to play. Boston knocked off Detroit 8-3 as Gregg Sheppard had his third hat trick of the season, beat the Rangers 4-1 and defeated Buffalo 3-1 on rookie Stan Jonathan's two goals in 53 seconds, narrowing the Sabres' Adams Division lead to three points. The Cleveland Barons thanked their rivals for keeping them afloat with a mini winning streak of three. Philadelphia opened a seven-point lead in the Patrick Division, winning three times, while the punchless Islanders lost twice. Chicago lost to Buffalo 6-3 and Washington 7-4 to fall seven points behind St. Louis in the Smythe Division.
March 14, 1977
WHA: "This is the most outstanding feat in sports," Houston's Larry Lund said after watching teammate Gordie Howe score the 900th goal of his 29-year career in Houston's 8-3 win over Phoenix. Son Marty assisted on the 48-year-old Howe's No. 900, a 30-foot wrist shot past Roadrunner Goalie Gary Kurt at 1:31 of the first period. Minutes later Howe skated off the ice and had his left foot put in a cast because of a sprained tendon. The Western Division-leading Aeros now have the best home record (25-1-4) in hockey. In his first game as player-coach. Edmonton's Glen Sather got a goal and an assist as the Oilers beat Winnipeg 5-4. Sather took over from Bep Guidolin, who is staying on as GM. In the East. Quebec beat Edmonton and San Diego to maintain its 10-point lead over Cincinnati, which won its only game, beating Indianapolis 6-0. Birmingham Coach Pat Kelley was ejected from a game in Calgary when he threw seven sticks onto the ice protesting a Cowboy goal. The goal counted and the Bulls lost 4-2.
HORSE RACING—CRYSTAL WATER ($11.60), ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., broke the track record in the 40th running of the $273,550 Santa Anita Handicap. Carrying 122 pounds, the 4-year-old colt beat Faliraki by a head and was timed in 1:59[1/5] for the 1¼ miles, shaving [2/5] of a second off the record.
Cuzwuzwrong ($14.80), ridden by Raul Ramirez, won the $150,000 California Derby at Golden Gate Fields by a neck over Cathy's Reject, covering the 1[1/16] miles in 1:43[2/5].
ICE SKATING—LINDA FRATIANNE, 16, of North-ridge, Calif. succeeded Dorothy Hamill as the women's title holder at the world championship in Tokyo. VLADIMIR KOVALEV of the U.S.S.R. took the men's title. Soviet skaters also won the pairs and the ice dancing.
MOTOR SPORTS—In a race marred by two deaths, NIKI LAUDA, driving a Ferrari, finished 5.2 seconds ahead of Jody Scheckter's Wolf-Ford to win the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. Lauda averaged 116.33 mph for the 78 laps over the 2.5-mile course. TOM PRYCE, a 27-year-old Welshman, died after his Shadow-Ford struck and killed a track marshal on the 23rd lap and then plowed into an embankment.
SKIING—PHIL MAHRE of White Pass, Wash. took the slalom by .09 of a second over Ingemar Stenmark at the World Cup event in Sun Valley. Idaho, and twin brother Steve finished third (page 12). Combined with his victory in the giant slalom. Stenmark's second virtually wrapped up his second straight World Cup title.
TENNIS—JIMMY CONNORS beat Ilie Nastase 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 to win his fourth "heavyweight championship" and $250,000 at Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico.
Bjorn Borg defeated Brian Gottfried 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to win the U.S. National Indoor Championships and $28,000 in Memphis.
Sue Barker beat Virginia Wade 6-3, 6-4 in the finals of the Virginia Slims in San Francisco. Barker's first tournament win of the year netted her $20,000.
TRACK & FIELD—The U.S. men's and women's team won a triangular meet in Toronto, handily defeating the U.S.S.R. and Canada. Notable American winners included: JANE FREDERICK (triathlon, 2.887 points and 50-yard hurdles, 6.3); TOMMY HAYNES (long jump, 26'2¼" and triple, 55'3"); STEVE RIDDICK (50-yard dash, 5.2) and FRANCIE LARRIEU LUTZ (mile, 4:36 and two-mile, 9:59.6).
MILEPOSTS—RESIGNED: RED HOLZMAN, 56, as coach of the New York Knicks, effective at the end of the season. Holzman, who coached the Knicks to the NBA championship in 1970 and 1973, has a career record of 538-430 in 14 seasons with the Knicks. Milwaukee and St. Louis.