PRO BASKETBALL—Philadelphia continued to prosper, winning four straight to take over the Atlantic Division lead. Julius Erving averaged 23.5 points in the four games and Lloyd Free came off the bench to score 29 points in the Sixers' 121-112 defeat of Boston. New York, half a game behind after a 123-103 loss to Washington, bounced back to beat Indiana 129-127 in overtime, as rookie Ray Williams scored 28 points. The Bullets also defeated Kansas City 131-125 and Seattle 111-109 to climb out of the Central Division cellar. Cleveland and Atlanta, both 1-2 for the week, were still tied for the lead. San Antonio, which had its five-game winning streak snapped by Denver 105-94, was half a game back. David Thompson scored 26 points for the Nuggets in that game and put in 33 more to help down Detroit 123-113, giving Denver a 2½-game lead in the Midwest. Chicago lost its only game, 103-101, to Phoenix; three Bulls drew technicals as did Coach Ed Badger, who was ejected—all in the space of 22 seconds. New Orleans broke a six-game losing streak, downing Seattle 127-116. Truck Robinson pumped in 33 points and Pete Maravich, who had been averaging 26.4 points, took just five shots but was credited with 15 assists. His average hardly suffered thanks to a 39-point performance two nights later in a 103-101 defeat of Houston. Boston had a three-game winning streak, including a 127-119 overtime conquest of Milwaukee that boosted its record to 4-10. Portland remained on top in the Pacific, beating Milwaukee 109-106, when Bill Walton, who had a season-high of 32 points, scored with 36 seconds remaining. The Blazers then won their 26th straight at home, walloping the Cavs 109-67, the lowest NBA score in three years. Phoenix won both its games to take over second place, while Golden State dropped to third when it blew a 35-14 second-quarter lead to fall to the Lakers 97-95. L.A. also downed Detroit 116-83 as eight Lakers scored in double figures.
BOWLING—Leaving only the No. 4 pin in the 10th frame, MARSHALL HOLMAN of Medford, Ore., defeated Mark Roth 277-250, to win the $100,000 World Open at Glendale Heights, Ill.
BOXING—VICTOR GALINDEZ of Argentina retained his WBA light heavyweight title by narrowly outpointing Brooklyn's Eddie Gregory in Turin, Italy.
Jose Pipino Cuevas of Mexico successfully defended his WBA welterweight title in San Juan with an 11th-round TKO of Luis Espada.
In Los Angeles, JORGE LUJAN of Panama won the WBA bantamweight crown by knocking out Mexico's Alfonso Zamora in the 10th round, and GUTTY ESPADAS of Mexico retained his WBA flyweight title on an eighth-round KO of Alex Santana of Nicaragua.
CROSS-COUNTRY—IOWA STATE retained the AIAW championship at Georgetown, Texas, despite having only one runner in the top 15. KATHY MILLS of Penn State won the individual championship, covering the hilly 5,000-meter course in 16:50.2.
PRO FOOTBALL—Denver gained a one-game edge on defending champion Oakland in the AFC West by defeating Kansas City 14-7 as the Raiders lost to San Diego 12-7. Bronco Quarterback Craig Morton put the Broncos ahead with a 23-yard TD pass to Haven Moses with 4½ minutes to play; Kansas City had four cracks at the Denver goal line from one yard out with less than a minute left but failed to score. Rookie Rolf Benirschke, cut by Oakland in the preseason, kicked field goals of 22 and 46 yards to lead the Chargers over Oakland, which played without injured Ken Stabler after the first quarter. Dallas lost twice—first to St. Louis on Monday night 24-17, then to Pittsburgh 28-13, as Franco Harris ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. By beating the Cowboys and defeating Philadelphia 21-16, St. Louis moved to within a game of Dallas in the NFC East. Los Angeles lengthened its lead in the NFC West by downing San Francisco 23-10. Second-place Atlanta continued to fade, losing to New Orleans 21-20 on Archie Manning's 18-yard scoring pass to Henry Childs in the final two minutes. Bert Jones passed for touchdowns of 53, 33 and 28 yards to lead Baltimore past the New York Jets 33-12. Cincinnati stunned Miami 23-17 on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Ken Anderson to Bob Trumpy off a triple reverse. Cleveland struggled past the Giants 21-7, and New England had to score twice in the fourth quarter to down Buffalo 20-7. Houston defeated Seattle 22-10, and Detroit beat Tampa Bay 16-7. Walter Payton ran for an NFL record 275 yards in Chicago's 10-7 conquest of Minnesota (page 26).
HOCKEY—NHL: General Manager John Ferguson must be seething over the reluctance of the New York Rangers to provide stars Phil Esposito and Carol Vadnais with the type of physical protection that Ferguson himself once provided at Montreal for teammates such as Jean Beliveau and Yvan Cournoyer. The Rangers inexplicably made Esposito fight his own battle against Chicago's tough John Marks, and they stood around and watched Vadnais take a couple of shellackings. The Rangers won only one of three games and were in last place in the Patrick Division. Detroit blitzed St. Louis 10-1 with its biggest outburst in three seasons, then edged the Blues 2-1 on Nick Libett's goal with 16 seconds to play. Montreal scored twice in the last four minutes to stun Chicago 3-2, then beat Colorado 4-1 and stopped L.A. 4-2 to open an eight-point lead over the Kings in the Norris race. The New York Islanders blew a 3-0 lead over Philadelphia when the Flyers erupted for four third-period goals, but Bryan Trottier's score with 10 seconds to play gave the Islanders a 4-4 tie. Trot-tier had five points in New York's 9-2 rout of Vancouver to increase his league-leading total to 34.
WHA: Birmingham owner John Bassett was suspended for six months by League President Howard Baldwin for violating WHA rules with his court-approved signing of underaged amateur Ken Linseman last month. On the ice, Birmingham made news by trading Czechoslovakian Center Vaclav Nedomansky and Right Wing Tim Sheehy to the NHL Red Wings for tough guys Steve Durbano and Dave Hanson in the biggest ever WHA-NHL player swap. The Bulls then tied Winnipeg 2-2 and beat Houston 4-3. New England won its 12th straight, 3-2 over Winnipeg, and had a four-point lead and three games in hand over the second-place Jets.
HORSE RACING—Proving their victory in the Washington, D.C. International was no fluke, Steve Cauthen and JOHNNY D. combined again to win the $200,000 Turf Classic at Aqueduct, covering the 1½ miles in 2:33[1/5].
TENNIS—JIMMY CONNORS beat Roscoe Tanner 6-2, 5-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-5 in the final round of the $320,000 WCT Challenge Cup round-robin in Las Vegas.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: By the North American Soccer League, a Philadelphia franchise for 1978 to a 20-man group, including rock stars Mick Jagger, Peter Frampton and Paul Simon.
FIRED: Manager ALEX GRAMMAS, 50, who had a 133-190 record with the Milwaukee Brewers the past two years.
NAMED: By the Baseball Writers Association of America, Minnesota Twin First Baseman ROD CAREW, 32, as 1977 American League MVP. The AL batting champion for the sixth time, Carew hit .3880—highest in the majors since Ted Williams' .3881 in 1957—and had 239 hits, the most since Bill Terry's 254 in 1930.
SIGNED: By the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of baseball's free-agent reentry draft, Outfielder LARRY HISLE, 30, who led the American League with 119 RBIs while playing for the Minnesota Twins last season, to a $3 million "lifetime" contract.
DIED: SILKY SULLIVAN, 22, in his stall at Green Oaks Stables in Pleasanton, Calif. In 1958 the California colt came from 30 lengths back to win the Santa Anita Derby and was a favorite for the Kentucky Derby but failed to fire and finished 12th.
DIED: DAVEY O'BRIEN, 60, the 5'7", 150-pound Heisman Trophy winner who quarterbacked TCU to an unbeaten season in 1938 and a Sugar Bowl triumph; of cancer; in Fort Worth. O'Brien played two years for the Philadelphia Eagles, in his first season passing for 1,324 yards to break Sammy Baugh's NFL record.
DIED: ROGER PECKINPAUGH, 86, American League shortstop for 17 years and manager of the Cleveland Indians from 1928 to 1933 and in 1941; in Cleveland. At 23, he became the youngest manager in major league history when he assumed the helm of the New York Highlanders for the final two weeks of the 1914 season. In 1925, while playing for the Washington Senators, he was voted MVP, but committed a record eight errors in the World Series.