PRO BASKETBALL—Seattle (2-2) squeaked by Philadelphia 99-97 as reserve Guard Fred Brown rallied the Sonics from a 16-point deficit. He scored 18 points in the last quarter—32 all told—to pass Spencer Haywood as the team's alltime leading scorer with 8,162 points. Atlanta (3-1) climbed into a tie with New Orleans in the battle for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks defeating Buffalo 119-117. Later, Atlanta trounced Boston 117-85, its widest margin of victory this season. Snapping a three-game losing streak, Chicago (1-1) defeated Phoenix 126-115. Never losing their first-quarter lead, the Knicks (3-0) beat San Antonio 138-123. Two nights later New York beat Portland 128-117, its fourth straight win and the first time in 19 games that the Trail Blazers had been outscored from the field. The Knicks got win No. 5 against Boston, 99-91, its longest winning streak since Jan. 24, 1976. It was an exciting final quarter in New Jersey: Coach Kevin Loughery received his 30th technical foul of the season, the Hawks called an illegal eighth timeout—which probably cost them the game—and New Jersey (1-2) scored four points in the last 10 seconds for a 97-95 win over the Hawks. Although missing Bill Walton, who will be out for an estimated three weeks for surgery on his right foot, Portland rebounded from its loss to New York, defeating Cleveland 105-100. Elvin Hayes blocked a team-record 11 shots and tied the season league high held by Artis Gilmore, to lead Washington to a 124-108 win over Detroit.
GOLF—MAC McLENDON fired a 17-under-par 271 for a two-stroke victory over David Graham in Orlando's $200,000 Florida Citrus Open.
Debbie Austin beat Donna Caponi Young by 10 strokes to win the Australian Women's Championship in Sydney with a nine-under-par 213.
HOCKEY—NHL: Chasing his third straight scoring championship, Montreal's Guy Lafleur broke Bryan Trottier's 15-week hold on the scoring lead by scoring five goals and five assists while the Canadiens were launching another unbeaten streak with victories over the Islanders, Red Wings, Penguins and Flyers. Trottier, who has a badly bruised back, had only two assists—the Islanders split their four games; they beat Toronto and Pittsburgh but lost to Montreal and Buffalo—and trailed Lafleur 107 points to 102. Montreal also clinched the Norris Division title, and with five weeks to go led second-place Los Angeles by 39 points. Boston tied Buffalo for first place in the Adams Division by routing the Sabres 7-3 as Peter McNab and Stan Jonathan had two goals apiece; the Bruins also have three games in hand on the Sabres. Toronto's Darryl Sittler had his goal-a-game streak stopped at nine by the Islanders, but he started a new string the next night when he scored the winning goal in the Maple Leafs' 3-2 defeat of Philadelphia and continued it with his 39th goal of the year in the Leafs' 4-3 triumph over Vancouver. St. Louis swept a pair from Minnesota, 7-1 and 3-2, and tied Washington 3-3; the Blues have lost only three of 10 games since Barclay Plager replaced Leo Boivin as coach. In the three-team minirace for what most likely will be the final two wild-card spots in the playoffs, Detroit had 57 points, Pittsburgh 56 and the New York Rangers 55. The Rangers helped their cause with a 3-2 win over the Red Wings on a third-period goal by Phil Esposito. Philadelphia had an almost disastrous week; the Flyers lost to Montreal 7-1 (their 12th straight nonwinning effort against Les Canadiens) and Toronto 3-2, but eked out a 4-4 tie at Boston on Rick MacLeish's goal with 24 seconds to play. The Islanders led the Flyers by eight points in the Patrick Division.
March 13, 1978
WHA: Sixth-place Birmingham ended Winnipeg's record 15-game unbeaten streak by beating the Jets 4-3 on Dave Hanson's goal in the third period. In that same game Bobby Hull of Winnipeg scored the 998th goal of his career—his 42nd of the season. Two nights later Hull got No. 999, but the Jets lost their second straight, falling to Cincinnati 5-1 as Robbie Ftorek, last season's MVP, scored his 43rd, 44th and 45th goals of the year. Still, the Jets led second-place New England by 12 points.
HORSE RACING—ALYDAR ($3.80), Jorge Velasquez up, won the $159,000 Flamingo Stakes by 4½ lengths over Noon Time Spender. The 3-year-old Calumet colt covered the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:47,[1/5] of a second off the stakes record set by Honest Pleasure in 1976 (page 20).
Vigors ($3.80), ridden by Darrel McHargue, won the $300,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 2½ lengths over Mr. Redoy. The 5-year-old colt was timed in 2:01[1/5] for the 1¼ miles.
MOTOR SPORTS—RONNIE PETERSON, driving a Lotus Ford, finished .4 of a second ahead of Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell Ford to win the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. Peterson averaged 117.4 mph for the 78 laps of the 2.5-mile course.
SKIING—STEVE MAHRE won his first World Cup event, the slalom, at Stratton, Vt., and his twin brother PHIL took the giant slalom, his second straight World Cup triumph. This was the first time American skiers had won three successive events in this competition. Ingemar Stenmark, who was runner-up in the slalom, has clinched the title in that event, the giant slalom, and the overall Cup title for the third consecutive year.
The UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO won its seventh straight NCAA championship title in Franconia, N.H., defeating second-place Wyoming by 31 points.
TENNIS—JIMMY CONNORS defeated Tim Gullikson 7-6, 6-3 to win the $225,000 U.S. National Indoor in Memphis.
Martina Navratilova won her seventh straight tournament, the $100,000 Virginia Slims in Kansas City, defeating Billie Jean King 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
TRACK & FIELD—JAN MERRILL set a women's world indoor record of 8:57.6 for the 3,000 meters at the Canadian championships in Montreal. The former mark, held by Francie Larrieu, was 9:02.4.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: DON BEASLEY, 35, as basketball coach at Jacksonville University. Beasley's teams had a three-year record of 37-46.
NAMED: DICK WALTERS, 30, as basketball coach at the University of Evansville, after seven years at the College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, Ill.), where his teams had a 198-55 record. His predecessor at Evansville, Bobby Watson, was killed in an airplane crash on Dec. 13, along with the entire team.
NAMED: Former Oklahoma Coach BUD WILKINSON, 61, as coach of the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals, replacing Don Coryell, who was fired in February. Wilkinson guided the Sooners to a 145-29-4 record and three national championships (1950, '55, '56).
RESIGNED: Top South African tennis pro, RAY MOORE, from his country's Davis Cup team. Moore withdrew for political and personal reasons.
SIGNED: SHEP MESSING, 28, goalkeeper for the 1977 NASL champion Cosmos, to a one-year contract with the Oakland Stompers. His salary, about $100,000, makes him the highest-paid American in the league.