PRO BASKETBALL—In a matchup of the NBA's two hottest teams, Kansas City edged the Bullets 110-109 in Washington (page 30). Otis Birdsong's 30 points and rookie Phil Ford's floor play led the Kings who, by winning eight of their last 10 games, have taken a three-game lead over struggling Denver in the Midwest Division. Washington, which had won nine straight, moved into first in the Atlantic Division by beating Golden State 110-102, New York 133-106 and New Orleans 117-115. Pete Maravich scored 37 in that game, and his total of 60 points lifted the Jazz to a 107-103 victory over the 76ers in a game viewed by an NBA regular-season record crowd of 35,139 at the Superdome and a 111-105 triumph over the Nuggets. New Orleans finished the week by dropping a 128-94 game to Central Division leader Atlanta, which has won nine of its last 12 games. Led by Jack Sikma, who scored a season-high 29 points, Pacific Division leader Seattle beat Philadelphia 100-97 to gain a split of four games. With the league's best record (17-6), the Sonics have a one-game lead over second-place Los Angeles, which defeated Phoenix 130-122 and lost to Detroit 105-103 for its first home defeat of the season.
BOXING—Challenger MARVIN JOHNSON of Indianapolis won the WBC light heavyweight title in Sicily with a 10th-round TKO of Yugoslavia's Mate Parlov.
BOWLING—WAYNE WEBB defeated Roy Buckley 245-177 in the final game to win the $125,000 World Open tournament in Glendale Heights, Ill.
PRO FOOTBALL—Pittsburgh (AFC Central), Dallas (NFC East) and Los Angeles (NFC West) each won its division. Led by the AFC's stingiest defense, which forced six turnovers and Earl Campbell out of the game with a rib injury in the first quarter, the Steelers snapped Houston's four-game winning streak 13-3. By gaining 102 yards on 27 carries, Franco Harris became the NFL's fifth-leading career ground-gainer with 7,304 yards and the second runner in league history to pass the 1,000-yard mark six times. New England had outplayed the Cowboys for more than a half when Roger Staubach hit a wide-open Tony Hill with a 40-yard scoring pass that completed a flea-flicker play and tied the game at 10-10. On Dallas' next possession, which came as the result of Harvey Martin's interception of a Steve Grogan pass, Staubach completed a 36-yard touchdown toss to Billy Joe Dupre to clinch a 17-10 win. Four interceptions of Giant passes lifted the Rams to a 20-17 victory. Linebacker Jim Youngblood returned one interception 36 yards to set up Cullen Bryant's six-yard scoring sweep, and Cornerback Pat Thomas ran 33 yards with another for a TD. Interceptions also played a critical role in victories by Miami, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Kansas City. The Dolphins picked off four Joe Theisman passes, and Garo Yepremian, who has not missed in six games, kicked his ninth, 10th and 11th consecutive successful field-goal attempts as Miami beat Washington 16-0. It was the first shutout against the Redskins in seven years. The Cardinals grabbed five Gary Danielson passes en route to a 21-14 win over Detroit. They clinched their fifth victory in their last six games when Jim Hart connected with Dave Stief on a 53-yard TD pass midway through the final period. Interceptions by safeties Scott Perry and Dick Jauron that were returned for scores, and Pete Johnson's two TD runs—one a 50-yarder—gave the Bengals a 37-7 win over Atlanta. After Mike Livingston threw a three-yard scoring pass to Walter White, the Chiefs held on for a 14-10 defeat of Buffalo by intercepting Joe Ferguson three times in the last quarter. Green Bay beat Tampa Bay 17-7, and Minnesota edged Philadelphia 28-27 to remain deadlocked for the lead in the NFC Central. The Packers' David Whitehurst completed 13 of 19 passes, and the injury-riddled Buccaneers had to play without their entire starting backfield. Fran Tarkenton connected on 30 of 56 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns, including a 20-yard strike to Ahmad Rash-ad with 1:49 remaining and the Vikings behind 21-27. Tarkenton ran his season's completion total to 304—16 better than the record Sonny Jurgensen set in 1967—and the Vikings became the first NFL team to have four receivers catch 50 or more passes in one season. With TD catches of 38 and 48 yards, the Jets' Wesley Walker became the first receiver this year to go over the 1,000-yard mark as he led New York to a 24-16 win over Baltimore. New Orleans' Wes Chandler also caught two touchdown passes—one for 12 yards and the other a 58-yarder that he took behind the line of scrimmage—to lift the Saints to a 24-13 victory over San Francisco. The 49ers, who lost to Pittsburgh 24-7 on Monday night, have dropped nine games in a row, and New Orleans has won six games for the first time in the club's history. Paced by David Sims' three scoring runs, Steve Largent's eight receptions for 108 yards and Defensive End Bill Gregory's two fumble recoveries that set up touchdowns, Seattle beat Cleveland 47-24. The Seahawks are in a second-place tie in the AFC West with Oakland, which dropped a 21-6 decision to division-leader Denver (page 26).
December 11, 1978
GOLF—LON HINKLE and PAT BRADLEY defeated Mike Hill and Vivian Brownlee on the first playoff hole to win the $300,000 JCPenney Classic in Largo, Fla. Both pairs finished at 267, 21 under par (page 81).
The UNITED STATES team of JOHN MAHAFFEY and ANDY NORTH won the World Cup in Princeville, Hawaii by 10 strokes over Australia; Mahaffey also won the individual title with a 7-under-par 211.
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: For the first time this season the New York Islanders are in first place in the Patrick Division. Unbeaten in 12 games, they played a 5-5 tie with Los Angeles and beat Colorado 5-2. New York overtook Atlanta, which lost four straight, including two to lowly Minnesota by scores of 4-3 and 5-3. Before beating the Flames, who have dropped eight of their last 11 decisions, the North Stars had lost eight in a row. The Smythe Division also has a new leader in Vancouver, which replaced Chicago. After tying the Canucks 1-1, the Black Hawks lost 5-2 to Pittsburgh, which has won three straight. Meanwhile Vancouver beat St. Louis 6-3, as Ron Sedlbauer had a hat trick and an assist, and Detroit 2-1. Toronto, in second place in the Adams Division, was 3-0 but could not gain ground on Boston because the Bruins were unbeaten in three games, too. The Maple Leafs' final victims were the New York Rangers, who fell by a 5-2 score and saw their streak of consecutive road victories ended at seven. Boston finished its week with a 5-3 win over Philadelphia. With 28 points, the Flyers have six more than Vancouver but are still the Patrick Division's last-place team. In the Norris Division everything went as usual: Montreal won twice and Washington lost four times. While the Capitals were being outscored 26-13, the Canadiens, paced by Guy Lefleur's five goals, were beating the Flyers 3-0 and Buffalo 8-1.
WHA: The race continued to tighten as only five points separated league-leader Cincinnati and No. 5 Winnipeg. Fourth-place Edmonton recorded 8-2 wins over Indianapolis and New England to stretch its winning streak to six. Against the Racers, Stan Weir had a hat trick and Blair McDonald a goal and three assists; against the Whalers, McDonald had three goals and two assists, giving the Weir-McDonald-Brett Callighen line 28 points in its last four games.
TENNIS—The U.S. beat Australia 2-1 to win the Federation Cup in Melbourne. Chris Evert and Billie Jean King defeated Kerry Reid and Wendy Turnbull 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the deciding match.
WATER POLO—STANFORD defeated defending champion California 7-6 in sudden death to win the NCAA championship in Long Beach, Calif.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: Coach of the U.S. swimming team for the 1980 Olympics, GEORGE HAINES, 54, of the Foxcatcher swim club in Newtown Square, Pa. Haines has coached the men's or women's team in five previous Olympics.
NAMED: Winner of the Heisman Trophy, Oklahoma's BILLY SIMS. Only the sixth junior to be voted the award, Sims led the nation in scoring with 20 touchdowns and in rushing with 1,762 yards on 231 carries.
FIRED: Football coaches DOUG DICKEY, 45, of Florida; CAL STOLL, 56, of Minnesota; and BOB COMMINGS, 45, of Iowa. Dickey had a nine-year record of 58-43-2; Stoll a seven-year record of 39-39; and Commings a five-year record of 17-38.
FIRED: By the Cincinnati Reds, Manager SPARKY ANDERSON, 44, who in nine years directed the Reds to two world championships, four pennants, five division titles and second-place finishes the past two seasons. He was twice named National League Manager of the Year, and his 863-586 record makes him the winningest skipper in Cincinnati history. JOHN McNAMARA, 46, former manager of the A's (1969-70) and Padres (1974-77), will replace Anderson.