PRO BASKETBALL—With at least five players scoring in double figures in each game, Atlantic Division leader Washington (page 20) went 3-0 and opened up a 2½-game margin over second-place Philadelphia, which won only once in three starts. After defeating Chicago 111-98, the 76ers lost 123-96 to lowly Indiana for their worst defeat of the season, as Pacer Forward Alex English, who had scored 27 in a 108-102 victory over Milwaukee, pumped in 30. Philadelphia then dropped a 143-139 overtime decision to Phoenix as Alvan Adams and Walter Davis combined for 65 points. The Suns, who have beaten five of their last seven opponents and won two of three games away from home took over first place from Seattle in the Pacific Division. Midwest Division leader Kansas City and second-place Denver won three games apiece, losing only to each other. Led by George McGinnis' 28 points, the Nuggets edged the Kings 99-97 in K.C., but the following night in Denver, rookie Phil Ford scored 26 and Kansas City preserved its four-game lead with a 108-101 victory. San Antonio maintained its 1½-game margin over second-place Houston in the Central Division by defeating New Orleans 123-97 and New Jersey 110-104 before succumbing to the Knicks 108-105. Bob McAdoo poured in 38 points for the winners, and Larry Kenon scored 35 for the Spurs, who have lost only two of their last 14 games. Down by seven points with 58 seconds remaining in regulation time, Houston overcame Los Angeles 115-112 in overtime to keep pace with the Spurs. Moses Malone pulled down 23 rebounds and scored 29 points for the Rockets, who earlier had beaten the Nets 127-122 and lost to Atlanta 109-106.
BOWLING—On the same day he was named to the American Bowling Congress' Hall of Fame CARMEN SALVINO defeated Mike Berlin 192-170 to win a $100,000 PBA tournament in Anaheim, Calif.
BOXING—YOKO GUSHIKEN of Japan retained his WBA junior flyweight title in Kawasaki with a seventh-round knockout of Venezuela's Rigoberto Marcano.
PRO FOOTBALL—DALLAS whipped Los Angeles 28-0 in the NFC title game, and PITTSBURGH routed Houston 34-5 for the AFC championship (page 12).
GYMNASTICS—KURT THOMAS scored 58.15 points to win the men's all-round title by 1.65 points over Jim Hartung in the Albuquerque Journal Invitational. DONNA TURNBOW, who had 37.50 points, won the women's title by .65 points over Annette Michler and Amy Manchamer.
HOCKEY—NHL: Streaks came to an end for both the Islanders and the Canadiens. After routing Vancouver 9-0 in a game that featured a hat trick by Mike Bossy and four assists by Bryan Trottier, who leads the league in scoring with 66 points, the Islanders traveled to Philadelphia, where they lost for the first time in seven games, 3-2. Trottier failed to score at least one point for the first time in 17 games. Two days later the Islanders avenged that defeat with a 5-1 victory in a game maimed by a disgraceful donnybrook that produced 180 minutes in penalties and 10 ejections. The Rangers snapped Montreal's unbeaten streak at 15 with their second straight victory over the Canadiens this season, 6-2. The next night Steve Jensen's goal with one minute to play gave Los Angeles a 5-4 win over the Canadiens in Montreal. Los Angeles, which won three of four, beat Pittsburgh 4-3 to regain second place in the Norris Division from the Penguins. In the league's only close race, Chicago increased its Smythe Division lead from two to three points as second-place Vancouver lost all but one of five games. Paced by Ted Bulley's hat trick, the Black Hawks beat Toronto 5-3. Boston won four straight and increased its Adams Division lead to 21 points.
WHA: The league's all-stars swept a three-game series with Moscow Dynamo. The WHA won the first two by 4-2 scores as the Wayne Gretzky-Mark Howe-Gordie Howe line accounted for five goals and seven assists. Goals by Serge Bernier, Peter Sullivan, Rob Ramage and Morris Lukowich gave the WHA a 4-3 win in the third game. In the only games that counted in the league standings, the Czechoslovakian All-Stars beat Cincinnati 4-1 and tied Winnipeg 3-3.
HORSE RACING—LITTLE REB ($13.80), Frank Olivares up, defeated Radar Ahead by 2¼ lengths to win the $65,200 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old covered the seven furlongs in 1:21. Triple Crown winner Affirmed finished third.
TENNIS—GUILLERMO VILAS defeated John Marks 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to win the $345,000 Australian Open in Melbourne. Chris O'Neill beat Betsy Nagelsen 6-3, 7-6 in the women's final.
John McEnroe and PETER FLEMING beat Ilie Nastase and Sherwood Stewart 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 to win the $200,000 WCT World Doubles Championship in London.
Tracy Austin defeated Martina Navratilova 6-3, 6-2 to win a $125,000 Avon tournament in Washington, D.C. (page 80).
TRACK & FIELD—JOHN WALKER of New Zealand broke the world indoor record for the 1,500-meter run at the Muhammad Ali Invitational in Long Beach, Calif. His time of 3:37.4 was .4 of a second faster than the record set by Harald Norpoth of West Germany in 1971. HERMAN FRAZIER of the Philadelphia Pioneers broke the world indoor record for the 500-meter run. His time of 1:01.2 was .1 of a second faster than the record he set at the same meet last year (page 86).
MILEPOSTS—FOLDED: World Team Tennis' Anaheim Oranges, leaving the league with just three franchises.
HIRED: By the U.S. Military Academy to replace football Coach Homer Smith, LOU SABAN, 57, who won two AFL championships (1964 and '65) with Buffalo and most recently had a two year record of 9-13 at the University of Miami. HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, 44, offensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins for seven of the past nine years and head coach of the Colts in 1973 and part of 1974, will replace Saban.
REINSTATED: By NHL President John Ziegler, New York Ranger Right Wing DON MURDOCH, 22, after sitting out 40 games of an 80-game suspension following his conviction in Canada for possession of a small amount of cocaine.
RESIGNED: Citing poor health, Oakland Raiders Coach JOHN MADDEN, 42, who had a 10-year record of 112-39-7 and directed the Raiders to seven division titles and a Super Bowl championship. Only one other modern-era coach, Don Shula, has won more than 100 games in 10 seasons, and Madden's .742 winning percentage is tops among coaches with 100 victories.
TRADED: By the New York Knicks, Forward SPENCER HAYWOOD, 29, to the New Orleans Jazz for 25-year-old reserve Center JOE MERIWEATHER. Haywood, an MVP in the ABA and a four-time NBA All-Star, has scored 17.8 points per game this season, mostly as a substitute. Meriweather has averaged 6.1 points.
DIED: ANDY GUSTAFSON, 75, former University of Miami football coach (1948-63) and athletic director (1964-68); of a stroke; in Miami. Gustafson had a 93-65-3 record and took the Hurricanes to four bowls.