PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: For the first time all season, Boston hit a slump. Kansas City, which has won three straight, was the first of three teams to knock off the Celtics. The score was 94-88, and the defeat ended Boston's six-game victory string. After squeaking by Detroit 118-114, the Celtics lost at home for the first time this season, Central Division leader Atlanta turning that trick by a score of 120-92. The Celtics later beat Phoenix 100-92 before falling 116-100 to Cleveland, which has won 10 in a row on its home floor. Philadelphia, the new Atlantic front-runner, defeated San Antonio 132-120, despite 42 points from George Gervin, and Phoenix 117-96 for its seventh and eighth consecutive wins. Gervin, the league's top scorer, was also hot against Houston and Milwaukee. He poured in 37 in a 138-129 win over the Rockets, which got 34 points and 18 rebounds from Moses Malone, and 39 in a 117-105 defeat of the Midwest Division-leading Bucks. Paced by Dan feel's 36 points and 16 rebounds, Denver also beat Milwaukee, 123-107, as did Los Angeles. Leading the way in the Lakers' 116-103 win were Magic Johnson, who had 23 points and 13 assists, and Norm Nixon, who had 25 and nine. Los Angeles subsequently defeated the Spurs 127-121 and the Rockets 116-114, Nixon scoring 53 points in the two games. The Lakers' only loss was to San Diego. Clipper Lloyd Free, the league's second leading scorer, poured in 42 points in his team's 116-108 win, and Swen Nater, the No. 2 re-bounder, had 28 points and 27 rebounds. L.A. dropped to one game behind Pacific Division leader Seattle, which beat Golden State twice, 111-98 and 125-100.
WBL: With Molly Bolin scoring 31 points, unbeaten Iowa defeated Washington 97-88 and then handed the Houston Angels their first loss, 113-93. San Francisco won three straight, including a 102-89 victory over New Jersey, in which the Gems' Ann Meyers faced her former UCLA teammate Anita Ortega. Ortega scored 29 points to Meyers' 23.
BOXING—JOSE (PIPINO) CUEVAS retained his WBA welterweight crown with a 10th-round knockout of Angel Espada in Los Angeles.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—DELAWARE defeated Youngstown State 38-21 in Albuquerque to win the NCAA Division II championship.
December 17, 1979
Findlay routed Northwestern (Iowa) College 51-6 in Findlay, Ohio to win the NAIA Division II title.
PRO FOOTBALL—With only one week of regular-season play remaining, four of six division races are still undecided. Clinching on the penultimate weekend were Los Angeles, which routed Atlanta 34-13 for its seventh straight NFC West title (page 71), and Miami, which beat Detroit 28-10 to win its first AFC East championship since 1974. Starring for the Rams were Wendell Tyler, who rushed for 138 yards on 18 carries, and a defense that forced five turnovers. The heroes for the Dolphins were Bob Griese, who completed 17 of 22 passes in his first start since being benched three weeks ago, and the Jets, whose 27-26 upset of New England eliminated the Patriots from the division race. For the third consecutive week Tampa Bay failed to clinch the NFC Central title. This time lowly San Francisco turned the trick by a score of 23-7 as 49er Quarterback Steve DeBerg hit 22 of his 30 passes. San Francisco also got a lot of help from Buc signal-caller Doug Williams, who threw five interceptions. Tampa Bay's defeat keeps Chicago, a 15-14 winner over Green Bay, in the chase for a playoff berth. Also alive as a contender for a postseason spot is Cleveland, despite losing 19-14 to Oakland. While Mike Pruitt had 149 yards rushing for the Browns, the Raiders relied mainly on the toe of Jim Breech, who booted four field goals, and the arm of Ken Stabler, who completed 23 of 34 attempts. Cliff Branch, whose two fourth-quarter touchdown receptions lifted Oakland to a 42-35 win over New Orleans on Monday night, had six catches for 81 yards and one TD against the Browns. San Diego handed the Saints their second defeat in six days. Charger Quarterback Dan Fouts connected on 17 of 23 passes for 253 yards in the 35-0 rout that, coupled with Seattle's 28-23 victory over Denver, gives San Diego a one-game lead in the AFC West. Against the Broncos, Jim Zorn threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns, both scored by Steve Largent. Dallas guaranteed itself at least a wild-card berth in the playoffs by beating Philadelphia 24-17. The loss drops the Eagles back into a tie for the lead in the NFC East with the Cowboys and Washington, which upended Cincinnati 28-14 behind the 23-for-34 passing of Joe Theismann, John Riggins' 95-yard rushing performance and six sacks by the defense. In other games, St. Louis' Ottis Anderson rambled for 140 yards in a 29-20 defeat of the Giants, Kansas City beat Baltimore 10-7, and Minnesota knocked off Buffalo 10-3.
GOLF—DAVE EICHELBERGER and MURLE BREER shot a 20-under-par 268 to win a $400,000 mixed team tournament in Largo, Fla.
GYMNASTICS—The SOVIET UNION won the men's team championship and ROMANIA the women's title at the World Championships in Fort Worth. The U.S. men's and women's teams finished third and sixth, respectively. ALEKSANDR DITIATIN and NELLI KIM of the U.S.S.R. were the men's and women's all-around winners (page 24).
HOCKEY—Philadelphia, which ran its unbeaten streak to 23 games with a victory and two ties, isn't the only team working on an impressive streak; Buffalo won its fifth, sixth and seventh consecutive games. Paced by Rick Martin, who scored twice in each game, the Sabres beat Washington 2-0 and Atlanta 6-1. Danny Gare and Ric Seiling each had a pair of goals in a 5-3 defeat of Colorado that gave the Sabres 39 points, only three fewer than league-leading Philadelphia. Montreal, which is third in points with 36, defeated Los Angeles 5-2 to snap a three-game winless streak. Guy Lafleur had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, who earlier had skated to a 3-3 tie with the Rangers and lost 3-2 to Toronto. A 2-2 tie with the Flyers gave Boston its 34th point of the season—fourth best in the league—but its only one in its last five starts. Meanwhile, the two teams in the New York metropolitan area, the Islanders and Rangers, lost only one of seven games between them (page 32).
SKIING—Switzerland's MARIE-THERES NADIG won the downhill in 1:20.76 and the giant slalom in 2:45.09 at the first World Cup races of the season in Val-d'Isère, France. In the men's competition, PETER WIRNSBERGER of Austria was the downhill winner in 2:01.83, and INGEMAR STENMARK placed first in the giant slalom with a time of 2:37.61.
SOCCER—SOUTHERN ILLINOIS at Edwardsville beat Clemson 3-2 in Tampa to win the NCAA championship (page 80).
TENNIS—BJORN BORG beat Jimmy Connors 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to win the WCT Challenge Cup in Montreal.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: Winner of the Heisman Trophy, Southern California Running Back CHARLES WHITE.
RESIGNED: As coach of the St. Louis Blues because of ill health, BARCLAY PLAGER, who had guided the club to a 35-77-22 record since taking over in February of 1978. Red Berenson was named interim coach.
TRADED: By Toronto, First Baseman CHRIS CHAMBLISS, 30, a .280 hitter last season, whom the Blue Jays acquired from the Yankees in November, and Infielder LUIS GOMEZ, 28, who batted .239 last year, to Atlanta for Outfielder BARRY BONNELL, 26, who hit .259 in 1979, Reliever JOEY McLAUGHLIN, 23, who had a 5-3 record with a 2.48 ERA, and minor league Infielder PAT ROCKETT, 24.
By Cleveland, Outfielder BOBBY BONDS, 33, a .275 hitter last season, to St. Louis for Pitcher JOHN DENNY, 27, who was 8-11 with a 4.85 ERA, and Outfielder JERRY MUMPHREY, 27, who hit .295.
By Detroit, Outfielder RON LeFLORE, 31, who batted .300 and stole 78 bases in 1979, to Montreal for Pitcher DAN SCHATZEDER, 25, who had a 10-5 record and a 2.83 ERA, lowest among N.L. lefthanders.
By Kansas City, Outfielder AL COWENS, 28, who batted .295 last season, Shortstop TODD CRUZ, 24, a .203 hitter in 1979, and a player to be named later, to California for WILLIE MAYS AIKENS, a 25-year-old first baseman who hit .280, and Shortstop RANCE MULLINIKS, 23, who had a .147 average.
DIED: EDDIE GOTTLIEB, 81, one of the founders of the NBA and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame; in Philadelphia. As coach and general manager of Philadelphia in 1946-47, he guided the Warriors to the first league title. He later owned the team. For 31 years he designed the entire NBA schedule by himself.