PRO BASKETBALL—In a battle of division leaders, the 76ers so outplayed the Bucks that Julius Erving had to put on a dunking display to keep the fans in Milwaukee from leaving early. Dr. J. finished with 33 points in Philly's 136-121 victory, which along with wins over Chicago (121-80), Indiana (130-103) and New Jersey (115-108) gave the Sixers the NBA's best record at 15-3. Only the Knicks beat the 76ers, 125-113, ending a 12-game Philadelphia win streak despite Erving's 34 points. New York also defeated the Pistons 149-118 and Cleveland 100-95, but the absence of injured Michael Ray Richardson (sprained right foot) and Campy Russell (bruised right knee) showed in a 125-106 loss to Milwaukee. The Bucks lead second-place Indiana by 4½ games in the Central Division, while the Knicks trail Philly by two in the Atlantic. If Utah had defeated San Antonio, it would have tied the Spurs for first in the Midwest; instead, the Jazz lost 120-104 and fell two games behind. Utah was 3-0 in its other outings, edging the Pacers 108-106, Seattle 114-106 and Houston 117-115. Adrian Dantley outproduced the Rockets' Moses Malone 43-34 in a matchup of the league's top scorers. San Antonio lost 119-113 to Indiana when the Pacers' Billy Knight got 52 points and dropped a 130-127 decision to Phoenix, which received 31 from Walter Davis. Davis also sank two free throws with five seconds left to give the first-place Suns a 109-107 win over San Diego and keep them 1½ games ahead of the Lakers in the Pacific Division. Six days after the Mavericks' Dick Motta became the fourth coach to work 1,000 NBA games, Portland's Jack Ramsay became the fifth, but neither had much to celebrate; in each case, No. 1,000 was a loss, and Dallas and the Blazers are in last place in their divisions.
BOXING—JEFF CHANDLER knocked out Julian Solis in the 14th round to win the WBA bantamweight title in Miami.
PRO FOOTBALL—Two New England losses and Buffalo's 14-0 shutout of Cincinnati moved the Bills into first place in the AFC East. The Patriots, who entered the week with a half-game lead, lost 38-34 to Houston on Monday despite Steve Grogan's 374 yards passing, good for three TDs. They then fell 17-14 to Los Angeles on Sunday after fumbling the ball away on the Rams' two-yard line late in the game. The Oilers' victory, coupled with their 10-6 win over Chicago on Sunday, gave them sole possession of first in the AFC Central, but Los Angeles' triumph still left the Rams a game behind NFC West-leading Atlanta, which beat the Saints 31-13 (page 26). Pittsburgh helped Houston take over first by defeating Cleveland 16-13 on Terry Bradshaw's three-yard touchdown pass to Lynn Swann with 11 seconds to play. In the NFC Central, Minnesota tied Detroit for the lead by beating Tampa Bay 38-30 while the Lions were losing 10-9 to Baltimore. The Vikings needed every inch of Tommy Kramer's 324 passing yards to overcome the Bucs' Doug Williams, who threw for 486 yards and four TDs. Ron Jaworski tossed a pair of touchdown passes and Linebacker Jerry Robinson returned a fumble 59 yards for a score as the Eagles beat Washington 24-0 to keep their two-game lead over Dallas in the NFC East. The Cowboys came from behind to beat St. Louis 31-21, with Drew Pearson catching three passes to replace Bob Hayes as Dallas' most prolific career receiver. Ottis Anderson ran 51 yards for one of the Cards' touchdowns. Green Bay couldn't stop the Giants' Phil Simms-to-Earnest Gray hookup, which worked for TDs of 50, 20 and four yards in New York's 27-21 win, and a former Giant, Craig Morton, threw for 306 yards to lead Denver over the Jets 31-24. San Francisco lost for the eighth time in a row, 17-13 to Miami, while San Diego defeated the Chiefs 20-7.
HARNESS RACING—NIATROSS, driven by Clint Galbraith, set a world mile record for pacers of 1:52[1/5] in winning the American Pacing Classic's $25,000 second leg at Hollywood Park by 10 lengths over Craig Dell. The colt broke his own race mark of 1:52⅘ set Aug. 16 in Syracuse, N.Y.
HOCKEY—The Blues won three of four games to move from fourth to second in the NHL standings, but made up no ground on league-leading Philadelphia, which went 3-0. After defeating Edmonton 6-4, St. Louis handed Vancouver its first home loss of the season, 8-2. Blake Dunlop and Wayne Babych each had a pair of goals against the Canucks. Babych then scored the game-winner in a 5-3 triumph over the Kings. The victories gave St. Louis 25 points, two more than the Kings (page 75) and North Stars, who were tied for third, but three fewer than Philadelphia. The Flyers stretched their unbeaten streak to 13 by defeating Quebec 3-1, Edmonton 8-1 and Detroit 5-2. Bill Barber got two goals against the Oilers and the 300th of his career against the Wings. Garry Unger scored his 400th in L.A.'s only win of the week, 4-1 over the Rangers. Minnesota, which had been tied for eighth, jumped to third by defeating Chicago twice, 7-1 and 5-2, and Hartford 5-1; the Stars also came back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the Islanders 6-6. New York's Mike Bossy had four goals in that draw, which was as close as the Islanders came to defeat. A 4-2 win over Toronto and a 4-1 victory over Buffalo, snapping the Sabres' 10-game unbeaten streak, lifted the Isles to fifth, their loftiest rank this season. Curiously, New York chose to return 20-year-old Goalie Roland Melanson to the minors after he had given the team four wins and a tie in five games. The Canadiens and Bruins came to life with unbeaten weeks. Montreal scored five goals on eight shots in the second period while routing Colorado 8-2, and defeated the Kings 8-4 on three goals and an assist from Steve Shutt and one goal and four assists from Guy Lafleur. Boston beat Pittsburgh twice by 7-4 scores; the Bruins' Dwight Foster had two goals in each game. Boston also tied Detroit 4-4 and Winnipeg 5-5. Washington's Dennis Maruk had back-to-back hat tricks as the Caps ended a nine-game winless streak by defeating the Penguins 3-1 and Hartford 8-4.
HORSE RACING—In the Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds at Santa Anita, SIR DANCER ($20), Frank Olivares up, won the $163,300 first division by half a length over Chiaroscuro, covering the 1[1/16] miles in 1:43⅘ while Larry Gilligan rode HIGH COUNSEL ($6.40) to a ¾-length victory over Regalberto in the $163,300 second division, finishing in 1:42[4/5].
John Henry ($5), Laffit Pincay Jr. up, won the $200,000 Oak Tree Invitational at Santa Anita by 1½ lengths over Balzac. The 5-year-old gelding's time for the 1½ miles was 2:23[2/5].
MOTOR SPORTS—BENNY PARSONS, averaging 129.441 mph, drove his Chevrolet to a 6.3-second victory over Neil Bonnett's Mercury in the $205,760 Los Angeles Times 500 in Ontario, Calif. By finishing fifth, Dale Earnhardt clinched the NASCAR Grand National driving title (page 78).
POWER BOATING—MICHAEL MEYNARD, averaging 87 mph in his 38-foot Cougar Cat, won the World Offshore title by 53 seconds over two-time defending champion Betty Cook. He covered the 200 miles in Port Phillip Bay off Melbourne, Australia in 2:24.57.
TENNIS—JOHN McENROE won a $175,000 tournament in Wembley, England, beating Gene Mayer 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the finals.
Bjorn Borg defeated John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4 to win the $175,000 Stockholm Open.
Ivan Lendl beat Brian Teacher 6-7, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 to win the $75,000 Taipei tennis championships.
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: To manage the Texas Rangers, DON ZIMMER, 49, whose record as skipper of the Padres (1972-73) and Red Sox (1976-80) was 525-404.
NAMED: Winner of the American League Cy Young award, Baltimore Righthander STEVE STONE, 33, who led the majors with 25 victories and had a 3.23 ERA.
RETIRED: Two-time All-Pro Running Back OTIS ARMSTRONG, 30, who led the NFL with 1,407 yards rushing in 1974 and finished with 4,413 yards in eight seasons, all with Denver. Bronco team doctors advised him to quit after they found he has a spinal disorder.
SIGNED: By Atlanta, to a five-year contract paying $2.5 million, free-agent Outfielder CLAUDELL WASHINGTON, 26, who hit .289 with the White Sox and .275 with the Mets last season.
DIED: Former world water-speed record-holder (1967-78) LEE TAYLOR, 46, whose boat disintegrated as he tried to break Ken Warby's 1978 record of 317.6 mph, on Lake Tahoe in Nevada (page 30).