PRO BASKETBALL—Boston used such a tall lineup against the Knicks that 6'9" Larry Bird played guard. The result was a 120-106 Celtic win in which Boston out-rebounded New York 56-31, blocked 10 Knick shots and got 23 points and nine assists from Bird. But not even the Celts' eighth victory in nine starts was enough to move second-place Boston any closer to the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers, who have won 10 straight and 22 of 23. Philly beat Dallas 108-92 to become the NBA's first 20-game winner, and then edged Houston 101-100 when Julius Erving slapped away a last-second jumper by the Rockets' Allen Leavell. The Sixers also won 116-103 over Portland, whose earlier 126-101 defeat in Boston had been its 15th road loss in a row, and 113-93 over Utah. A 1-2 week dropped the Jazz to 3½ games behind Midwest leader San Antonio, which beat Chicago 125-122 and K.C. 106-104 but lost 124-115 to Houston. Moses Malone spearheaded the Rocket victory with 40 points, while Otis Birdsong had 37 in defeat for the Kings. Pacific Division-leading Phoenix swept four games to run its record to 21-4, the Suns' best ever at this point of the season. The second-place Lakers stayed within three games of Phoenix with wins over Golden State (128-119) and Denver (124-123). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who hit only five of 16 field-goal tries in L.A.'s only loss of the week, 110-94 to the Bucks, scored 40 points in the Lakers' victory over the Warriors. Milwaukee retained its Central Division lead despite a 98-89 defeat in Washington that snapped the Bucks' 11-game road winning streak.
BOXING—SUGAR RAY LEONARD regained the WBC welterweight title from Roberto Duran with an eight-round TKO (page 24).
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad retained his WBA light-heavyweight title with a third-round knockout of Rudi Koopmans in Los Angeles.
Matthew Saad Muhammad knocked out Lottie Mwale in the fourth round to retain the WBC light-heavyweight title in San Diego.
December 8, 1980
Maurice Hope successfully defended his WBC light-middleweight title with a unanimous decision over Carlos Herrera in London.
Carlos DeLeon won the WBC cruiserweight title from Marvin Camel with a split decision in New Orleans.
CROSS-COUNTRY—SULEIMAN NYAMBUI led Texas-El Paso to its third straight team title by winning the NCAA championship meet in Wichita, Kans., while JON SINCLAIR and MARY SHEA were the men's and women's winners at The Athletics Congress national championships in Pocatello, Idaho (page 75).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—Herschel Walker ran for 205 yards and three TDs in Georgia's 38-20 win over Georgia Tech, breaking Tony Dorsett's rushing record for freshmen (1,586 yards) in the process. The Bulldogs finished the regular season as the nation's only major unbeaten, untied team. J.C. Watts ran for four touchdowns in Oklahoma's 63-14 rout of Oklahoma State, while Alabama's freshman Quarterback Walter Lewis set up the go-ahead TD in the Crimson Tide's 34-18 win over Auburn with a 73-yard dash. In three upsets, Texas A&M defeated Texas 24-14, Miami beat Florida 31-7 and Rice won 35-7 over Houston. Elsewhere, Navy beat Army 33-6 to take a 38-37-6 lead in their series and UCLA whipped Oregon State 34-3 in the Mirage Bowl in Tokyo.
PRO FOOTBALL—The Falcons and Cowboys, both now 10-3, virtually sewed up NFC playoff spots with victories and the Rams (page 32) moved closer to clinching by winning twice, but the AFC races remained wide open. In defeating the Redskins 10-6, Atlanta looked sluggish, something Dallas clearly wasn't in its 51-7 win over the Seahawks. Seattle's seven turnovers didn't hurt the Cowboys any. Los Angeles dominated both the Saints and the Jets, outgaining New Orleans 393 yards to 96 in a 27-7 victory and rolling up 510 more yards in a 38-13 win over New York. Philadelphia, 11-2 and already assured of making the NFC playoffs, lost for the first time since September, 22-21 to San Diego, which got 342 yards passing from Dan Fouts and field goals of 34, 42 and 45 yards from Rolf Benirschke. In the AFC Central, Cleveland defeated Houston 17-14 on a pair of TD runs by Cleo Miller to take a one-game lead over the Oilers and the Steelers, who triumphed 23-10 over Miami. Both Buffalo and New England lost, leaving the Bills' one-game AFC East lead over the Patriots intact. San Francisco intercepted six Steve Grogan passes while beating New England 21-17 and Baltimore turned an interception and a fumble recovery into touchdowns in a 28-24 win over the Bills. Elsewhere, Dave Williams returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD on the first play of overtime to give the Bears a 23-17 triumph over Detroit; Ottis Anderson ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns in St. Louis' 23-7 victory over the Giants; the Vikings nearly squandered a 23-0 lead in their 23-20 win over New Orleans; Cincinnati ended a five-game losing streak by defeating Kansas City 20-6; and Tampa Bay beat Green Bay 20-17.
HOCKEY—The Flyers went 3-0-1 and increased their lead over the second-place Islanders to three points. After defeating Winnipeg 3-1 on Bob Dailey's two goals, Philly stretched its unbeaten streak against Los Angeles to 25, dating back to 1974, with a 4-2 victory. Tom Gorence clinched the win by scoring twice in the final seven minutes. The Flyers also defeated Colorado 7-4 and played to a 3-3 tie with Vancouver, which moved from seventh place to fifth with a 2-0-2 week. During a 7-4 win over Pittsburgh, the Canucks missed an NHL record by only three seconds when they scored four goals in an 83-second span. Meanwhile the Islanders, with two victories and a tie, stayed a point in front of third-place St. Louis and two ahead of fourth-place L.A. Mike Bossy scored twice in a 4-4 draw with Winnipeg and once in a 5-1 win over Detroit, while Anders Kallur put in the decisive goal in the Isles' 4-3 triumph at Montreal, which lost three straight, all at home. The Blues defeated Buffalo 5-3, Toronto 6-4 and Calgary 9-3 and tied the Jets 1-1, with Wayne Babych getting two goals against the Sabres and two more against the Flames. The league's most prolific scorers, however, remained the Kings' Charlie Simmer and Marcel Dionne; at week's end the two were tied with 45 points each. Chicago had both pain and pleasure, losing 10-3 to Edmonton three nights after beating Hartford 11-3, but Winnipeg knew only pain—the Jets' winless streak reached 20 games, just seven shy of Kansas City's 1976 NHL record.
TENNIS—HANA MANDLIKOVA won the $200,000 Australian Women's Open in Melbourne by beating Wendy Turnbull 6-0, 7-5.
Jose-Luis Clerc defeated Rolf Gehring 6-7, 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 to win the $175,000 South American Open in Buenos Aires.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: After a 27-7 loss to the Rams dropped the Saints' record to 0-12, New Orleans Coach DICK NOLAN, 48, who was replaced by an assistant, Dick Stanfel, 53. In slightly less than three seasons under Nolan, the Saints were 15-29.
Detroit Red Wing Coach TED LINDSAY, 55, with the Wings' record at 3-14-3. WAYNE MAXNER, 38, was named to replace him.
NAMED: Most Valuable Player in the National League, Phillie Third Baseman MIKE SCHMIDT, 31, whose 48 home runs and 121 RBIs led the league.
The 1980 Heisman Trophy winner, senior Running Back GEORGE ROGERS of South Carolina.
To succeed Dan Devine as Notre Dame football coach, GERRY FAUST, 45, the winner of 173 out of 192 games while coaching Cincinnati's Moeller High School.
RESIGNED: FRANK MALONEY, 40, who coached the Syracuse University football team to a 5-6 record in 1980 and a 32-46 mark over seven seasons.
SIGNED: By the White Sox to a four-year, $3.2 million contract, free agent Outfielder RON LeFLORE, 32, a .292 lifetime hitter who led the National League with 97 stolen bases last season while with the Expos.
DIED: Basketball Coach JOE CIPRIANO, 49, whose teams at Idaho (1960-63) and Nebraska (1963-80) had a combined record of 297-231 and only four losing seasons; of cancer; in Lincoln, Neb.
George Maloof, 57, owner of the Houston Rockets and chairman of the New Mexico Horse Racing Commission; of an apparent heart attack; in Albuquerque.