BASKETBALL—NBA: Eastern runner-up BOSTON (39-12), on a nine-game winning streak, beat leader PHILADELPHIA (47-6) 118-106 to break the 76ers' own nine-game victory mark and cut their lead from 9½ to 7 games. Later in the week the 76ers lost their first game to a Western Division club when the Hawks beat them 114-108. CINCINNATI (23-27) twice defeated NEW YORK (25-30) and edged into third place ahead of the Knicks, who lost four straight, as BALTIMORE (12-44) also dropped four in a row. SAN FRANCISCO (33-19) increased its lead in the West to 10 games with two wins and a loss, while second-place ST. LOUIS (23-29) split four. LOS ANGELES (21-31), with a 2-1 record, jumped to third, while CHICAGO (22-35) slipped to fourth and DETROIT (20-32) dropped into the cellar.
BOWLING—Left-hander DAVE DAVIS of Phoenix gained his second straight victory on the PBA tour when he outscored Jimmy Mack of Dover, N.J. 268-188 in the finals of the Denver Open.
BOXING—Middleweight Champion EMILE GRIFFITH retained his title with a unanimous decision over Joey Archer at New York's Madison Square Garden (page 44).
In a world featherweight championship bout in Mexico City, VICENTE SALDIVAR of Mexico retained his title as he scored a seventh-round TKO over Japan's Mitsunori Seki.
GOLF—ARNOLD PALMER won the $100,000 Los Angeles Open for the second straight year, defeating Gay Brewer Jr. by five strokes.
HARNESS RACING—At Vincennes race track near Paris, favored ROQUEPINE, the French trotter who won the United Nations Trot at Yonkers in October, took the $100,000 Prix d'Amérique by one length over Oscar R. L.
HOCKEY—NHL: CHICAGO (26-11-6) won three in a row and moved nine points ahead of runner-up NEW YORK (21-16-7), which lost two of three games. Revitalized MONTREAL (19-18-5) jumped a point ahead of TORONTO (17-18-8) into third place with three victories and a loss as the slumping Maple Leafs extended their losing string to seven with three more defeats. Fading DETROIT (17-24-3) split two games, while last-place BOSTON (12-25-7) dropped two of three.
HORSE RACING—With prerace favorite Buckpasser out because of a hoof injury, H. B. Keck's DRIN ($7.60), ridden by Lafitt Pincay Jr., won the $129,800 Charles H. Strub Stakes at Santa Anita by a length over Quicken Tree (page 52).
MOTOR SPORTS—PARNELLI JONES, driving a Ford, won the rain-delayed Riverside (Calif.) 500-mile race for stock cars.
SKIING—'I'm tired," said France's JEAN-CLAUDE KILLY after he lost the slalom in the Grand Prix de France at Meg√®ve by less than half a second to hrs countryman Guy Périllat, who totaled 2:01.32 to Killy's 2:01.79 in the two runs. Earlier in the meet Killy look the downhill by two seconds over Peter Rohr of Switzerland.
Marielle Goitschel of France took over first place from Canada's Nancy Greene in the World Cup standings when she won the overall title at Saint Gervais, France with second places in the slalom and giant slalom. Mlle. Goitschel now has 135 points to 126 for Miss Greene. ERIKA SCHI-NEGGER led the Austrian women's team to its first victory of the season as she won the giant slalom with a combined time of 3:16 26. Winner of the slalom was France's ANNIE FAMOSE.
TENNIS—Aussie ROY EMERSON gained his sixth Australian singles title when he defeated Arthur Ashe of the U.S. in the finals in Adelaide. 6-4, 6-1, 6-4. In the women's finals, the U.S.'s NANCY RICHEY beat Lesley Turner of Australia 6-1, 6-4.
TRACK & FIELD—Southern California's BOB SEAGREN, who pulled a muscle in his back earlier in the week, broke his own world indoor pole-vault record when he soared 17 feet 2 inches at the Albuquerque Invitational. Former Southern University Sprinter THERON LEWIS lowered the world 440-yard mark of Wendell Motley by .2 seconds with a 47.1.
The same night, at the Oregon Invitational in Portland, another world mark fell as NEAL STEIN-HAUER of the University of Oregon put the shot 67 feet 10 inches to better his own record of 66 feet 6½ inches, set in early January. "I actually just wanted one good toss," said Steinhauer, who set the new mark on the last of six remarkable heaves—66 feet 10¼ inches; 65 feet one-half inch; 67 feet 7¼ inches; 65 feet 5½ inches; 66 feet 3¼ inches; and 67 feet 10 inches. World half-mile and mile record-holder JIM RYUN of Kansas tried the 1,000-yard race for the second time in his career and won in an impressive 2:09.9.
The outstanding performance at the Boston Athletic Association Games was turned in by Australia's KERRY O'BRIEN, who edged Tom Laris of New York to win the two-mile race in 8:38.4. For O'Brien, who had never run on boards before, it was his second victory since he arrived in the U.S. at the beginning of the week. Two nights earlier, at the Millrose Games in New York, he won the two-mile in 8:39.6.
VOLLEYBALL—Defending Champion JAPAN defeated the United States 15-12, 15-0. 15-8 in the final to take the world women's championship in Tokyo. The U.S. placed second in the tournament, which was cut to four teams when seven Communist nations, led by the Soviet Union, refused to compete because tournament officials decided to call the teams from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the German Democratic Republic just plain North Korea and East Germany.
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: As head coach for the newest NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, TOM FEARS, 44, who played nine seasons (1948-1956) as an end for the Los Angeles Rams before becoming an assistant coach for three NFL teams.
RESIGNED: California's top racing skipper. GERRY DRISCOLL, as helmsman of Columbia, the revamped 1958 America's Cup champion 12-meter sloop, which its new western owner, Patrick Dougan, hopes will beat out an eastern syndicate for the honor of defending off Newport this September. Driscoll was replaced by BRIGGS CUNNINGHAM, Columbia's skipper in 1958.
ELECTED: To baseball's Hall of Fame, the late BRANCH RICKEY, the developer of the farm system and many other baseball innovations, and LLOYD (Little Poison) WANER, 60, who had a .316 batting average during his 18 seasons in the major leagues.
TRANSFERRED: South Carolina's 6'8" MIKE GROSSO, 19, who played basketball at SC during his freshman year (averaging 22.7 points a game) but was declared ineligible this season by the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference, to the University of Louisville. Grosso may be eligible to play basketball for the Cardinals next season.