BASKETBALL—NBA: PHILADELPHIA (52-17) won its only two games, but the 76ers lost half a game of their five-game Eastern Division lead after BOSTON (48-22) took three straight. Third-place NEW YORK (38-35) beat the Bullets 126-122 as seven players scored in double figures and took two from the Pistons—124-115 and 133-107—when Cazzie Russell tossed in 38 and 30 points, and league scoring leader Dave Bing was held to 12 and eight points. Unhappily for the red-hot Knicks, they lost their other two games—to the Hawks 108-102 and 105-102 in overtime. CINCINNATI (33-39), 4½ games behind the Knicks in fourth place, continued to lose without Oscar Robertson and to win when he plays. Without Oscar starting, the Royals dropped their fifth in a row, but when he returned full time they beat the Rockets and the Warriors. BALTIMORE (32-40) and DETROIT (31-40) each dropped two of three. ST. LOUIS (50-24) split four games, and its Western Division lead slipped to five games over LOS ANGELES (43-27), which rolled to four wins, stretching its streak to six despite the absence of the injured (pulled groin muscle) Jerry West. Sparking the Lakers was Elgin Baylor, who is having one of his best seasons. Baylor totaled 134 points, including 41-and 40-point games. Third-place SAN FRANCISCO (42-32) won only one of three, CHICAGO (24-46) lost two, SEATTLE (20-49) lost one and SAN DIEGO (15-57) dropped all four games it played, by such diverse margins as six points (to the Royals) and 42 points (to the Bullets).
ABA: PITTSBURGH (47-21) maintained its three-game hold on first place as the top three teams in the Eastern Division all had 3-0 weeks. The Pipers set an ABA team-scoring record with a 150-126 win over Oakland as Connie Hawkins scored 36 points, then beat Kentucky 123-119 on Hawkins' 40 points and Charlie Williams' 43 and, with Art Heyman tossing in 33 points, defeated New Jersey 135-125 for their ninth straight victory. MINNESOTA'S (45-25) three victories were over New Jersey 92-83, Kentucky 102-93 and Oakland 125-115. INDIANA (35-35) replaced New Jersey in third place with a 122-116 double overtime victory over Oakland and victories by five points over Anaheim and seven over Kentucky. NEW JERSEY (32-36) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 117-100 win over KENTUCKY (27-40), which ran its string of losses to four with the loss. In the West, NEW ORLEANS (41-25) increased its lead to 3½ games by beating Anaheim 118-114 as DENVER (38-29) moved into second place with a 115-92 win over Houston. DALLAS (35-29) dropped to third after losing three games. HOUSTON (25-43), which lost two of three, helped the Chaparrals skid by edging them 101-100, while OAKLAND (22-42) beat Dallas 115-105 and then lost three in a row, two of them in overtime. Last-place ANAHEIM (23-45) had a good week, all things considered; the Amigos split four games.
BOATING—VICENZO BALESTRIERI of Rome won the 175-mile Sam Griffith Memorial Ocean Powerboat Race from Miami to Fort Lauderdale to Bimini and back again, driving Tornado, his 28' Magnum with two 450 hp Mercruiser engines, an average speed of 52 mph.
BOXING—LIONEL ROSE, a 19-year-old Australian aborigine, took the world bantamweight title away from Masahiko (Fighting) Harada by winning a 15-round unanimous decision in Tokyo.
FIGURE SKATING—Olympic champion PEGGY FLEMING, EMMERICH DANZER of Austria and DIANE TOWLER and BERNARD FORD of England (dance) all gained world titles for the third consecutive year, at Geneva; while Russians LUDMILLA and OLEG PROTOPOPOV took their fourth world pairs championship.
HOCKEY—NHL: MONTREAL (34-17-10) finally faltered after winning 20 of 24 games and was shocked by two expansion teams when St. Louis gained a 3-3 tie and Minnesota beat the Canadiens 3-2. The Canadiens' slight slowdown tightened up the race for the title as CHICAGO (29-18-15) and NEW YORK (31-19-11) moved within five points of the lead. The Hawks shut out the Maple Leafs 1-0 on Bob Schmautz's first NHL goal and tied the Blues 3-3 when Bobby Hull scored his 42nd goal and Stan Mikita popped in two others, while the Rangers won three to make it seven victories in their last eight games. In beating the Maple Leafs 3-1, the Red Wings 4-2 and the Flyers 4-0, Rod Gilbert scored a goal and had four assists while Jean Ratelle had three goals, three assists. The Rangers not only tied the Black Hawks for second but Gilbert and Ratelle broke up Mikita and Hull's monopoly at the top of the individual scoring race. At week's end Mikita barely held his lead with 73 points, followed by Gilbert (72), Hull (71) and Ratelle (70). BOSTON (30-22-10) also gained ground by winning two and held fourth place, only three points behind the Rangers and the Hawks. TORONTO (25-27-9) dropped three in a row before beating the Kings 5-2 for the Maple Leafs' second win in 12 games, while last-place DETROIT (21-29-10) lost the only game it played. In the West, PHILADELPHIA (26-26-9) lost three games, and its lead shrank from five points to two over MINNESOTA (24-27-11), which had a 1-1-1 record for the week. LOS ANGELES (26-29-6) won two of three, while ST. LOUIS (21-26-13) lost one and tied two by scoring three goals in the third period against the Canadiens and two goals in the third period against the Black Hawks. PITTSBURGH (21-29-11), with a 1-1-1 week, climbed within two points of the fourth-place Blues, while last-place OAKLAND (15-34-13) had the most fun of all the Western Division teams. The Seals walloped the North Stars 6-3, tied the Penguins 6-6 and tied the North Stars 3-3.
HORSE RACING—WISE EXCHANGE ($12), the second to cross the finish line, was declared winner of the 1‚⅛-mile $137,000 Flamingo Stakes at Hialeah after the apparent winner, Iron Ruler, was disqualified (page 24).
TRACK & FIELD—Two world indoor record holders broke their own marks over the weekend when GEORGE BYERS of Kansas skimmed the 60-yard low hurdles in 6.5 during the semifinals at the Big Eight championships in Kansas City and TRACY SMITH of the Army ran three miles in 13:15 at the Maple Leaf Games in Toronto. Still another record was broken at the West German championships in Stuttgart when MICHAEL SAUER triple-jumped 55'¼", beating the mark of the U.S.'s Art Walker by 2¾". WILLIE DAVENPORT of Southern University equaled the 5.9 world record in the 50-yard hurdles race in Toronto, while JIM RYUN, despite an injured ankle, won both the mile and two-mile events (run 50 minutes apart) with times of 4:05.5 and 9:00.8 in Kansas City.
Martin McGrady of the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village (SI, March 4) set a meet mark of 1:10 in the 600-yard run as he won his 18th straight race; and DAVE PATRICK of Villanova won the 1,000-yard run in 2:08.8, equaling the fastest time ever recorded on a 12-lap track, at the Cleveland Knights of Columbus meet.
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: MEL ALLEN, 55, the former voice of the New York Yankees, to do play-by-play telecasts for the Cleveland Indians.
TRADED: By the Toronto Maple Leafs, Forwards FRANK MAHOVLICH, 30, PETE STEMKOWSKI, 24, GARY UNGER, 20, to the Detroit Red Wings for Forwards NORM ULLMAN, 32, PAUL HENDERSON, 25, and FLOYD SMITH, 32.
DIED: LAWRENCE B. SHEPPARD, 70, the crusty president of Hanover Shoe Farms, where he bred some of the nation's finest harness horses; of a lingering illness, in Hanover, Pa. Sheppard was also the first chairman of the Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission and a longtime leader in the affairs of the U.S. Trotting Association and the Hambletonian Society.