BASKETBALL—ABA: The CAROLINA Cougars won their first game of the season last week, but it proved a shattering experience. Pittsburgh's 6'6" rookie Charlie Hentz dunked two shots near the end of the game that smashed the glass backboards at Dorton Arena in Raleigh, the first causing the game to be delayed for an hour while a new backboard was hustled up and the second, with 67 seconds left and the score 122-107, causing it to be called—on account of pane. Meanwhile the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA sought a court injunction against the Cougars to prevent their former star, Joe Caldwell, from playing with Carolina. KENTUCKY ran its winning streak to seven by handing the leader in the West, Utah, its first defeat 111-100. The Stars won a key game against Indiana 102-99, one of three straight losses suffered by the defending champions.
NBA: Those paragons of futility, the Cleveland Cavaliers, enhanced their distinction as the only winless team in professional sport with their 13th straight loss, 103-91, to BUFFALO, which itself had not won since the first game of the season against you-know-who. Two questionable distinctions are within reach for Cleveland: most season opening losses (15) and most consecutive losses (17). The defeats have had some side benefits for the other teams in the NBA. PHILADELPHIA'S 141-87 victory over Cleveland was its biggest ever, and Lew Alcindor scored a season high 53 points against the Cavaliers in a 110-108 MILWAUKEE win. Another Cleveland setback, 131-107, was ATLANTA'S lone success of the week as the Hawks then lost three straight. The only team with a winning record in the Central Division, Baltimore, also had problems. PORTLAND pinned a 135-131 defeat on the Bullets, marking the first victory of the year by an expansion team over an established club. In another stop on its Western swing, Baltimore fell to SAN FRANCISCO 111-100 as the Warriors ended a three-game losing streak. In the Midwest, the strongest of the NBA's four divisions, MILWAUKEE slipped into a tie with Detroit for the lead when the Pistons lost to CHICAGO 125-99. A rematch of last season's NBA championship opponents saw LOS ANGELES squeeze out a 106-104 win over New York.
BOXING—CARLOS MONZÓN of Argentina upset World Middleweight Champion Nino Benvenuti of Italy with a 12th-round knockout in their title fight in Rome (page 80).
FOOTBALL—It was not a good week for fans who left the Stadium early to beat the traffic, as four NFL games affecting five divisional races were decided in the final minutes. The most far-reaching come-from-behind strike was dealt in NEW ORLEANS, where Tom Dempsey kicked a record 63-yard field goal with two seconds left to upset Detroit 19-17 and push the Lions two games behind Minnesota in the NFC Central. Dempsey's kick, which bettered by seven yards Bert Rechichar's record set in 1953, offset an 18-yard three-pointer by Errol Mann, with 14 seconds remaining. In OAKLAND 43-year-old George Blanda, subbing for injured Daryle Lamonica, rallied the Raiders to a 23-20 victory over Cleveland with a 14-yard touchdown pass at 1:32 and a 52-yard field goal in the last three seconds. Oakland thus remained just ahead of KANSAS CITY (24-9 over Houston) in the AFC West. Cleveland dropped into a tie with PITTSBURGH (21-17 over the Jets) in the AFC East. Another late turnaround play came in NEW YORK, where the Giants' Fran Tarkenton fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ron Johnson, beating Dallas 23-20 and putting New York into a second-place tie in the NFC East behind ST. LOUIS (31-0 over Boston). The day's final heart-stopper was played in LOS ANGELES. Roman Gabriel's four-yarder to Willie Ellison, with two seconds left, enabled the Rams to tie ATLANTA 10-10 and stay a game behind SAN FRANCISCO (37-16 over Chicago) in the NFC West. PHILADELPHIA won its first of the year, 24-17 over Miami, and probably clinched the AFC East title for BALTIMORE.
National Conference—Eastern: St. Louis (6-2-0), New York and Dallas (5-3-0), Washington (4-4-0), Philadelphia (1-7-0). Central: Minnesota (7-1-0), Detroit (5-3-0), Green Bay (4-3-0), Chicago (3-5-0). Western: San Francisco (6-1-1), Los Angeles (5-2-1), Atlanta (3-4-1), New Orleans (2-5-1).
American Conference—Eastern: Baltimore (6-1-0), Miami (4-4-0), Buffalo (3-5-0), New York and Boston (1-7-0). Central: Pittsburgh and Cleveland (4-4-0), Houston (2-5-1), Cincinnati (2-6-0). Western: Oakland (4-2-2), Kansas City (4-3-1), Denver (4-4-0) and San Diego (3-3-2).
HARNESS RACING—MOST HAPPY FELLA ($4.40) completed his sweep of the triple crown of pacing with a going-away victory in the Messenger Stakes at Roosevelt Raceway. In a race driver-owner Stanley Dancer called "the toughest I've ever been in" the winner completed the mile in 2:00[3/5].
A Byram, Conn. dentist, DR. GEORGE A. SMITH JR., bought Romalie Hanover for $101,000, the highest price ever paid for a filly in standardbred history, at the Harrisburg (Pa.) Sales. Hanover Shoe Farms' consignment of 161 yearlings brought a total of $2,084,100.
HOCKEY—ST. LOUIS has quickly dispelled the notion that it might abdicate its role as a Western power to well-established Chicago. The Blues, who have won both previous titles in the West, are playing the best defensive hockey of any NHL team and trail the realigned Black Hawks by only one point in the standings. The high point of St. Louis' week was a 2-0 shutout of Boston that ended a Bruin streak of 29 home wins. BOSTON, in a tight Eastern Division battle with New York and Montreal, managed only a disappointing 2-2 tie against PITTSBURGH, an expansion team. The Penguins also played well against Vancouver, blasting the Canucks 8-3. VANCOUVER, however, reversed itself against struggling Buffalo with a 4-1 victory that shoved the Sabres deeper into the Eastern cellar. The worst in the West showed signs of revival as CALIFORNIA defeated Toronto 8-4 for its third straight win after producing only two ties in its first nine outings. Another of the victories was a 3-1 decision over Eastern co-leader New York. MONTREAL had the biggest scoring night of the year, blasting (who else?) Buffalo 11-2 as three rookies, Guy Lapointe, Marc Tardif and Rejean Houle, scored two goals apiece.
MOTOR SPORTS—Californians DRINO MILLER and VIC WILSON won the Mexican 1,000 off-road race in the record time of 16 hours, seven minutes. The two divided the driving time in their Volkswagen dune buggy, and the $10,000 first prize.
MILEPOSTS—APPOINTED: Subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, WILLIAM RUCKELSHAUS as head of the new Environmental Protection Agency. Armed with a $1.4-billion budget and 5,743 aides, the current Justice Department official vowed, "We're going after polluters."
AWARDED: For three years the right to continue The Hambletonian, harness racing's premier event, to the DUQUOIN (Ill.) STATE FAIR, which pledged a $50,000 purse increase, raising the sum to about $200,000 in 1972, first year of the new contract.
NAMED: As 1970's Cy Young Award winners, National League Pitcher BOB GIBSON, following his 23-7 season with St. Louis, and American Leaguer JIM PERRY, who was 24-12 with Minnesota.
ENDED: A strike of the 16 basketball players at the UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT, who had claimed that Coach Jim Harding drove them "to a point of psychological depression." The school's athletic board gave Harding unanimous support.
REMOVED: GLENN DOBBS, as athletic director at the University of Tulsa, which has been penalized by the NCAA and Missouri Valley Conference for rules violations; to become the school's director of special development. Dr. John Dratz, chairman of Tulsa's physical education department, becomes interim athletic director.
REPLACED: Two National Football League coaches, TOM FEARS of New Orleans and CLIVE RUSH of Boston, by J. D. Roberts, coach of the Saints' minor league Richmond team, and John Mazur, the offensive coach of the Patriots.
SIGNED: Former St. Louis outfielder and Philadelphia holdout CURT FLOOD, by the Washington Senators, to a $110,000-a-year contract that includes the reserve clause Flood is contesting in his $4.1 million antitrust suit against baseball.
DIED: CHARLIE ROOT, 71, immortalized less by his 201 pitching wins in 16 seasons with the Chicago Cubs than by a home run he gave up to Babe Ruth in the 1932 World Series. Legend says Ruth called the shot by pointing at the center-field flagpole, but Root always denied this vigorously.
DIED: BILL GALLON, 32, winning horse in the 1941 Hambletonian who later sired several world record holders; at a farm near Charlotte, N.C.