PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: What have we here—a two-game winning streak? Suddenly the Philadelphia 76ers ended their historic 20-game losing binge by defeating Milwaukee 106-104 and had their good fortune blossom into, for them, the season's longest unbeaten streak: two games. The next victim was Detroit, 119-106, as Fred Carter (27 points), Tom Van Arsdale (24) and Jeff Halliburton (22) provided most of the scoring. "I don't think there is much difference in the Philadelphia team," said Detroit Coach Ray Scott. "The difference was in our team. We just played badly." Still, Philadelphia was no threat to Boston or New York, some 44 games ahead in the Atlantic Division race. The Celtics held a 2½-game advantage over the Knicks. Atlanta picked up a game on first-place Baltimore in the Central Division with its 111-104 triumph at Phoenix. Pete Maravich of the Hawks scored 15 of his 40 points in the last period. Baltimore, meanwhile, lost at Los Angeles 121-103 in a game in which neither Elvin Hayes of the Bullets nor Jerry West of the Lakers played. Hayes broke his nose in a game against Golden State and West missed his third straight game because of a pulled hamstring. Los Angeles dominated the backboards against Baltimore as Bill Bridges had 18 rebounds and Wilt Chamberlain 17. The Lakers continued to lead the Pacific Division by 10½ games over Golden State. The injury-prone Milwaukee Bucks had another problem when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sprained his lower back in the loss to Philadelphia. Even without Abdul-Jabbar, the Bucks managed a 105-103 win over Houston to maintain a five-game lead over Chicago in the Midwest Division.
ABA: Utah's bench strength was decisive in a 124-114 victory over Indiana as the top two teams in the Western Division met. The Pacers had a chance to slice Utah's lead to 1½ games, but the Stars finished with seven players in double figures. Cincy Powell and Bobby Warren came off the bench and scored 20 points apiece, as many as teammate Willie Wise. The Stars held a 3½-game edge over Indiana and 7½ over Denver. New York finally stopped Carolina's winning streak at home at 15 games, posting a 112-104 upset at Greensboro. Rookie Brian Taylor had 28 points and George Carter 25. The Cougars played without Joe Caldwell, who bruised the big toe on his left foot in a 120-108 win over Kentucky earlier in the week. Carolina continued to lead the Eastern Division by 4½ games over Kentucky.
BOXING—MUHAMMAD ALI scored a unanimous 12-round decision over Joe Bugner in a heavyweight bout at Las Vegas (page 56).
DOG SHOW—A white standard poodle, CH. ACADIA COMMAND PERFORMANCE, was named best-in-show in a field of 3,027 at the two-day Westminster Kennel Club event in Madison Square Garden (page 26).
HARNESS RACING—On his fifth wedding anniversary, HERVE FILION drove a Buffalo Raceway record six winners on a 10-race card and finished in the money in every race.
HOCKEY—NHL: After putting together an unbeaten streak of 16 games, the New York Rangers suddenly found themselves struggling to hold second place in the East Division over surging Boston instead of shooting for Montreal, the top team. The Rangers were winless in three games and saw their lead over the Bruins sliced to just four points as Boston extended its unbeaten string to six with a 3-1 triumph over Philadelphia. Bobby Orr scored a goal and added two assists, one on the 28th goal of the season by Ken Hodge. The game marked the return to Philadelphia of Derek Sanderson, whose previous employer was the Philadelphia Blazers of the WHA. There were boos and uncomplimentary signs and extra security guards. Sanderson replied in kind by getting an assist on Orr's goal. Philadelphians did have something to cheer about earlier in the week when Rick MacLeish set two Flyer records with a four-goal performance in an 8-2 triumph over the Islanders. After New York took a short-lived 2-0 lead, MacLeish scored the team's first two goals within a 27-second span to establish his other club standard. In the West Division, Chicago held a comfortable 13-point advantage over the second-place Flyers.
WHA: As expected, player Bobby Hull continued to be Coach Bobby Hull's most effective performer. He ran his string of goals to 14 in his last seven games by netting a pair in a 7-0 victory over second-place Houston in a West Division game. Teammates Bill Sutherland and Ab McDonald also had two each as Winnipeg extended its lead in the division to 11 points over the Aeros. In a visit to Chicago, Hull reminded the fans of his better days with the Black Hawks, scoring four goals and registering two assists in a 7-2 victory over the Cougars. Hull and Chris Bordeleau have each scored 39 goals this season for the Jets. The Philadelphia Blazers, behind league high goal scorer Danny Law-son (49 goals), were the blazingest team in the East. Philadelphia increased its consecutive-victory streak to five games by beating New York 9-2 as John McKenzie contributed a hat trick. The fourth-place Blazers knocked off the East's top team, Cleveland, 6-5 for their fourth win as Lawson netted the game winner with 16 seconds remaining.
HORSE RACING—The unheralded stablemate of Royal and Regal, RESTLESS JET ($3.20), won the 1‚⅛-mile Everglades for 3-year-olds at Hialeah. Mike Hole rode the winner in 1:48[3/5]. Royal and Regal finished a disappointing fourth.
SPEED SKATING—Norway's ROAR GRONVOLD won the all-round competition and SEPPO HANNINEN captured the sprinter class in a professional skating meet at R√§ttvik, Sweden.
TRACK & FIELD—ROD MILBURN highlighted the U.S. Olympic Invitational meet at Madison Square Garden by tying the world indoor 55-meter high hurdles record with a 7.0 clocking. Pole Vaulter STEVE SMITH cleared 17'6¾" on his first attempt but failed on three tries at 18'1", which would have broken his world indoor mark.
In the 47th annual Central Collegiate championships at Ypsilanti, Mich., GORDON MINTY of Eastern Michigan set a world record for D-type indoor tracks with a 13:27.4 performance in the three mile.
Jim Crawford of the U.S. Army won the mile in 3:58.8, fastest time of the indoor season, in the Fort Worth Coach's meet.
WRESTLING—The SOVIET UNION recorded a 7-3 victory at Leningrad to complete a three-meet sweep over a touring U.S. squad. The Soviets also won meets in Yerevan and Baku.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: GALE SAYERS, five-time All-Pro running back with the Chicago Bears, as assistant athletic director at Kansas.
NAMED: As head coach of the Baltimore Colts, HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, an assistant with the Miami Dolphins the past three seasons.
NAMED: Former Alabama Quarterback STEVE SLOAN, 28, as head football coach at Vanderbilt University, after serving as an assistant at Florida State and Georgia Tech.
NAMED: As head football coach at Navy, GEORGE WELSH, who quarterbacked the Midshipmen to a 21-0 win over Mississippi in the 1955 Sugar Bowl; after 10 seasons as an assistant at Penn State.
PROMOTED: To athletic director at Morgan State, head football coach EARL BANKS. One order of business will be to replace himself as coach.
RESIGNED: Basketball coaches TOMMY BARTLETT of Florida and JOHN (Whack) HYDER of Georgia Tech, both at the end of the season.
TRADED: After nine seasons with the New York Jets, Defensive End GERRY PHILBIN, to Kansas City for Running Back Mike Adamle and an undisclosed draft pick.