PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: The defending champion Knicks were grossly guilty of inconsistency in Madison Square Garden, walloping the Buffalo Braves 117-91 on Tuesday, then being bulled over 85-69 by Chicago. The 69 points was the lowest Knick output since the introduction of the 24-second clock in 1954-55. The Bulls' three high scorers—Bob Love (25), Norm Van Lier (21) and Chet Walker (20)—almost equaled New York's total. The leader in the East's Atlantic Division was Boston as reserves led the Celtics in a 133-102 rout of Philadelphia. Then the regulars lost 96-87 to the homeless Capital Bullets, who won their first in five starts. Philadelphia, which lost its first 15 games in 1972-73, needed only three games to win its first this year, a 106-101 decision over Houston. The Rockets meanwhile held the Central Division lead with a 3-3 record. Milwaukee went on a three-game winning streak to lead the Midwest, while Portland, behind the hot-shooting Guard Geoff Petrie, surprisingly remained the only undefeated club in pro basketball and led L.A. in the Pacific Division.
ABA: It was a rough week for the defending champions: Indiana was held to a new league record for fewest points in a single game as the lowly San Antonio Spurs romped 92-66. Former Pacer Bob Netolicky led the Spurs with 25 points, and rookie George Karl added 17 points and six steals. Denver won twice and remained the highest in the West, looking down on Utah. In the Eastern Division, Kentucky finally fell, a 105-102 victim of Carolina. New York tied the Colonels in first, each with four wins in five games. Virginia broke a streak of its own, building back-to-back victories after five straight losses. Second-year man George Gervin and Cincy Powell triggered the Squire resurgence. Gervin scored 12 of his 26 points in the last 15 minutes as Virginia topped Utah 106-95, and Powell tallied 41 points in the two Squire wins.
BOXING—BEN VILLAFLOR, 20, of the Philippines, regained the world junior lightweight championship from Japan's Kuniaki Shibata with a first round knockout in Honolulu.
FIELD HOCKEY—The Scottish women's touring team suffered its first loss in nine stops on its American visit at the hands of the U.S. RESERVES, 2-0 in Miller Place, L.I.
PRO FOOTBALL—Quarterbacks, overshadowed by placekickers and O.J. Simpson much of this season, regained control of the limelight. Leading the way were veterans Roman Gabriel of PHILADELPHIA and MINNESOTA'S Fran Tarkenton, who met and between them threw 53 passes for 403 yards. When the fallout had cleared the Vikings had downed the stubborn Eagles 28-21 for their sixth straight largely on the efforts of John Gilliam, who caught six of Tarkenton's 16 completions for 116 yards and one touchdown. Gabriel connected on 23 of 32 aerials, mostly to rookie Charles Young and Harold Carmichael, who caught six in Minnesota temperatures that climbed into the 70s. In Miami, Bob Griese missed on six of his first seven passes, then hit End Jim Mandich for two touchdowns, which staked the DOLPHINS to a 24-3 lead at halftime. At that point the Bills had managed just six yards total offense. The second half wasn't much better for them as O.J. Simpson (page 30) finished with 55 yards in 14 carries plus a sprained ankle.
Mike Phipps directed CLEVELAND to a 42-13 rout of HOUSTON (0-6), running for two touchdowns and passing for two more. But Cleveland still trailed PITTSBURGH in the AFC Central as Pittsburgh's invisible man this year, Franco Harris, gained 102 yards against the Jets to show that Steeler rushing is not dead. But the man of the hour in the 26-14 triumph over NEW YORK was reserve Quarterback Terry Hanratty, who replaced Terry Bradshaw in the fourth quarter and threw a 16-yard strike to Ron Shanklin all alone in the end zone. WASHINGTON'S Billy Kilmer also came off the bench to go all the way in a 31-13 win over ST. LOUIS completing two touchdown passes. Marty Domres started his first game this year for BALTIMORE and led the Colts to a 29-27 upset of DETROIT. Domres plunged one yard for a score and found Glenn Doughty 66 yards away for another. And Jim Plunkett ran five yards in the closing minutes to give NEW ENGLAND a 13-10 upset over CHICAGO.
Los Angeles extended its winning streak to six as John Hadl hooked up with his favorite receiver, Harold Jackson, for a 46-yard touchdown in the Rams' 24-7 stomping of GREEN BAY. The ATLANTA secondary set up three TDs with interceptions to help the Falcons crush SAN DIEGO 41-0. Bengal Cornerback Lemar Parrish made one touchdown possible and prevented a KANSAS CITY score with an end-zone interception as CINCINNATI beat the Chiefs 14-6. DALLAS took the GIANTS 45-28 to remain in second place behind Washington in the NFC East, and in the West, SAN FRANCISCO, 40-0, halted NEW ORLEANS' short-lived win streak at two.
GOLF—Unheralded TED BALL of Australia collected the biggest check of his career—$10,400—and won the Wills Masters with a 72-hole total of 282, two strokes ahead of Jerry Heard, in Melbourne.
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: Coach Red Kelly has people in Toronto excited about the Maple Leafs again (page 95). The game between the Leafs and the New York Rangers attracted a capacity crowd of 16,485—and every one of them went away happy as the Leafs won 3-2 on Jim McKenny's goal with about three minutes remaining. The victory lifted Toronto into the first place melee in the East Division with the Rangers and Boston, whose loss was its first. Earlier in the week Toronto had beaten the Canadiens 5-3 in Montreal for the first time since Jan. 30, 1971 as Goalie Eddie Johnston stopped 27 shots. The Montreal-Atlanta game provided another "first" with the Flames burning the defending Stanley Cup champions 4-2, the first time the expansion team had ever beaten the Canadiens. In five meetings last year the Flames had a 0-3-2 mark against the Canadiens. Two goals by Larry Romanchych and solid goaltending by Dan Bouchard made the difference this year. Atlanta also downed Boston for the first time 4-3 and claimed second in the West behind Philadelphia.
WHA: Vancouver's Danny Lawson, who joined Phil Esposito of the NHL's Bruins as the second major league hockey player to reach 60 goals in a single season last year, continued to wield a heavy stick. In seven games he has scored seven times, but the Blazers were still floundering near the bottom of the West. Winnipeg recovered its 1972 winning form after two opening-week defeats, avenging its World Trophy loss to New England with a 3-1 victory and cutting down the New York Golden Blades 6-1. The New Yorkers' desire may have been dulled by the fact that they had not yet received their first paychecks of the regular season. Andre Lacroix, the league's leading scorer last year, tallied the only goal for New York in consecutive losses, then added a goal and an assist as the Blades finally won their first game 4-3 against Quebec. Meanwhile, at the top of the East, Cleveland and New England still were battling for first place.
HORSE RACING—RIVA RIDGE ($3.40) set a track record of 1:47 for 1‚⅛ miles and won the $57,200 Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct. The Meadow Stable colt, ridden by Eddie Maple, finished three lengths ahead of Forage.
Step Nicely ($17.40), Angel Cordero Jr. up, overtook favored Linda's Chief on the turn and held off Forego in the stretch to win the $58,000 Jerome Handicap at Aqueduct by a head in race record time of 1:34 for the mile.
MOTOR SPORTS—DAVID PEARSON, driving a Mercury, cruised to an easy victory in the $107,200 American 500 at Rockingham, N.C. for his 11th win in 18 races this season.
TENNIS—Australian ROSS CASE, 21, earned $5,000, his largest purse as a pro, winning the Manila Open over countryman Geoff Masters 6-1, 6-0.
Tom Okker won the Melia Tournament and $14,500 with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Chile's Jaime Fillol in Madrid. Okker moved into second place in the Grand Prix standings behind Ilie Nastase, whom he upset in the semifinals.
Vijay Amritraj outlasted Australian veteran Mai Anderson 6-4, 5-7, 7-9, 6-3, 11-9 to win the first Indian Grand Prix International and $5,000 in New Delhi.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: Head coach of the Houston Oilers, BILL PETERSON, after a 1-18 record over two seasons. General Manager Sid Gillman takes over for the rest of this year.
NAMED: NEILL McGEACHY, 31, an assistant at Duke, as head basketball coach, replacing Bucky Waters, who resigned last month.
DIED: President of the United States Golf Association, LYNFORD LARDNER JR., 58; in Milwaukee.
DIED: A.M. (Tonto) COLEMAN, 66, former commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; in Abilene, Texas; of an apparent heart attack.