PRO BASKETBALL—ABA: Behind Dan Issel's 31 points, Kentucky beat Denver 90-87 and dropped the Rockets into a first-place tie with Indiana in the West. But the week's heroics belonged to Carolina. The Cougars stayed just percentage points behind East leader Kentucky by winning four games under unusual circumstances. There are no long home stands in pro basketball, and the players can write books about their road trips. Particularly Carolina, where even home means travel. The Cougars began their week at San Antonio, shooting 68.4% from the floor in a 124-92 rout. Next day, after Texas fog delayed their plane two hours, they arrived in Salt Lake City in time to shoot 58.7% and beat Utah 115-104. It was their fifth straight road victory but no respite. They took a six-hour flight, via Chicago and a two-hour time difference, landed back in Greensboro, went straight to the Coliseum and dispatched Denver 109—104 in overtime. En route to another "home" in Charlotte for their fourth game in four nights in four cities with 5,000 miles logged, their bus broke down. The players hopped into private cars, arrived 45 minutes before tipoff and beat San Antonio 117-95 for their fifth straight win. Billy Cunningham (78 points) proved the best weary traveler. San Diego Coach Wilt Chamberlain is weary of not playing, and he and the league received good news when it was announced that the dispute with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers over whether he can play or not will go to arbitration.
NBA: Atlanta and Los Angeles took over the Central and Pacific leads with 3-1 weeks, while Boston (1-1) and Milwaukee (3-0) stayed ahead in the Atlantic and Midwest. The most violent action was away from the rim, where Chicago's Norm Van Lier and Houston's Calvin Murphy engaged in a furious slugging match. Van Lier was ejected and Murphy stayed in to score 32 points. That was not the only headache for Chicago Coach Dick Motta, whose team still managed to win 121-113 for its fifth straight. "I feel badly," he said, "because with the second-best record in the NBA we are unfortunate enough to play in the same division with Milwaukee."
BOXING—CHARTCHAI CHIONOI of Thailand retained his World Boxing Association flyweight title with a unanimous 15-round decision over Susumu Hanagata of Japan, in Bangkok.
Rodolfo Gonzales of Long Beach, Calif. stopped Italian Antonio Puddu on a 10th-round TKO to hold onto his World Boxing Council lightweight title in Los Angeles.
CHESS—BORIS SPASSKY won the Soviet championship in Moscow with 11½ points out of a possible 17. He was then challenged by Bobby Fischer, who beat him for the world title last year.
PRO FOOTBALL—Field goals continued to whiz through the air (page 24) but an honest-to-goodness touchdown settled the score between the two remaining unbeaten teams. True, it was the only TD of the game, but Fran Tarkenton's nine-yard pass to Chuck Foreman was the play that gave MINNESOTA a 10-9 win over LOS ANGELES. Other contenders fell in upsets: DALLAS 30-16 to PHILADELPHIA and WASHINGTON 19-3 to NEW ORLEANS. Roman Gabriel hit Harold Carmichael on two scoring passes and went over himself from the one in the Eagles' 27-point first half. Bill McClard, who just joined the Saints at midweek, hit four field goals to undo the Redskins. MIAMI held the Patriots to 94 yards rushing and averted another upset as second-half runs by Mercury Morris and Larry Czonka iced a 30-14 win over NEW ENGLAND. CLEVELAND settled for a 16-16 tie with SAN DIEGO when Charger Ray Wersching kicked a 16-yarder in the last 30 seconds.
Altie Taylor rushed for 160 yards in DETROIT'S 34-0 ravaging of GREEN BAY. Charley Johnson threw two touchdown passes to put DENVER ahead, and the Broncos staved off the NEW YORK Jets 40-28 after a Monday night game in which they tied OAKLAND 23-23 on Jim Turner's last-minute field goal. The Raiders rebounded to whip BALTIMORE 34-21 on Snake Stabler's 25 completions, two for touchdowns. Jim Hart threw four touchdowns—three to Mel Gray—in ST. LOUIS' 35-27 triumph over NEW YORK, ending the uncanny hold the Giants have had over the Cardinals. Led by Ike Hill's 95-yard kickoff return, CHICAGO scored three touchdowns in 95 seconds and buried winless HOUSTON 35-14. Bob Lee led ATLANTA to a 17-3 win over SAN FRANCISCO, the team's third straight victory since he became starting quarterback. He hit Ken Burrows for 164 yards and two scores. PITTSBURGH Quarterback Terry Bradshaw suffered a broken right collarbone, but reserve Terry Hanratty and the defense stayed cool and the Steelers got by CINCINNATI 20-13.
GOLF—Tour sophomore JOHN MAHAFFEY shot a 13-under-par 271 for his first win, in the $135,000 Sahara Invitational in Las Vegas.
GYMNASTICS—LUDMILA TURISCHEVA of the U.S.S.R. swept all five gold medals—for the overall, vault, asymmetric bars, beam and floor exercises—in the women's European championships in Wembley, England. Her teammate Olga Korbut had to withdraw because of an ankle injury.
HARNESS RACING—ARMBRO NESBIT ($4.20), driven by Joe O'Brien, won the $101,200 L.K. Shapiro Stakes in a race record of 1:57[2/5] for the mile at California's Hollywood Park.
HOCKEY—WHA: The season was already too long for Vancouver. Coach John McKenzie stepped down to concentrate on playing right wing, and his replacement, Phil Watson, promptly sent Ron Ward, the league's No. 2 scorer last year, to Los Angeles for Goalie George Gardner. The Blazers then lost three times. New York won two of four, but contractually troubled Gene Peacosh demanded to be traded. "Traded, released, sold or anything else that will get me away from this team," he said. Higher in the standings, things were more serene. Tom Webster's hat trick gave New England a 3-1 win over Los Angeles, a 5-0 week and a three-point lead in the Eastern Division. Six different Edmonton players scored as the Oilers beat Vancouver 6-2 and led the West.
NHL: Montreal was doing just fine, thank you, without departed Goalie Ken Dryden. Wayne Thomas had 123 saves as the Canadiens beat New York and Pittsburgh 3-2 each, Philadelphia 4-0 and Minnesota 4-2 to tie Boston for the Eastern Division lead. Philadelphia clung to first in the West by winning one of two, but the Flyers were not a happy team. "I don't know what's wrong," said Coach Fred Shero after the Montreal loss. Added Bobby Clarke, the league's Most Valuable Player, "Last year, when somebody was in a slump somebody else would come along and pick him up. Nobody's doing that for us now." No one knew better than Clarke, who failed to score until the eighth game of the season. Then he tallied twice as the Flyers shut out Pittsburgh 6-0.
HORSE RACING—SECRETARIAT ($2.40) ended his career by winning the $142,700 Canadian International Championship at Woodbine in Toronto while stablemate RIVA RIDGE bowed out by finishing last in the $110,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Aqueduct (page 28).
RIDING—The United States team of RODNEY JENKINS, MAC CONE, MICHAEL MATZ and FRANK CHAPOT defeated Great Britain in a jump-off for the first Prix des Nations Cup held in the U.S., at the Washington (D.C.) International Horse Show.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: As American League president, New York Yankee General Manager Lee MacPhail, 55, replacing Joe Cronin, 67, who moves to chairman of the board of the league Jan. 1.
RELEASED: By the Detroit Tigers, slugger FRANK HOWARD, 37, who hit 382 home runs with the Dodgers, Rangers and Tigers, but whose $75,000-a-year salary as a DH seemed excessive.
SOLD: RHEINGOLD, winner of the Arc de Triomphe, to retired Royal Air Force officer Tim Vigors for $2.5 million. The 4-year-old colt cost only $7,875 as a yearling but won $750,000 in nine starts.
TRADED: Slugger WILLIE McCOVEY, 35, who has hit 413 career home runs, and Outfielder BERNIE WILLIAMS, by the San Francisco Giants to San Diego for Pitcher MIKE CALDWELL; Chicago Cubs Pitcher FERGUSON JENKINS, 29, who slumped to 14-16 after six straight 20-win seasons, to the Texas Rangers for Infielder-Outfielders VIC HARRIS and BILL MADLOCK; Boston Outfielder REGGIE SMITH and Pitcher KEN TATUM to St. Louis for Pitcher RICK WISE and Outfielder BERNIE CARBO; and California Pitcher CLYDE WRIGHT to Milwaukee for Catcher ELLIE RODRIGUEZ in a 10-player deal.
DIED: ABEBE BIKILA, 41, the only man to win two Olympic marathons, of a possible stroke, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Bikila astounded the sports world by running barefoot and winning a gold medal in Rome (1960). He won another gold in Tokyo (1964) before dropping out of the 1968 Olympics with a foot injury. An automobile accident in 1969 left him paralyzed from the waist down.