PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: The Washington Bullets, owners of the best record in the league and leaders of the Central Division, snapped a three-game losing streak with a 102-95 victory over Phoenix. Mike Riordan scored 31 points, Elvin Hayes had 27 and Phil Chenier added 26. The next night Houston lost to the Bullets and remained behind Cleveland, which lost Center Jim Chones for at least four weeks because of a hairline fracture in his right foot. New Orleans won No. 4, a 111-108 triumph over the Rockets in which Pete Maravich scored 38 points. Pacific leader Golden State began the week with a 136-94 tune-up against the Jazz but ended it with a 114-105 loss to stubborn Chicago. The Bulls won two other games as well. Detroit beat Atlanta and Milwaukee to hang onto the Midwest lead (page 55). The Bucks also lost to Kansas City-Omaha as Kings Guard Nate Archibald scored 32 points. Boston increased its Atlantic Division lead by 1½ games. One win was a 108-100 triumph over second-place Buffalo. The absence of Dave DeBusschere became more painful as the New York Knicks struggled with forward problems. Playing only three quarters, Rick Barry had 33 points against the Knicks in a 132-96 win for Golden State. Billy Cunningham's 24 points paced Philadelphia past Buffalo 101-95 and the 76ers also beat the Kings. Seattle was the only winless team during the week while Portland won three games. Phoenix's lone win was against New York despite a season-high 43 points by the Knicks' Walt Frazier. Los Angeles beat Washington in overtime and handed out a loss to Philadelphia.
ABA: With fans on the court, San Antonio felt short-handed in a protested 130-128 loss at Denver. The win stretched the Nuggets' home victory skein to a record 22. Later in the week the Spurs beat the West leaders 130-108 in San Antonio. Utah fell farther back with losses to Denver, San Antonio, San Diego and East leader Kentucky. After losing to the Spirits 109-106, the Colonels marched over Virginia and St. Louis, too. Dan Issel scored 25 points in the lone defeat to become the sixth player in ABA history to reach the 10,000-point level in regular-season play. Indiana's George McGinnis, the league's leading scorer, had 31 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists against the New York Nets in a 127-119 win that halted New York's five-game streak. San Diego hired Beryl Shipley, former coach at Southwestern Louisiana, who got his first pro win as Dwight Lamar scored 26 points against the Stars. St. Louis' Marvin Barnes grabbed 31 rebounds in a 111-105 overtime win against Memphis.
BOWLING—EARL ANTHONY earned $7,000 by defeating Jim Frazier 247-216 in the final of the $60,000 Greater Los Angeles Open.
BOXING—Mexico's MIGUEL CANTO became the WBC's world flyweight champion by taking a 15-round decision from the defending titleholder, Shoji Oguma of Japan; in Sendai, Japan.
PRO FOOTBALL—Franco Harris' record-breaking 158-yard rushing performance led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 16-6 victory over Minnesota in Super Bowl IX (page 12).
GOLF—JOHNNY MILLER carded a 260, the lowest 72-hole total in PGA competition since 1955, to top the field in the Phoenix Open by 14 strokes (page 18).
HOCKEY—NHL: Phil Esposito's 508th career goal, fifth highest in league history, highlighted Boston's 5-1 victory over the Chicago Black Hawks and moved the Bruins to within two points of Adams Division leader Buffalo. Meanwhile the Sabres beat St. Louis and settled for a tie with Detroit. It was a winless week for the Red Wings, losing 1-0 to Toronto and tying Norris leader Montreal. The Canadiens beat Chicago 6-4 and Philadelphia 6-0, extending their unbeaten streak to 19 games. The New York Rangers continued their rise by beating St. Louis 5-3 for their eighth straight triumph. The Rangers began a high-scoring week with a 6-2 trouncing of Vancouver, which still led the Smythe Division, then slammed Kansas City 6-1. Atlanta blanked Washington 3-0 and edged California 3-2. The Flames also had a pair of ties that helped them gain six points in the tight Patrick Division race. The last-place New York Islanders won twice, too, including a 3-1 victory at Philadelphia, which did not beat anybody. Los Angeles scored three second-period goals against Minnesota to win 4-2 and hiked its road record to 12-2-6, best in the league. Pittsburgh managed a win and a tie.
WHA: Quebec and Toronto continued to fight it out for the leadership of the Canadian Division, the Toros winning twice and the Nordiques scoring three victories to hold a three-point edge. Toronto did lose Coach Billy Harris, who cited illnesses in his family as the reason for taking a two-week leave of absence. West Division leader Houston beat Phoenix 6-4, but the Roadrunners defeated Indianapolis and Toronto. New England, tops in the East, stayed in good shape with a tie and an overtime win. The league bailed out financially troubled Michigan, paying a Stags' payroll, and the last-place team reciprocated by beating Vancouver and Winnipeg. Chicago, having trouble winning at home, lost to Minnesota at the Amphitheatre. Cleveland won once and tied Winnipeg, while Edmonton also had a victory.
HORSE RACING—SELARI SPIRIT ($12.20), ridden by Gunnar Lindberg, rallied to beat Christopher R. by a length and a half in the 1 [1/16]-mile, $28.050 Bowie Handicap, covering the distance in 1:45 [3/5].
MOTOR SPORTS—EMERSON FITTIPALDI, driving a McLaren M-23, won the 53-lap, 200-mile Argentine Formula I Grand Prix in 1:39:26.29.
TENNIS—CHRIS EVERT, now ranked first among women, beat previously top-ranked Billie Jean King 6-1, 6-1 in the finals of the $75,000 Virginia Slims tournament in San Francisco.
TRACK & FIELD—In the first major meet of the indoor season, MARTY LIQUORI ran the mile in 3:57.7 to beat Steve Prefontaine (3:58.5) in the National Invitational at College Park, Md. SETON HALL's mile-relay team of Alf Daley (48.8), Charles Joseph (47.4). Orlando Greene (47.8) and Howard Brock (47.9) set a world record of 3:11.9 for an 11-lap track. In women's events SHEILA INGRAM won the 440 in 55.4 and CHERYL TOUSSAINT took the 880 in 2:08. AL FEUERBACH won the shotput (69'2¼") and DWIGHT STONES the high jump (7'3½").
MILEPOSTS—ELECTED: JOHN FUZAK, president of the NCAA for a two-year term. Fuzak is associate dean and director of the School for Advanced Studies at Michigan State.
NAMED: As head football coach at Kent State, J. DENNIS FITZGERALD, who served four years as defensive coordinator.
NAMED: DAVE GARCIA, a former minor league manager, and Outfielder TOM McCRAW, who batted .294 last season, to complete the coaching staff of Cleveland Manager Frank Robinson. Harvey Haddix and Jeff Torborg had been named earlier.
NAMED: FRED PANCOAST, as head football coach at Vanderbilt. Pancoast compiled a 20-12-1 record in three seasons at Memphis State.
NAMED: KEN STABLER, Oakland Raider quarterback, as the Most Valuable Player in the NFL by Associated Press. Stabler led the Raiders to a 12-2 record and the AFC Western Division championship, topped the NFL in touchdown passes with 25 and completed 57.4% of his passes for 2,469 yards.
SIGNED: To a new contract, MARION CAMPBELL, as head coach of the NFL Atlanta Falcons. Campbell replaced Norm Van Brocklin after the Falcons had gone 2-6; they had a 1-5 record during the remainder of the season.
DIED: WALTON CRUISE, 84, an outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Braves (1914-24); in Sylacauga, Ala. Cruise played in baseball's longest game—a 26-inning, 1-1 marathon between the Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers on May 1, 1920.