PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Detroit topped the 100-point mark for the 14th time in 15 games in beating New York 115-110. Points came harder elsewhere, as Milwaukee and Chicago met twice and split, the winning score never exceeding 89 points. Chicago ended its nine-game losing streak, Bob Love hitting 10 of his 24 points in the final period of the Bulls' 89-69 win. Milwaukee Center Elmore Smith hit two shots in the last 1:27 to give the Bucks the next game 88-85. Central Division leader Atlanta gained ground as Houston defeated Washington twice. The Rockets were fired by Guards Mike Newlin, who got 13 of his 28 points in the first half, and Calvin Murphy, who scored 24 of his 32 in the second half of the 100-89 victory. In the next game Washington failed to reach 90 points for the third time in a row and lost 97-85. Washington got 90 points against New York, but lost by six points. Buffalo faltered in the Atlantic, losing three despite the heroism of Bob McAdoo, who averaged 37 points a game. After a 126-105 defeat by Los Angeles, McAdoo tallied 40 against Portland in a 130-115 loss. Philadelphia beat Golden State 109-108 on Fred Carter's 25-foot jumper at the buzzer, then routed Seattle 113-94. Against Houston, Philadelphia's George McGinnis was called for goaltending on Mike Newlin's last-second shot, and the 76ers lost 99-98. Los Angeles and Golden State continued to battle for the Pacific lead. The Warriors increased their home winning streak to seven, running off 17 unanswered points in a 112-100 defeat of Phoenix. Seattle's loss to Philadelphia ended a six-game winning streak.
ABA: While the owners considered merging financially shaky St. Louis and Utah into one stronger team, the teams met in Salt Lake City, the Stars defeating the Spirits 136-100. Earlier St. Louis beat Indiana twice, 98-94 and 113-112, and Utah went into overtime twice against Kentucky, losing the first game 125-123 despite 42 points from Ron Boone and winning the second 128-126. Denver leads the West, recovering from a 115-107 defeat by Kentucky to beat San Antonio twice, 140-136 and 123-112. Indiana knocked off Virginia 111-106 to end the week one game behind Denver. Despite a 36-point game by rookie Ticky Burden, the Squires lost to San Antonio 141-122. In Virginia's next game New York held Burden to six points as the Nets won 116-97. The Nets met Kentucky to decide the East Division lead and New York won 113-84.
BOWLING—Italy's LORENZO MONTI and CATHY TOWNSEND of Canada won the International Ten Pin titles at the 11th World Cup matches in Manila.
CROSS-COUNTRY—GREG FREDERICKS of the Philadelphia Pioneers won the National AAU championship, completing the 10,000-meter course at Annapolis in 28:57. The COLORADO TRACK CLUB took the team title (pane 79). The NCAA championship, held at Penn State, was won by CRAIG VIRGIN of Illinois, who ran the six-mile course in a record 28:23.4. The UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO was the team champion. Defending titleholder LYNN BJORKLUND of the University of New Mexico took the women's AAU title at Belmont, Calif., covering the three miles in 16:32.6. The LOS ANGELES TRACK CLUB won the team championship.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: Minnesota and Los Angeles clinched playoff spots, the Rams by defeating Detroit 20-0 on Thanksgiving, and the Vikings by virtue of Detroit's loss. On Sunday Minnesota promptly suffered its first loss, 31-30 to the Redskins when Billy Kilmer threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Charley Taylor with 40 seconds left. St. Louis and Dallas are tied for the lead in the NFC East after St. Louis lost to Buffalo 32-14 and Dallas defeated the New York Giants 14-3. Seven Cardinal turnovers and Jim Braxton's pro career high of 160 yards rushing and three touchdowns put the Bills back in playoff contention. Baltimore moved into a second-place tie with Buffalo in the AFC East by beating Kansas City 28-14 for a sixth straight victory (page 28). Houston fell farther behind in the AFC Central by losing to division leader Pittsburgh 32-9 and second-place Cincinnati 23-19 as Bengal Quarterback John Reaves completed touchdown passes of 34 and 18 yards to Chip Myers. Pittsburgh remained on top by downing the New York Jets 20-7, Terry Bradshaw throwing a 44-yard touchdown pass to Franco Harris and an eight-yarder to Frank Lewis. Oakland clinched the AFC West title by edging Atlanta 37-34 when George Blanda kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime. Green Bay beat Chicago 28-7, Denver defeated San Diego 13-10 in overtime, Philadelphia topped San Francisco 27-17 and Cleveland nipped New Orleans 17-16.
HARNESS RACING—SAVOIR ($3.40), guided by Jim Dennis, won the 5104,900 American Trotting Classic at Hollywood Park for the second year in a row, covering the 1‚⅛ miles in 2:14[1/5].
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: Montreal Goalie Ken Dryden got his fourth shutout of the season, against Atlanta 4-0, to lower his goals-against rating to 1.7 per game, best in the league. The Canadiens' subsequent 2-1 defeat of the New York Islanders enabled Montreal to extend its Norris Division lead over Los Angeles to nine points. The Kings' winless streak reached six in a 7-2 defeat by Washington, which itself had been winless for nine games. Los Angeles then rallied to beat Buffalo 8-3. Boston ran its undefeated string to nine, beating the Rangers 6-4, but when the Bruins faced Smythe Division leader Chicago, Bobby Orr was undergoing a fifth operation on his left knee, which will keep him off the ice for eight weeks, and Boston settled for a 4-4 tie. Buffalo's Danny Gare scored twice in a 4-2 victory over California, giving him seven goals in the last six games as the Sabres took an eight-point lead over Boston. Philadelphia leads the Patrick Division, winning its fourth in a row, 7-3 over Atlanta. The second-place Islanders took 40 shots and scored nine goals against Minnesota, which scored one in only 18 tries.
WHA: New England replaced Cincinnati as Eastern leader. The Stingers lost three: to Winnipeg 11-3, Minnesota 5-3 and Toronto 9-5 for their eighth in a row. The Whalers began the week with a 3-2 loss in overtime to Minnesota, but took the division lead by beating Denver 7-3 behind Ron Climie's three goals. Indianapolis gained, losing only one of its last six games, to Houston 4-1. In the West, division-leading Houston added a 7-4 win over Edmonton to its Indianapolis victory, tying a WHA record of 14 consecutive games won or tied on home ice. Fighting Saint Wayne Connelly equaled another league mark by scoring all five goals in Minnesota's 5-3 rout of Cincinnati. Winnipeg challenged Quebec for dominance in the Canadian Division, the Jets tying Quebec in the standings by beating Cincinnati. Then Quebec and Winnipeg both lost, the Nordiques to San Diego 5-1 and the Jets to Indianapolis 3-1. Winnipeg's 5-3 win over Toronto, coupled with Quebec's overtime tie with Phoenix, assured the Jets of the divisional lead.
HORSE RACING—TELLY'S POP ($3.80) won the $100,000 California Juvenile Stakes, beating Bold Impulse by 1½ lengths at Bay Meadows. The 2-year-old gelding covered the 1[1/16] miles in 1:42.
SOCCER—QUINCY (ILL.) COLLEGE won a record third-straight NAIA championship, defeating Simon Eraser of Burnaby, British Columbia 1-0 at Raleigh, N.C.
The UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE won the NCAA Division II championship by defeating Seattle Pacific 3-1 at Seattle.
TENNIS—HAROLD SOLOMON defeated Brian Gottfried 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 to win the South African Open at Johannesburg.
Ken Rosewall beat fellow Aussie John Newcombe 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and CHRIS EVERT defeated Francoise Durr 6-2, 6-4 in the finals of the $100,000 Japanese championships at Tokyo.
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: GENE MAUCH, 50, to manage the Minnesota Twins. Mauch was manager of the Montreal Expos from 1969 to '75.
MURDERED: ROSS McWHIRTER, 50, editor and compiler with his twin brother Norris of The Guinness Book of World Records (SI, Feb. 8, 1965), by gunmen outside his London home shortly after offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the capture of IRA bombers.
PRESENTED: To FRED LYNN of the Boston Red Sox, the American League MVP award. The 23-year-old centerfielder is the first to win both it and Rookie of the Year honors in the same year. Lynn batted .331, had 105 RBIs and led the league in runs scored with 103.
SENTENCED: Jockeys ERIC WALSH; LUIGI GINO: BENJAMIN M. FELICIANO; and JESSE DAVIDSON, the 1965 national riding champion; to $1,000 fines and six months in federal prison for conspiring to fix the ninth race Trifecta at Bowie last Feb. 14.
DIED: GRAHAM HILL, 46, world driving champion in 1962 and 1968, and 1966 Indy 500 winner, in the crash of his light plane, which he was piloting, north of London.
DIED: NELLIE FOX, 47, second baseman for the Chicago While Sox (1950-63) and American League MVP in 1959; of skin cancer; at University of Maryland Hospital, Baltimore.