PRO BASKETBALL—Paced by David Thompson's 31 points, Denver beat San Diego 130-121 for its seventh straight victory. The streak enabled the Nuggets to take over first place in the Midwest Division from the struggling Kings, who had held down the top spot since Nov. 17. Against the Clippers, who got 42 points from Lloyd Free, George McGinnis suffered an ankle injury that will sideline him for six weeks. The defeat dropped San Diego, loser of four in a row, 2½ games behind Portland in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot (page 24). Following a 122-110 overtime loss to Milwaukee, which has won 10 of its last 13, the Blazers handed Atlantic Division champ Washington its worst home-court defeat in four years. Center Tom Owens tossed in 30 points in the 132-104 victory, Portland's seventh in its last eight games. Moses Malone's two free throws with time having expired gave Houston a 117-116 win over Central Division leader San Antonio and pulled the Rockets to within a half game of first place. Malone finished with 36 points and 19 rebounds. The Spurs' George Gervin, the league's No. 1 scorer with a 29.6 average, poured in 46. On the same night, Walter Davis pumped in 40 and Paul Westphal added 25 to lift Phoenix, winner of five straight, to a 113-111 win over Seattle. The Sonics, however, maintained a two-game lead over the Suns in the Pacific Division by beating Detroit 123-103 for their eighth win in their last nine starts. Earlier, Seattle Guard Gus Williams had scored 38, equaling his career high, in a 111-101 defeat of Kansas City and 30 in a 115-109 win over San Diego. Golden State's Robert Parish had 30 points and pulled down a career-high 32 rebounds in a 114-98 defeat of New York, and Rich Kelly had 81 points and 61 rebounds in three games for New Orleans. With the 12th of his 23 assists in a 124-113 loss to Los Angeles, Kevin Porter of Detroit became the first NBA player to hand out 1,000 in a season.
BOWLING—EARL ANTHONY defeated Cliff McNealy 257-201 to win the Long Island Open in Garden City, N.Y.
CURLING—NORWAY beat Switzerland 5-4 in Bern to win the world championship.
GOLF—TOM WATSON shot a tournament-record 14-under-par 270 to win the $300,000 Heritage Classic at Hilton Head Island, S.C. by five strokes over Ed Sneed.
Joanne Carner survived a five-woman playoff to win a $150,000 LPGA tournament in Costa Mesa, Calif. on the second extra hole. Carner, Nancy Lopez, Chako Higuchi, Jan Stephenson and Donna Caponi Young finished regulation play at 286, two over par.
HOCKEY—NHL: Boston and Chicago joined the Islanders and Canadiens as division winners. The Bruins wrapped up the Adams title with a 4-1 defeat of Washington, and the Black Hawks, led by Grant Mulvey's hat trick, clinched first in the Smythe with a 6-1 win over the Islanders. Two nights later, the Islanders snapped Buffalo's five-game victory streak as Chico Resch stopped 32 shots en route to a 2-0 shutout. By beating Pittsburgh 5-3, Montreal halted the Penguins' unbeaten string at 10 and gained a two-point lead over the Islanders in the race for the league's best record and home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Earlier, the Penguins had secured a playoff berth with a 7-1 rout of the Rangers that featured a hat trick by Greg Malone. Led by Lanny McDonald's three goals, Toronto got a playoff spot with a 6-2 defeat of Minnesota, and Los Angeles landed a berth by beating Detroit 5-4. The remaining slots will be filled by Philadelphia, the Rangers, Atlanta, Vancouver and Buffalo.
WHA: Back-to-back shutouts—3-0 over Edmonton and 2-0 over Winnipeg—lifted Quebec to within a point of the first-place Oilers. Richard Brodeur was in the nets both nights for the Nordiques, and Real Cloutier picked up his 72nd and 73rd goals. A single point is also all that separates third-place New England from fourth-place Winnipeg. At stake in the race for third is a bye into the semifinal round of the playoffs.
HORSE RACING—RUBSTIC, a 25-1 shot ridden by Maurice Barnes, won the Grand National Steeplechase in Liverpool, England by 1½ lengths over Zongalero. The Scottish-trained 10-year-old was timed in 9:53 over the 4½ miles and 30 fences.
Flying Paster ($3.20), Donald Pierce up, defeated Beau's Eagle by 6½ lengths to win the $192,400 Santa Anita Derby. The winner covered the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:48 (page 74).
SOCCER—NASL: The Cosmos opened their defense of the league title by beating San Diego 2-1. Portland rallied from a 3-0 deficit behind Brian Gant's two goals and an assist to beat San Jose 4-3, and Philadelphia evened its record at 1-1 as David Robb scored all three of the Fury's goals in a shutout of Rochester. Dallas, which did not make the playoffs last year, beat Vancouver 2-1 in a shoot-out for its second win without a loss.
SWIMMING—Fourteen-year-old SVETLANA VARGANOVA of the Soviet Union broke the women's world record for the 200-meter breaststroke in Minsk. Her time of 2:31.09 was .33 of a second faster than the mark set by Lina Kachushite of the U.S.S.R. last year.
TENNIS—JOHN McENROE defeated John Alexander 6-4, 6-3 to win a $200,000 WCT tournament in Milan.
Wojtek Fibak upset top-seeded Guillermo Vilas 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to win a $75,000 Grand Prix tournament in Stuttgart, West Germany.
Chris Evert beat Dianne Fromholtz 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to win a $250,000 four-woman tournament in Carlsbad, Calif. In the semifinals, Evert defeated Tracy Austin 6-1, 7-5, and Fromholtz beat Martina Navratilova 7-5, 6-1.
MILEPOSTS—ABSORBED: By the NHL, effective at the start of next season, the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets and New England Whalers of the WHA. Each of the teams will pay a $6 million entry fee. The league's two remaining clubs, the Cincinnati Stingers and Birmingham Bulls, will be disbanded (page 86).
DIED: by drowning, CARROLL ROSENBLOOM, 72, owner of the NFL Baltimore Colts (1953-71) and, from 1972 until the time of his death, the Los Angeles Rams; in Golden Beach, Fla.
HIRED: As basketball coach at UCLA, LARRY BROWN, 38, who resigned Feb. 1 as coach of the Denver Nuggets. In 6½ seasons as a pro coach, Brown had a 355-198 record.
As basketball coach at USC, STAN MORRISON, 39, who had a seven-year record of 100-88 at the University of the Pacific.
TRADED: By the Philadelphia Phillies, Infielder RICHIE HEBNER, 31, who hit .283 last season, and a minor league player, to the New York Mets for Pitcher NINO ESPINOSA, 25, who was 11-15.
DIED: LUSCIOUS (Luke) EASTER, 63, former Cleveland Indian first baseman (1949-54) and one of the first blacks to play in the major leagues; of gunshot wounds; in Euclid, Ohio. A .274 lifetime batter, Easter hit what is believed to be the longest home run ever in Cleveland Stadium, a 477-foot shot into the upper rightfield stands on June 23, 1950. For the past 13 years he had been a chief steward for the Aircraft Workers Alliance at TRW Inc.