PRO BASKETBALL—As play resumed after the All-Star break, the once-hapless New York Knicks stretched their surge to 11 wins in their last 15 games with victories over Cleveland (108-92) and Denver (124-115) before losing to Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia 104-89 (page 14). Much of the credit belonged to resurgent Center Bill Cartwright, who has averaged 20.4 points a game during the Knicks' upturn (he'd been scoring at a 13.1 clip before that), Guard Paul Westphal (14.3 and 8.3) and Power Forward Truck Robinson (15.9 and 7.5). With Westphal and new acquisition Rory Sparrow sharing the point, odd man out was Edmond Sherod, who'd been averaging 28.8 minutes a game, third on the team, before the break, but got to play only 21 minutes in the three games last week. Que Sherod, Sherod. Bill Walton, once a Trail Blazer now a Clipper, played his first game in Portland in five years. "I recognized a lot of old faces and a lot of old voices," he said. He showed the 12,666 in attendance a lot of old moves—he had 15 points and nine rebounds in 35 minutes—but his old team dumped his new one 115-106. San Diego, last in the Pacific Division, fell 22½ games behind pace-setting Los Angeles. Things were buzzing in the Midwest, where Dallas' Pat Cummings had to be rushed to a hospital after suffering an allergic reaction to some bee pollen he'd taken as an energy booster. But it's Houston that may be about to be stung. With the NBA's worst record (10-44, 22½ games in back of division-leading San Antonio) and possessing the first pick of Cleveland, which had the poorest mark in the Eastern Conference, the Rockets until recently seemed assured of having the No. 1 choice in the draft—to be used, no doubt, to obtain Virginia's Ralph Sampson. But the Cavaliers (13-41 and 23 games behind Central Division leader Milwaukee) are slowly gaining on the faltering Pacers (16-38), which means Sampson's destination may be decided by the toss of a coin. That's assuming, of course, the financially troubled Pacers are still around when the flip is conducted in June.
BOBSLEDDING—RALPH PICHLER and URS LEUTHOLD of Switzerland defeated countrymen Erich Schaerer and Max Ruegg by 1.31 seconds to win the world two-man title over four runs down the 5,108-foot course in Lake Placid, N.Y.
BOWLING—JOE SALVEMINI beat Johnny Petraglia 206-200 to win a $125,000 PBA tournament in Florissant, Mo.
BOXING—S.T. GORDON retained his WBC cruiser-weight title with an eighth-round TKO of Jesse Burnett in East Rutherford, N.J.
Juan LaPorte won a unanimous decision over Ruben Castillo in San Juan to retain his WBC featherweight crown.
DOG SHOWS—Ch. Kabik's THE CHALLENGER (known as Pepsi), a 5-year-old Afghan owned by Chris and Marguerite Terrell, won best-in-show at the 107th annual Westminster Kennel Club Show in New York.
GOLF—GARY HALLBERG won the $300,000 San Diego Open in La Jolla with a 17-under-par 271. He finished one stroke ahead of Tom Kite.
Donna White beat three other golfers by a stroke to win the $175,000 Sarasota (Fla.) Classic. She shot a four-under-par 284.
HOCKEY—Buffalo Center Gil Perrault's long, low slap shot 12 minutes into the game was the beginning of the end of Boston Goalie Pete Peeters' try for NHL immortality. The puck flew over Peeters' outstretched stick and into the Bruin net. Two more followed, and the Sabres beat the Adams Division leaders 3-1. It was Peeters' first loss in 32 games, one shy of Gerry Cheevers' NHL record. His Montreal counterpart, Rick Walmsley, kicked out 31 of 33 shots as the Canadiens defeated Smythe Division-leading Edmonton 4-2. Naturally, the two shots that made it through were by Wayne Gretzky. Rookie Goalkeeper Bob Froese of Philadelphia, first in the Patrick Division, extended his unbeaten string to 13 games with a 3-0 victory over New Jersey. Forward Steve Larmer of the Black Hawks swatted goals Nos. 31 and 32, the latter the game winner, to help Chicago, No. 1 in the Norris Division, beat Hartford, 4-2.
HORSE RACING—BATES MOTEL ($14.40), Terry Lipham up, beat Time to Explode by 3½ lengths to win the $222,300 San Antonio Handicap for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita. He ran the 1‚⅛ miles in 1:47 flat.
MOTOR SPORTS—CALE YARBOROUGH drove a Pontiac to victory in the $1 million Daytona 500, averaging 155.979 mph around the 2.5-mile oval. He beat Bill Elliott in a Ford by a car length (page 20).
SKIING—At the U.S. Alpine Championships in Copper Mountain, Colo., TAMARA McKINNEY won the women's slalom and giant slalom; CINDY NELSON the women's combined; PHIL MAHRE the men's slalom; TIGER SHAW the men's giant slalom; BILL JOHNSON the men's downhill; and MIKE BROWN the men's combined.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: There are Christmas seals and Easter seals, and then there's Elson Seale, forward for Kansas City, which shared first place in the West with San Diego. His three overtime goals sealed the fate of Eastern leader Baltimore (7-6), St. Louis (4-3) and Memphis (6-5). While Seale was busy nudging shots into other teams' nets, Goaltender Chris Vaccaro of Cleveland occupied himself by keeping them out. He made 24 saves in a 6-4 win over Wichita—and knocked in a goal of his own, only the second by a goalie in league history.
SPEED SKATING—ANDREA SCHOENE of East Germany won the all-around title at the women's World Championships in Karl-Marx-Stadt, East Germany with firsts in the 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000 meters.
SWIMMING—VLADIMIR SALNIKOV swam a 3:48.32 400-meter freestyle in Moscow to trim 1.25 seconds off his own world mark.
TENNIS—JIMMY CONNORS won the $315,000 U.S. National Indoor Championships in Memphis with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Gene Mayer.
Martina Navratilova beat Andrea Jaeger 6-3, 6-2 to win a $150,000 tournament in Chicago.
TRACK & FIELD—EVELYN ASHFORD clipped .03 of a second off her four-week-old world women's indoor record by running the 50-yard dash in 5.74 in San Diego (page 22).
Anisoara Cusmir long-jumped 22'9¼" in Bucharest, to surpass by¾" the women's world indoor record she set two weeks before.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: To the Basketball Hall of Fame, JACK TWYMAN, 48, former star for the University of Cincinnati and the Rochester and Cincinnati Royals; BILL BRADLEY, 39, of Princeton and the New York Knicks; and DAVE DeBUSSCHERE, 43, of the University of Detroit and the Detroit Pistons and Knicks; DEAN SMITH, 52, coach at North Carolina for the last 22 seasons; LLOYD LEITH, erstwhile coach of Mission High, among others, in San Francisco (from 1931 to '72); and LOU WILKE, former president of the AAU.
To coach the Los Angeles Rams, JOHN ROBINSON, 47, who had a 67-14-2 record in seven seasons at USC.
DIED: Amateur featherweight boxer MICHAEL PITZER, 17, who fell into a coma after a fight in Charleston, W. Va. on Feb. 6 and never regained consciousness. Pitzer's injuries were apparently received in a traffic accident shortly before the fight, when his head hit the windshield.
Lloyd (Sonny) Dove, 37, forward for the Detroit Pistons (1967-69) and the New York Nets (1969-72); after the taxi he was driving skidded off an open drawbridge into a canal; in New York.