BASKETBALL—ABA: The Eastern Division lead bounced back and forth between PITTSBURGH (38-20) and MINNESOTA (37-22) during the week as both teams struggled to 2-3 records. But by week's end the Pipers were back on top, 1� games ahead of the Muskies. Minnesota started off well by walloping the Pipers 114-95 on Mel Daniels' 24 rebounds and 24 points, losing to Kentucky 95-86 as Daniels scored 31, and edging Western leader New Orleans 112-110 when Skip Thoren tossed in a basket with four seconds left. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, lost Connie Hawkins, the league's second leading scorer, for the week when a blood clot developed in his leg, and the Pipers immediately dropped three in a row. The two teams did a complete turnabout the rest of the week as the Muskies dropped two and the Pipers won two, beating Oakland 129-104 on Chico Vaughn's 40 points, including seven three-pointers, and Ira Harge's ABA-record-32 rebounds, and Anaheim 120-112 when Charlie Williams tossed in 41 points. Third-place INDIANA (29-31), 10 games behind, rolled to five straight victories, before losing two, on the play of recently acquired Reggie Harding, the 7' NBA reject. In a 106-105 win over New Jersey, Harding grabbed 27 rebounds, scored 18 points. ABA scoring leader Levern Tart popped in 34 as NEW JERSEY (28-32) edged Kentucky 111-109, but the next night Tart was held to eight points and the Americans lost to Houston 109-107. The Americans then won two of their next three games. Last-place KENTUCKY (23-34) shut out Denver in an overtime period to beat the Broncos 106-99 and split two other games. NEW ORLEANS (37-21) pumped its Western Division lead to three games with three victories and two losses as runner-up DENVER (33-23) split four. Third-place DALLAS (29-24) dropped two games to run its losing string to five, while OAKLAND (20-32) equaled its longest winning streak—three games—before losing two in a row. The battle for the cellar was a standoff as ANAHEIM (20-37) remained half a game ahead of last-place HOUSTON (19-37) when both teams won two of three.
NBA: PHILADELPHIA (43-16) stretched its Eastern Division lead to three games by beating the Warriors 141-117, the Rockets 125-103 and the Bulls 118-113 before its six-game winning streak was snapped by the Knicks. Second-place BOSTON (39-18) also lost to the Knicks but won its other two games. Surging NEW YORK (31-32) climbed from fifth to third as the Knicks opened the week with their first regular-season victory—110-108—over the Celtics in Boston in five years and ended the week with a decisive 115-97 win over the 76ers in the last game at the old Madison Square Garden. In between, the Knicks split two games with the Hawks and edged the Bullets 114-111. Outstanding for New York were Walt Bellamy, who totaled 126 points, and rookie Walt Frazier, who tossed in 27 points against the Celtics and had 23 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists against the 76ers. Slumping DETROIT (29-32) dropped three of five, while CINCINNATI (27-32) lost four in a row before beating the Rockets 101-99 with only two seconds to go. Last-place BALTIMORE (25-35) took three and dropped two as rookie Earl Monroe totaled 157 points. In the West. ST, LOUIS (45-18) moved seven games ahead of runner-up SAN FRANCISCO (37-24) when the Hawks won three of five and the Warriors split four games. LOS ANGELES (34-25), with Jerry West pouring in 43 points against the Sonics, crept within two games of San Francisco by winning three of four. Fourth-place CHICAGO (19-41) finally broke its nine-game losing streak with a 131-110 rout of the Pistons but immediately started another by losing to the 76ers and the Hawks. The luckless Bulls' three losses were by one point, two points and five points. Walt Hazzard was high man for the week as he scored 45 points in a 132-129 win by SEATTLE (18-41) over the Royals. The Sonics split their other two games and hovered half a game out of fourth place. SAN DIEGO (14-47), 30 games behind in the cellar, dropped five more to run its losing string to 12.
BOXING—CURTIS COKES, the world welterweight champion from Dallas, gained a unanimous 10-round decision over France's No. 1 welterweight, Jean Josselin, in a nontitle fight in Paris.
GOLF—TOM WEISKOPF, 25. of Massillon, Ohio eagled the final hole of the 72-hole $150,000 San Diego Open to beat runner-up Al Geiberger by one stroke. In winning his first tournament in four years as a pro, Weiskopf shot a four-under-par 68 on the last round for a 273 total.
HOCKEY—NHL: MONTREAL (29-15-9) had its streak stopped by the Rangers 3-0 after 12 straight victories—only two away from the NHL record of the 1929-30 Boston Bruins—and 16 games without a loss. In their three other games the Canadiens beat Philadelphia 4-1 and the Black Hawks twice by scoring 12 goals to the Hawks' four. BOSTON (26-18-10) moved up to second place, five points out, with a win and two ties. Although Ed West-fall scored a hat trick in a 6-4 victory over St. Louis, the game may be remembered longer for the injury Bobby Orr suffered. He will be lost for four to five weeks with a torn cartilage in his knee. CHICAGO'S (24-18-13) two losses to the Canadiens were eased by wins over Los Angeles and the Maple Leafs, but the Hawks still fell to third. NEW YORK (24-18-11) won two, tied two and climbed into fourth place, four points ahead of TORONTO (23-20-9), which lost three in a row. Last-place DETROIT (20-24-10) managed two ties after losing to the Bruins 5-4 and the Rangers 3-2. In the Western Division PHILADELPHIA (25-20-8) won three and dropped one to maintain its five-point lead (page 44) over MINNESOTA (22-22-9), which also was 3-1. The North Stars, however, lost Center Ray Cullen with a hairline right-ankle fracture for two or three weeks after a 4-2 win over Los Angeles. Cullen led the West in goals scored with 23 and also had 20 assists when he was injured. LOS ANGELES (22-27-4), in turn, lost Goalie Terry Sawchuk, but only for a week, when the 38-year-old veteran was hit over the right eye by a puck in a 5-3 loss to the Black Hawks. PITTSBURGH (19-25-9) moved even with ST. LOUIS (19-24-9) as the Penguins went 1-1-1, while the Blues tied one, lost two. OAKLAND (11-33-11) sank deeper into the cellar with one win, three losses.
HORSE RACING—MOST HOST ($26.40), ridden by Bill Harmatz, beat Horse of the Year Damascus by a head to take the 1�-mile $118,700 Charles H. Strub Stakes at Santa Anita (page 22).
MOTORCYCLING—Grand National Champion GARY NIXON of Baltimore, driving a Triumph, won the National Indoor Short Track Championship in the Houston Astrodome, covering the 25 laps in 6:51. The event, the first of its type in the Astrodome, attracted 31,372 spectators.
TRACK & FIELD—JIM RYUN won mile races on successive nights with times of 3:57.5 in New York and 4:03.4 at Michigan State (page 46). The USTFF Madison Square Garden Invitational was the final meeting at the old Garden, and Ryun's crowd-pleasing performance capped the best meet of the season in New York. Other highlights were a two-mile win by Washington's Gerry Lindgren in 8:43, victories by Lee Evans of San Jose State in the 600 (1:11) and Larry James of Villanova in the 500 in a meet-record 56 seconds, a 60-yard high-hurdles win by Earl McCullouch of USC in a meet-record 7.0 and a victory by Charlie Greene of the Cornhuskers Track Club over O. J. Simpson of USC and Villanova's Erv Hall in the 60-yard dash (6.2). In the pole vault Bob Seagren's victory was expected, but his winning vault—16'4"—was a disappointment to the crowd. Altti Alorotu, Brigham Young's Finnish freshman, cleared the same height and came in second because of more misses. At the Los Angeles Times Indoor Games the following night Seagren vaulted 2� inches higher but came in second to UCLA sophomore Jon Vaughn, who cleared 17'�". McCullouch, Evans and Greene were coast-to-coast winners, however, as McCullouch took the 60-yard high hurdles in 6.9, Evans the 440 in 47.8 and Greene the 60-yard dash in 6.0. Australia's headline competitor in the two-mile run, Ron Clarke, finished fourth behind winner George Young of Arizona (8:31.8), Tracy Smith of the U.S. Army and Clarke's countryman, Kerry O'Brien. Another Aussie, Kerry Pearce, who set a new indoor two-mile record with a 8:27.2 a week earlier, came in eighth.
WINTER OLYMPICS—PEGGY FLEMING won the only gold medal for the U.S. when she took the ladies' figure-skating event in Grenoble, France (page 12).
MILEPOSTS—HIRED: LOU GORMAN, 38, as director of player development for the American League expansion team in Kansas City, and CHARLIE METRO, 48, as the new team's director of player procurement. Gorman was in charge of Baltimore's minor league operations, while Metro was a head coach of the Chicago Cubs in 1962 and, most recently, a scout for Cincinnati.