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BASKETBALL—NBA: Halfway through an eight-game road trip, their longest of the season, the New York Knicks won back some of their early-season luster, taking three straight before the San Diego Rockets spoiled things with a 123-115 victory, the Rockets' highest-scoring win over the Knicks since they joined the NBA. In the West, Chicago climbed to third place with three wins and a loss, also to San Diego, while the Rockets, behind the hot shooting of Elvin Hayes, moved up one notch to fifth.
ABA: Denver's new coach, Joe Belmont, had the pleasure of watching his team win all its games this week and of seeing it go from last place to third in the Western Division, and Denver fans showed their appreciation by appearing in record numbers, 9,804, for a doubleheader in the Denver Coliseum. It was another story in a doubleheader at Los Angeles, when the Rockets' fine rookie, Spencer Haywood, met Washington's star. Rick Barry, for the first lime before a grand total of 361 fans in the 15,000-seat sports arena. Denver defeated Washington 129-118, and Haywood topped Barry 28 to 24.
NBA—East: New York (3-1). Milwaukee (3-1), Baltimore (3-2), Philadelphia (1-2), Cincinnati (2-1), Boston (0-4), Detroit (2-2). West: Atlanta (3-2), Los Angeles (2-2), Chicago (3-1), San Francisco (1-3), San Diego (3-0), Phoenix (1-4), Seattle (1-3).
BOBSLEDDING—Itlians GIANFRANCO GASPARI and MARIO ARMANO won the European two-man championships at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, with a combined time of 5:23.12 for four runs down an icy track, only .03 second faster than the second-place German team of Horst Floth and Pepi Bader. In the four-man competitions, a West German crew led by 32-year-old WOLFGANG ZIMMERER raced twice down the course with times of 1:20.56 and 1:21.81 to defeat the Spanish team piloted by Eugenio Baturone.
BOXING—JOHNNY FAMECHON of Australia retained his WBC featherweight crown by knocking Japan's Fighting Harada through the ropes after one minute, nine seconds of the 14th round at Tokyo's Municipal Gymnasium.
In the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Olympic Heavyweight Champion GEORGE FOREMAN, weighing 217 pounds, floored 212-pound Charley Polite of Holyoke, Mass. in the fourth round of a scheduled 10-round bout to score his 12th knockout and 14th victory.
HOCKEY—NHL: In the East, Montreal, with two wins, threatened Boston's hold on second place despite another scoring spree by Defenseman Bobby Orr as the Bruins dropped a 4-3 contest to last-place Toronto. New York won both its games and remained comfortably out in front. The West Division had a number of changes. Minnesota fell from second to third following a 6-4 penalty-filled defeat by Los Angeles; Philadelphia rose from fourth to second, with two wins and two ties; and Pittsburgh, which lost three games, went from third to fourth.