BASKETBALL—NBA: New York played only two games last week, but the results were wildly different. First the Knicks routed Los Angeles 114-93 as four New Yorkers scored at least 18 points. Then they lost to Atlanta, leader in the West, 122-106, the worst defeat New York has suffered this season. Los Angeles, with losses to New York, Baltimore and San Diego and only two wins, both over Milwaukee, slipped to three games behind Atlanta and suffered the temporary loss of Jerry West, who pulled a hamstring muscle. Until his injury, West had been leading the NBA in scoring by a wide margin, averaging 31.8 points per game, 4.6 better than Lew Alcindor of Milwaukee.
ABA: Denver, after weeks of struggling, finally took over the Western lead from New Orleans. Most of the reasons for the Rockets' spectacular climb from last place, where they were lodged as late as Jan. 3, are in the statistics sheets. Spencer Haywood, their 6'9" rookie, is first in the ABA in scoring (27.3 per game) and rebounding (20.02 average), Byron Beck of Denver leads the league in two-point field-goal accuracy with a .533 average and Rocket Guard Jeff Congdon is tops in three-point accuracy with .427. In fourth place but threatening Denver, New Orleans and Dallas are the Washington Caps, who enjoyed a 3-1 week behind the shooting of Rick Barry. He has scored 343 points in 11 contests since the All-Star Game, for a 31.2 average.
NBA—East: New York (1-1), Milwaukee (2-2), Baltimore (2-1), Philadelphia (3-1), Boston (3-2), Cincinnati (1-2), Detroit (2-2). West: Atlanta (3-0), Los Angeles (2-3), Phoenix (2-2), Chicago (1-2), San Francisco (1-2), Seattle (0-4), San Diego (3-2).
ABA—East: Indiana (1-3), Kentucky (0-3), New York (4-0), Carolina (2-2), Pittsburgh (1-3), Miami (1-2). West: New Orleans (1-1), Denver (1-0), Dallas (2-0), Washington (3-1), Los Angeles (1-2).
BIATHLON—Defending champion ALEXANDER TICHONOV of Russia defeated Norway's Tor Svendsberget to keep his title at the world championship in Oestersund, Sweden. Russia, the defending team champion, also won again, claiming three out of a possible four gold medals.
BILLIARDS—The world pocket billiard championship was won in Los Angeles by IRVING CRANE of Rochester, N.Y., who racked up 14 consecutive match victories to take the $5,000 first-prize purse.
BOATING—Less than half a boat length separated 72-foot Windward Passage from 72-foot Ondine as they crossed the finish line at the end of the 104-mile Miami-to-Lucaya race. Windward Passage was first, but James McHugh's 53-foot sloop, INFERNO, was fleet champion on corrected time with a 12.2522 decimal clocking.
BOXING—JOE FRAZIER of Philadelphia twice floored Jimmy Ellis in the fourth round and scored a fifth-round knockout when Ellis failed to answer the bell, to win the world heavyweight title.
In a preliminary-to-the-title bout at Madison Square Garden, undefeated Heavyweight GEORGE FOREMAN was awarded a unanimous decision over 35-year-old Gregorio Peralta of Argentina for his 16th consecutive victory.
GOLF—The $100,000 San Antonio Open was marred by rain and sleet, but young RON CERRUDO was bothered by neither as he shot a Pecan Valley Country Club course record-matching 65 in the second round to take the lead in the tournament, then followed with rounds of 69 and 68 to win by five strokes. It was Cerrudo's second victory in two years on the PGA circuit.