BASKETBALL—ABA: Whatever talent may have been lost when Rick Barry and Warren Armstrong were dealt away by the VIRGINIA Squires has not kept them from winning their first five games. The success is due largely to rookie Charlie Scott, who has been the team's top scorer in each game including a 29-point performance that paced a 103-88 victory over New York. The Nets had Barry in the lineup for the first time this year against the Carolina Cougars, and even as a part-time player his 16 points and six assists were instrumental in the Nets' 117-97 win. In the West Division, unbeaten UTAH took over the lead by ending Indiana's six-game streak 124-118. The highest-scoring performance of the early season was turned in by John Brisker of PITTSBURGH, although his 46 points were barely enough to hold off Denver 127-123.
NBA: Until this season the only thing in Detroit surer than an auto strike was the availability of a ticket—and probably lots of them—for Piston basketball games. After seven contests this year, however, DETROIT is the only unbeaten team in the league, and season-ticket sales are up 250%, with Cobo Arena crowds of 10,000 now cheering where a scant 4,000 once watched in sullen silence. Attracting these throngs are some notable court activities, such as the night the Pistons' rookie center, Bob Lanier, slugged Atlanta's Bob Christian, or the games in which backcourt stars Jimmy Walker and Dave Bing team up with scoring barrages, their best a 60-point assault on Boston. Another division leader, SEATTLE, passed the .500 mark for the first time in its four-year history, but a 141-111 romp over Portland was costly; Bob Rule, who was averaging 32 points a game, was knocked out for the year with a pulled Achilles' tendon. Philadelphia Guard Hal Greer became only the fourth player to better 19,000 points in his career in a 116-111 loss to SAN DIEGO. The defeat, coupled with NEW YORK's 115-103 victory over winless Cincinnati, threw the Knicks and 76ers into an Atlantic Division tie.
BOWLING—Defending champion MIKE McGRATH beat Dave Davis, the week-long leader, by scoring a 226-222 final-game victory for his fifth PBA national championship, in Garden City, N.Y.
FOOTBALL—In a sport where teams are bred to score points at a prodigious pace, a defensive unit that surrenders no touchdowns is rare indeed. At least that was the case until last week, when there were four touchdown shutouts in a single afternoon. In fact, through the first six Sundays—less than half the 14-game pro schedule—there have been eight shutouts and eight other games in which the defense allowed the opposition nothing more than field goals. By contrast, the 1969 season yielded only nine scoreless performances all year. The infrequency of shutouts is indicated by WASHINGTON's record: up to last Sunday's 20-0 victory over Cincinnati, the Redskins had not blanked an opponent in six years. The other defensive gems of the week came from CLEVELAND (28-0 over Miami, knocking the Dolphins out of the Central Division lead in the National Conference), BUFFALO (10-6 over the Namathless Jets) and BALTIMORE (27-3 over Boston, the season's least offensive team, with three games in which it didn't cross the goal). The Minnesota Vikings, who allowed the fewest points (133) of any team last year, have already held two opponents scoreless, matching last year's total. One possible explanation for all this accentuating of the negative is that, like Dr. Strangelove, NFL defensive units have learned to stop worrying and cope with the bomb.
American Conference—Eastern: Baltimore (5-1-0), Miami (4-2-0), Buffalo (2-4-0), New York and Boston (1-5-0). Central: Cleveland (4-2-0), Houston (2-3-1), Pittsburgh (2-4-0), Cincinnati (1-5-0). Western: Denver (4-2-0), Oakland (3-2-1), Kansas City (3-3-0), San Diego (1-3-2).
National Conference—Eastern: Dallas and St. Louis (4-2-0), Washington and New York (3-3-0), Philadelphia (0-6-0). Central: Detroit (5-1-0), Minnesota (4-1-0), Green Bay (4-2-0), Chicago (2-4-0). Western: Los Angeles (4-1-0), San Francisco (4-1-1), Atlanta (3-3-0), New Orleans (1-4-1).
GOLF—Sinking a two-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole, KEEN STILL halted a year-long slump to win the Kaiser International Open in Napa, Calif. over Lee Trevino and Bert Yancey, who had tied him with 10-under-par 278s over 72 holes.
Gary Player won his sixth Australian Open, beating Bruce Devlin by three strokes in Melbourne.
HARNESS RACING—HORTON HANOVER ($15.60), clocked in the second-fastest time in the 25-year history of the event, 2:30[1/5], won the mile-and-a-quarter $50,000 National Pacing Derby at Roosevelt Park.
Most happy Fella ($2.80) was a two-length winner over Kentucky in the $75,000 L.K. Shapiro Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Hollywood Park. The winner's time for the mile was 1:58.