BASKETBALL—NBA: Though Guard Austin Carr is sidelined with an injured leg until after the All-Star break, surprising Cleveland is winning. The Cavaliers beat Baltimore 108-102 for their fourth straight win over the Central Division leaders this season. John Johnson scored 40 points and Walt Wesley had 20 to pass 4,000 for his career. Two nights later Wesley hit a free throw after time had run out to give Cleveland a 112-111 win over Portland. Cleveland took first place 24 hours later by beating Philadelphia 103-102 on Butch Beard's layup with 24 seconds left. The Cavaliers' 15th win matched their total victories for last season. But then Baltimore climbed back into the lead with a 110-102 win to end New York's seven-game streak. John Havlicek led East pacesetter Boston to three victories as the Celtics extended their own streak to 10. First, he hit a long turnaround jumper at the final buzzer to beat Golden State 99-97. Then he scored 36 points and the winning basket with 37 seconds left as Philadelphia fell 120-116. He had 30 more in a 131-119 win over the 76ers, and Hal Greer of Philadelphia passed 21,000 career points in the same game. Finally, Phoenix ended the Celtic streak 114-104. Nobody stopped Los Angeles, which rolled on to 30 straight. The West-leading Lakers had an easy week of it, taking Houston 137-115, Buffalo 105-87 and Seattle 122-106. During the last game, Forward Jim McMillian, who scored 34 points, was asked if he ever got tired of winning. "No," he said, "because we beat different teams every night." Midwest leader Milwaukee was not having such a pleasant time. Chicago took the Bucks 116-105 before 19,497, the largest crowd in Chicago history. It was Milwaukee's third loss in four games. When the Bulls beat Portland 117-92 for their seventh straight and Portland's fourth loss on the road in as many nights, Sidney Wicks of the losers threatened to tell Portland management "a few things."
ABA: Virginia, struggling to catch East leader Kentucky, had a gift week, playing last-place Carolina on three consecutive days. The Squires won all three, but it was hardly fun: 129-126, 126-117 and 124-120. Julius Erving averaged 34 points and Charlie Scott 36. However, Kentucky lost only half a game to the Squires and maintained a five-game lead. After losing 117-111 to Indiana, the Colonels whipped Memphis 125-111, Florida 111-89 and Carolina 124-106 on three straight nights, for nine wins in 10 games. Dan Issel averaged 33 points to stay within range of Scott in the scoring race. West leader Utah beat Dallas 106-102 and Denver 103-98 and held a seven-game lead over Indiana.
BOATING—NEW ZEALAND swept the first three places in the 630-mile, 79-yacht Sydney-to-Hobart race off Australia and was declared winner of the four-race Southern Cross Cup series. PATHFINDER, a 38-foot 5-inch sloop skippered by Brin Wilson, placed first on corrected time. Ted Turner's American Eagle was fourth.
FOOTBALL—NFC: DALLAS won its second straight conference title with a 14-3 victory over San Francisco (page 12).
AFC: MIAMI won its first conference title, beating defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore 21-0 (page 15).
College: NEBRASKA won the national championship for the second straight year by drubbing Alabama 38-6 in the Orange Bowl (page 8), while STANFORD staged a dramatic upset in the Rose Bowl for the second straight year when Rod Garcia's 31-yard field goal in the final 12 seconds downed unbeaten Michigan 13-12. PENN STATE Coach Joe Paterno had feared that Texas' Wishbone offense "might blow us right out of the Cotton Bowl." Instead, the Nittany Lions held Texas without a touchdown for the first time in 80 games and won 30-6. OKLAHOMA'S Wishbone was more bone and less wish. Quarterback Jack Mildren led the Sooners to 439 yards on the ground and scored three times himself as Oklahoma routed Auburn 40-22 in the Sugar Bowl. Jimmy (The Greek) Poulos ran for a 25-yard score in the third period to give GEORGIA a 7-3 win over two-touchdown underdog North Carolina in Jacksonville's Gator Bowl. Charlie Davis, who gained more than 1,300 yards as a sophomore, rushed for two touchdowns of 27 yards and one yard to give COLORADO a 29-17 win over host Houston in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Despite the Peach Bowl's annual mud and rain, MISSISSIPPI scored four times in the second quarter and trounced Georgia Tech 41-18 in Atlanta. Woody Green's two-yard touchdown run with 34 seconds left ended a rock-'em, sock-'em inaugural for the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. and gave ARIZONA STATE a 45-38 win over Florida State. TOLEDO won its 35th straight, 28-3 over Richmond for a Tangerine Bowl victory in Orlando, Fla. It was Quarterback Chuck Haley's 65th straight win in a streak that extends back to the ninth grade. The SOUTH rose again in intersectional All-Star games. First, Bobby Majors of Tennessee, who does it all, did something he had not even tried since high school—kick an extra point—to give the South a 7-6 win in the Shrine game in Miami and end a five-year victory streak by the North. A night later, Stahle Vincent of Rice scored on a seven-yard touchdown run and George Hunt of Tennessee kicked a 19-yard field goal to give the South its fourth straight win, 9-0 in the Blue-Gray game in Montgomery. Ala. Gary Hammond of SMU threw scoring passes of 45 and 28 yards as the WEST beat the East 17-13 in the Shrine Classic game in San Francisco.
HARNESS RACING—RUM CUSTOMER, driven by Del Insko, set a career pacer earnings mark of $1,001,448 by winning the $5,000 Millionaire Mile at Illinois' Aurora Downs. The 6-year-old eclipsed Cardigan Bay's previous mark of $1,000,837 on his last race. He will be retired to stud at Lana Lobell Farms in Hanover, Pa.
Herve Filion of Quebec set a single-season record with 543 victories for 1971, beating the previous record of 486 he set last year.
HOCKEY—The Rangers continued to flaunt the NHL's highest scoring attack by beating Montreal and Philadelphia by 5-1 scores to retain a three-point lead in the East Division. "I've never seen anything like it. They are keeping me in business," said an ecstatic ticket scalper at Madison Square Garden. He was talking about New York's record-setting first line—Vic Hadfield, Jean Ratelle and Rod Gilbert—which got five of the team's 10 goals and has scored in 32 of 36 games. Chicago's top line of Chico Maki, Bobby Hull and Pit Martin picked up five points in a 6-3 win over Los Angeles to increase its total to 48 in 10 games. Then Boston ended the West leader's eight-game win streak 5-1. The Bruins' Phil Esposito, seeking his third scoring title in four years, had one goal in a 3-1 win over Toronto, another in the Chicago game and a third as Boston tied Minnesota 2-2. He leads the league with 64 points. Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh 6-1 to tie the Penguins for fourth place in the West, but Pittsburgh Coach Red Kelly said he was not worried. "We've been playing the best teams recently," he said, "and except for this game against Philadelphia, we've played well." Then the Penguins, who had won only one of their last 11, managed a 3-3 tie with Buffalo. In a battle of pride, or something, between the two last-place teams, Los Angeles beat Vancouver 3-1.
HORSE RACING—ROYAL OWL ($2.20) won the $59,100 California Breeders' Champion Stakes at Santa Anita by 6� lengths over D.B. Carm for Jockey Willie Shoemaker's 548th career stakes win. Shoemaker is six stakes victories short of Eddie Arcaro's record.