PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: The Philadelphia story was a sad one as the 76ers lost to the Knicks to tie a league record of 15 straight losses at the beginning of a season. But then the 76ers visited Texas and, behind John Block's 31 points, rallied to defeat Houston 114-112. The Celtics opened a lead over New York in the Atlantic Division by beating Detroit 121-118 while the Knicks were losing to Golden State in overtime 103-102. Atlanta defeated Milwaukee 111-102 with Lou Hudson scoring 32 points and George Trapp 26. The victory enabled the Hawks to move into first place in the Central Division ahead of the Rockets and Baltimore. Milwaukee, with an 11-3 record, held the top position in the Midwest over Chicago (9-4), and the Lakers solidified their Pacific Division lead when the Warriors lost to Detroit 121-96.
ABA: Billy Cunningham's season-high 42 points led the Cougars to a 122-117 win over Kentucky, but it was a costly one for East Division leader Carolina as Center Mike Lewis ruptured an Achilles' tendon. The Colonels, still struggling, returned home and beat New York 116-99. The Nets lost all six games on the road. Indiana and Utah remained 1-2 in the West as the Pacers won 129-109 for Coach Bob Leonard's 300th career win. Roger Brown and Mel Daniels became the league's first 10,000-point career scorers on the same night.
BOXING—In his sixth title defense, CARLOS MONZON of Argentina retained his world middleweight championship with a unanimous 15-round decision over Bennie Briscoe of Philadelphia in Buenos Aires (page 81).
PRO FOOTBALL—AFC: MIAMI, unbeaten in nine times out, rode three first-half touchdowns by Mercury Morris to a 52-0 win over New England. The Eastern Division runner-up NEW YORK Jets also had an easy time by beating Buffalo 41-3. PITTSBURGH continued to widen its lead in the Central Division as the Steelers came from behind for a 16-7 victory over Kansas City. Linebacker Jack Ham recovered two fumbles to set up 10 points in the last six minutes. OAKLAND gained first in the Western Division and helped Pittsburgh in the process by topping Cincinnati 20-14 as Charlie Smith gained 146 yards and scored once.
NFC: The Eastern Division race remained close but WASHINGTON still led DALLAS by a game. The Redskins broke a 13-13 deadlock with the Giants for a 27-13 victory as Larry Brown scored the last two touchdowns. Toni Fritsch booted four field goals for the Cowboys, who overcame St. Louis 33-24. GREEN BAY took sole possession of first in the Central Division with a 23-17 win over the Bears. MINNESOTA (page 88) and Detroit were tied for second, one game back as the Vikings beat the Lions 16-14. Three last-quarter field goals by Jim Turner gave DENVER a 16-10 upset over Los Angeles. ATLANTA gained a 36-20 triumph over New Orleans and SAN FRANCISCO took Baltimore 24-21. Tom Dempsey kicked six field goals in seven attempts as PHILADELPHIA defeated Houston 18-17.
GOLF—HSEIH MIN-NAN captured 'the individual title in the World Cup tournament in Australia and led the Republic of China ( Taiwan) to the team championship as the U.S. team of Tom Weiskopf and Jim Jamieson finished fourth. Japan was second with a 440 total, two strokes behind the winner.
HARNESS RACING—In the final race for both horses before retirement, DAYAN ($12.60) covered a sloppy Hollywood Park track in 2:19[4/5] to win the $100,000 American Trotting Classic, while Super Bowl, unbeaten in 18 previous starts, was last in a field of six.
Silent Majority ($3.40), Bill Haughton driving, won the 17th Messenger Stakes at Roosevelt Raceway by turning in a 2:01[4/5] mile.
HOCKEY—WHA: Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Federal District Court in Philadelphia, became a leading candidate for the league's most valuable person award when his preliminary injunction allowed player-coach Bobby Hull to finally start for Winnipeg. Hull had an assist in his first game, but the Jets lost to Quebec 3-2. The Nordiques were in second place in the East Division behind Cleveland, a 4-1 winner over Chicago as Gerry Pinder scored three goals. In a meeting of the top West clubs, Center Jim Harrison netted a pair of goals and assisted on two others for Alberta in a 5-3 triumph over Los Angeles. The Oilers came from behind with three goals in the last period.
NHL: Coaching changes were the order as Garry Young resigned as coach of California and Fred Glover, formerly head of the Golden Seals, took over again. St. Louis fired Al Arbour and replaced him with Jean Guy Talbot, former coach of the team's Denver farm club. Buffalo continued as the surprise in the East (page 30) and Boston received more bad news. Bobby Orr, still undergoing therapy for his left knee, was expected to be out until January, and No. 2 Goalie Ross Brooks broke his left collarbone in practice. Montreal, the leader, and the Rangers continued to play well in the East. The Canadiens scored four goals over a five-minute span in the first period for a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles, the top team in the West. The loss ended a King-size seven-game unbeaten streak. Philadelphia remained in second with its 3-1 triumph over the Sabres.