PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: "It just doesn't happen," said Walt Frazier of New York. "If you have 10 men on the court you can't hold the Bucks scoreless for that long a time." But the Knicks, using only five men and trailing by 18 points with 5:50 remaining, scored the last 19 points for an 87-86 triumph over Milwaukee. Earl Monroe started the rally and also netted the winning basket. New York remained 33 percentage points behind Boston in the Atlantic Division race. Milwaukee, the Midwest Division leader, had trailed Boston by 15 points at halftime the night before, but came back for a 95-88 victory as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 32 points. Nate Archibald of Kansas City- Omaha continued to lead the league in both scoring and assists as he tallied 51 points, the highest single-game total this year, as the Kings defeated Houston 127-117. In a 115-96 win over Cleveland the night before, Archibald shot 16 for 23 in scoring 40 points and getting 11 assists. Pete Maravich had a season-high 45 points for Atlanta in a 126-122 win over Phoenix as the Central Division developed into a close race between the Hawks and Baltimore. In the Pacific Division, Los Angeles and Golden State were the leaders. The Lakers won their ninth straight by defeating Buffalo 103-100 while Portland upset the Warriors 105-97.
ABA: In a meeting of divisional leaders, Carolina's balanced scoring, led by Joe Caldwell's 27 points, was the difference in a 127-120 win over Indiana. Billy Cunningham (26), and Tom Owens and Mack Calvin (23 each) helped the Cougars offset a game-high 39 points by George McGinnis of the Pacers. Julius Erving scored 45 points and had 15 rebounds, and Virginia sank all 26 free throws in topping Kentucky 122-115. The Squires were in second place in the East Division and the Colonels held a game lead over the Nets. The West Division was still a four-team scramble, with only Dallas definitely out of first place.
BOXING—In a nontitle bout ESTEBAN DeJESUS of Puerto Rico scored a unanimous 10-round decision over Lightweight Champion Roberto Duran of Panama; in New York (page 92).
Ben Villaflor, junior lightweight champion, defeated Jimmy Robertson in a 10-round nontitle bout in Hawaii.
PRO FOOTBALL—AFC: While unbeaten MIAMI (page 28) won the Eastern Division championship with its 10th victory, 28-24 over the New York Jets, the Central Division race became tied when CLEVELAND beat Pittsburgh 26-24 on Don Cockroft's 26-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, in the final eight seconds. The Steelers had come from behind early in the fourth quarter when rookie Franco Harris ran 75 yards for a touchdown, and Roy Gerela's extra point gave them a 24-23 lead. Another late field goal, this one by Jim O'Brien as the gun sounded, gave BALTIMORE a 20-19 win over Cincinnati. New Coach Phil Bengtson of New England was on his way to a successful debut, but BUFFALO scored 10 points in the last 51 seconds for a 27-24 win. John Leypoldt's 45-yard field goal in the last five seconds broke the tie. OAKLAND took a commanding lead in the Western Division with its 37-20 triumph over Denver as SAN DIEGO gave the Raiders some help by posting a 27-17 win over Kansas City.
NFC: Both DALLAS and NEW YORK kept the pressure on Washington in the Eastern Division. The Cowboys beat Philadelphia 28-7, and the Giants, on Ron Johnson's one-yard plunge in the last five minutes, defeated St. Louis 13-7. Norm Snead passed twice to Tight End Bob Tucker to set up the final Giant score. In the Central Division, GREEN BAY maintained its one-game lead on DETROIT and MINNESOTA. The Packers topped Houston 23-10 as Jon Staggers returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown and Ron Widby, on a fake punt, completed a 68-yard touchdown-pass play with Dave Davis. The Lions beat New Orleans 27-14, and the Vikings outscored Los Angeles 45-41. SAN FRANCISCO, with five touchdown passes by Quarterback Steve Spurrier, was a 34-21 winner over Chicago and moved into a tie with the Rams in the Western Division.
GOLF—JOHNNY MILLER of the U.S. birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff against Lu Hiang-Huan of Taiwan to win the $21,000 Otago Classic at Dunedin, New Zealand. Miller sank an 18-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole for a 281 total before his 40-foot putt in the playoff.
HARNESS RACING—SILENT MAJORITY ($3.20), driven by Billy Haughton, scored a victory over Bruce Nickells' Fast Clip in the $106,550 L.K. Shapiro Stakes at Hollywood Park. The winner paced the mile for 3-year-olds in 1:59.
HOCKEY—NHL: Bobby Orr was back in a Boston uniform at least one month ahead of schedule and it took him just 6:44 to turn on the red light. His goal was the first for the Bruins in a 7-3 deluge over the New York Islanders, who lost their seventh straight. Teammate Phil Esposito added a pair of goals and as many assists. The Rangers had a 7-3 win over Philadelphia. Steve Vickers netted a hat trick for the second straight game, the first time any rookie has done so, but the victory might have been an expensive one as All-Star defenseman Brad Park was knocked to the ice early in the game and strained ligaments in his right knee. He was expected to be sidelined for at least a month. Vickers and Bill Fairbairn scored third-period goals in a 3-1 victory at St. Louis. The Rangers gained on first-place Montreal in the East Division as Chicago handed the Canadiens their second loss in 20 games, 5-3, ending Montreal's five-game unbeaten streak. Los Angeles took undisputed possession of first in the West by defeating Detroit 8-3. Mike Corrigan and Ralph Backstrom contributed two goals apiece for the Kings, who have gone nine games without a defeat at home but still had to break a six-game winless streak on the road.
WHA: The New York Raiders became a team in search of an owner when the league assumed financial control of the club. On the ice, the Raiders broke a five-game losing streak by beating Quebec 7-1. Cleveland, behind the four-goal, one-assist performance of Ron Buchanan, was a 6-3 winner over Ottawa to remain in first place in the East Division. Ron Walters scored twice in the final period for Alberta as the Oilers defeated Winnipeg 3-1 in a game between the top clubs in the West. The two kept pace later in the week as Alberta beat Chicago 3-1, and the Jets topped Los Angeles 5-1 as Chris Bordeleau, the league's leading scorer, had his 15th goal.