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BASKETBALL—NBA: The moving teams in the East were the second-placers—one up, Atlanta one down, New York. The Hawks, cemented behind Baltimore in the Central Division, swept four in a row: Seattle, Philadelphia (twice) and Houston. The Knicks started out big, wrecking Boston 123-91, the worst defeat for the Atlantic Division leaders all season, but then dropped three in a row, to Milwaukee 114-100 and to Baltimore 97-75 and 106-97. The first loss to the Bullets, in Madison Square Garden, had Knick fans booing their idols as the Bullets outshot New York 39-17 in the fourth quarter while Jerry Lucas, Bill Bradley and Earl Monroe made only one basket apiece in the entire game. Willis Reed, back after a seven-game absence because of a burned foot, was little help. The next day in Baltimore, Archie Clark, who finished with 24 points and eight assists, destroyed the Knicks with a six-point splurge late in the fourth quarter. It was Baltimore's third straight win over the Knicks, the team it will meet first in the playoffs. Milwaukee, still leading Chicago in the Midwest, won three, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar contributing 36 points in the victory over New York. The only Buck loss was to Los Angeles, which continues to lead the Pacific Division. Golden State, still giddy after beating the Bucks the previous week, sobered up and lost to Detroit, Boston and Chicago.
ABA: Nothing could be finer than the week that Carolina had—well, almost. The Cougars chewed up Denver, Memphis and New York, but were upset by lowly San Diego. Even so, Carolina increased its already comfortable lead over Kentucky, which split four games. New York, trying for the fourth playoff spot in the East, could do no better than 2-2, but that was enough to enlarge the gap over fifth-place Memphis to five games, thanks to an 0-4 Tams' swoon. In the West, Indiana and Denver were still chasing and not catching Utah. Dallas lost three out of four but moved even further ahead of San Diego, which lost four of five.
BOWLING—DON McCUNE upset top-seeded Jim Stefanich 246-184 in the $80,000 Miller High Life Open in Milwaukee with 32 strikes in four final-round games. The $12,000 first prize puts McCune on top of the PBA money list with $32,000 for the year.
FIGURE SKATING—KAREN MAGNUSSEN of Vancouver, British Columbia won gold medals in the compulsory figures and free skating to capture the women's world championships in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. She defeated U.S. champion Janet Lynn, who took two costly spills during her free-skating compulsories.
In his farewell performance, Czechoslovakia's ONDREJ NEPELA retained the men's world title for the third year. The 23-year-old Nepela, who has been skating competitively for 16 years, said, "This was definitely the last time."
GOLF—BUDDY ALLIN won the Florida Citrus Open in Orlando by eight strokes with a 23-under-par 265, the lowest pro tour score of the year.
HOCKEY—NHL: Just when Boston had moved into a second-place tie with New York in the East, the Rangers took flight, breaking the deadlock with a 6-5 win over Minnesota that included two goals by Jean Ratelle. The Rangers then expanded their unbeaten week with a 3-3 tie against Western Division leader Chicago and a 6-3 win over fifth-place Detroit. Vic Hadfield picked up five stitches in his left cheek against the Black Hawks but turned the other and scored twice against the Red Wings. It was all downhill for the Bruins, now five points behind New York, as they lost at home to St. Louis for the first time since 1970. The score was 4-3. Montreal handed the Bruins a 5-1 pasting, but the week ended on a bright note as 44-year-old Jacques Plante, making his debut as Boston goalie, shut out Chicago 4-0. The Canadiens, leading in the East by eight points, knocked off Los Angeles 5-2 with Jacques Lemaire getting his 36th goal. Buffalo remained barely ahead of Detroit in the race for the last Stanley Cup berth. In the West, Chicago had a busy week. Besides the Ranger game in which Pit Martin scored his 25th goal, the Black Hawks tied Toronto 3-3 and disposed of Atlanta 4-2 and the last-place New York Islanders 5-3. The Islanders inched toward double figures in the win column, however, with their ninth victory of the season, a 9-3 rout over seventh-place Vancouver. It was still Minnesota, St. Louis and Pittsburgh battling for the last two playoff spots with the Penguins trailing by the width of a flipper.
WHA: In the East first-place Cleveland held its tenuous lead despite a 2-1 loss to Ottawa and a 9-5 lacing by third-place New York, the Raiders hammering Crusader Goalie Gerry Cheevers with 43 shots. Two Raiders, Gene Peacosh and Wayne Rivers, registered hat tricks. New York's jubilation was brief as it, too, lost to Ottawa 2-1, then repaid Cleveland by losing 4-3. Raider Ron Ward scored his 101st point in the loss to the Crusaders, thus becoming the first to pass the 100 mark in the new league. Looking punchy in its fight for a playoff spot, Philadelphia dropped a pair to Minnesota and Winnipeg 3-0 and 5-3. In the West, Winnipeg continued to dominate, beating Chicago 5-1 and Los Angeles 2-1 in addition to the victory over the Blazers. Player- Coach Bobby Hull picked up four goals for the week.