PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: New York, suffering its own energy crisis without injured stars Willis Reed, Earl Monroe and Jerry Lucas, lost its fifth straight game, to Chicago 115-97, before Phil Jackson provided his own brand of power. Making a rare start at center, Jackson scored 30 points and ignited the Knicks to a 119-99 victory over Cleveland, which had won three in a row. Boston, the Atlantic leader, saw its 12-game winning streak broken by Milwaukee, but John Havlicek's 29 points led a rebound 120-98 victory over Chicago. Meanwhile, the Bucks opened a three-game lead over the Bulls in the Midwest as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was positively towering, averaging 30.7 points in four Milwaukee wins. In the Central Division, Capital (2-1) and Phil Chenier maintained a slim lead over Atlanta and Pete Maravich, who scored 78 points in two Hawk wins, while division "have-nots" Cleveland (3-2) and Houston (3-1) both surged toward respectability. Out West, Los Angeles still led Portland despite an embarrassing 134-115 loss to the Trailblazers.
ABA: Led by the most prolific center in the league, a schizophrenic fellow by the name of Owens-Chones who averages 30 points and 16 rebounds a game, Carolina finally moved ahead of Kentucky in the Eastern Division. On Monday, Jim Chones hit for 20 points and the Cougars beat Kentucky 94-82, holding the Colonels to their lowest scoring output of the year. Then on Saturday Tom Owens poured in 19 as Carolina beat Kentucky for the fifth time in six meetings, 120-113. The Colonels lost four of five and Guard Rick Mount bemoaned the reduction of pro basketball to "all push and shove." New York's Julius Erving reclaimed the league scoring lead from Dan Issel, hitting 43, 36, 32 and 36 points as the Nets (3-1) closed in on Kentucky. The Nets have won nine of 11 games since rookie Guard John Williamson was inserted in the starting lineup. In the Western Division, Denver's Julius Keye locked up San Antonio high scorer Rich Jones for only seven points as the Rockets beat the Spurs 107-86 and led the four-team jumble by a pinch.
BOXING—BOB FOSTER successfully defended his world light-heavyweight title by gaining a unanimous decision over South African Pierre Fourie in a 15-round bout in Johannesburg (page 30).
PRO FOOTBALL—Fatigue began to tell in the 12th week of the season, and the most effective plays may well have been the Fumble and the Interception. CINCINNATI fashioned a stunning 27-0 rout of MINNESOTA out of an interception and two fumble recoveries. Linebacker Bill Bergey recovered a fumble and picked off a Fran Tarkenton pass to set up a field goal and Cornerback Lemar Parrish ran 23 yards for a score with another fumble. GREEN BAY downed NEW ORLEANS 30-10 on two interceptions run back for TDs by Al Matthews (58 yards) and Jim Carter (42 yards). The NEW YORK JETS followed the bouncing ball to a 20-17 win over BALTIMORE as Safety Phil Wise raced 80 yards with a fumble for one score, and Joe Namath capitalized on another fumble with a scoring pass to Emerson Boozer. OAKLAND won small from lowly HOUSTON 17-6, but Raider QB Ken Stabler was plagued by three interceptions and a fumble. The Raiders took over first in the AFC West as Roger Staubach lifted DALLAS over DENVER 22-10 with two touchdown passes to Jean Fugett. CLEVELAND scored twice in the last six minutes to tie KANSAS CITY 20-20 and SAN FRANCISCO kicked PHILADELPHIA 38-28. The Patriots' Jim Plunkett threw for one score and ran for two more in NEW ENGLAND'S 30-14 win over SAN DIEGO. NEW YORK'S other team almost scored a Giant upset over WASHINGTON before withering 27-24 under Sonny Jurgensen's 11 consecutive completions and Larry Brown's three TDs. BUFFALO did get the upset, 17-6 over ATLANTA, as O. J. Simpson rushed for 134 yards and Jim Braxton scored twice. DETROIT, on Bill Munson's long passes, nipped ST. LOUIS 20-16 and LOS ANGELES shut out CHICAGO 26-0 behind David Ray's four field goals and Larry McCutcheon's 152 yards rushing.
GOLF—JACK NICKLAUS shot a final-round 67 to win his third straight Walt Disney World Open by one stroke over Mason Rudolph in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The $30,000 first prize made Nicklaus the first golfer ever to top $2 million in career winnings and earned him his third straight PGA money-winning title with $308,362 for the year.
HARNESS RACING—SIR DALRAE, a 4-year-old pacer, was the overwhelming choice of the U.S. Trotting Association as Horse of the Year, defeating Flirth, who was named best of the year's 3-year-old trotters.
Elesnar ($5.40), driven by Percy Robillard, moved from last place to win the 19th running of the $100,000 American Trotting Classic by nearly two lengths over Killbuck Mary at Hollywood Park. Favored Spartan Hanover was third.
HOCKEY—NHL: Atlanta climbed into a second-place tie with Chicago behind Philadelphia (1-0-1) in the West, but it was not easy. First, Atlanta edged Buffalo 4-3 as a Sabres' thrust that would have tied the game 4-4 was ruled no goal by the referee. Atlanta Goalie Dan Bouchard answered Buffalo's protestations with, " Rick Martin's stick was between my legs, maybe that's what they saw." Martin countered, "My stick was nowhere near his legs." Then, after Atlanta almost blew a four-goal lead to Detroit as three goals did get between Bouchard's legs, Coach Boom Boom Geoffrion wheezed, "If we are going to have to battle like this all year to get into the playoffs I'll probably be dead by then." For Boston, life was simpler. The East leaders beat LA 3-1 and then were tied by Chicago 3-3 as Phil Esposito had three assists and one goal in two games. Toronto (3-0) jumped into second over Montreal (2-1), and the New York Rangers were fit to be tied—by Philly 2-2 and St. Louis 4-4.
WHA: In efforts to change their image, the New Jersey Knights, who began the season as the New York Golden Blades, blackened their white skates and presumably sharpened the blades, too, as they won their debut before 4,062 in Cherry Hill over Quebec 3-1. However, the transformation was shortlived: the shoe polish began to rub off, and as more and more white showed through, the Knights lost to New England and Edmonton. It was rumored that they next would move to Baltimore. John French registered three assists as New England regained full possession of first in the East by downing Houston 5-2. Quebec was tied by Houston 3-3 as Gordie Howe scored one goal and fed his son Mark for another (page 28). In the West, Edmonton held a five-point lead behind the play of WHA leading scorer Jim Harrison. And Winnipeg Coach Bobby Hull was still "waiting for this club to show me some guts...." The Jets, winners in the West last year, were lagging in fourth place at week's end.
HORSE RACING—BIG SPRUCE ($7.20), Angel Santiago up, won the 35th running of the mile and ?ths Gallant Fox Handicap at Aqueduct by 6� lengths over Crafty Khale.