PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Buffalo Captain Jim McMillian had an appendectomy, but with Jack Marin replacing Jimmy Mac the Braves extended their winning streak to seven to stay atop the Atlantic Division. K.C.- Omaha's lone victory came against Boston. The Celtics cried foul but the referee did not on an attempted layup by Jo Jo White in the waning seconds of that 110-109 Boston loss. The New York Knicks hit the open man, mainly Earl Monroe, in wins over Seattle and improved Cleveland. The Cavaliers, still playing at a heady .500 pace, dropped to third in the Central behind Washington and Houston. The Bullets, who toyed with the Kings 118-81, had a 2-1 week, while Houston, using substitutes liberally, stayed close with three wins. Mediocre Atlanta won two, lost two. The New Orleans Jazz notched a 102-101 win over Portland, its first of the season. The Jabbar-less Milwaukee Bucks were still lame, with an 0-4 week and 11 straight losses. Detroit turned Bob Lanier loose against the Bucks for 40 points and 24 rebounds in a 98-91 victory. Chicago had little trouble with Phoenix despite Charlie Scott's 26 points. Portland's Bill Walton dislocated a finger, but the Blazers won three out of four to reach .500. Blazer Guard Larry Steele, fittingly enough, tied a league record for steals with 10 against Los Angeles, but the Lakers ended a four-game losing spell with their 14th straight victory over Philadelphia. Still, Golden State, behind Rick Barry's hot hand, continued to pace the Pacific.
ABA: The New York Nets like to think they are the class of the league, but two losses in five days to the Kentucky Colonels made that boast dubious. The Colonels, always offense-minded, used good defense, too, in a 132-129 double-overtime victory. That was an ego booster for Kentucky, which opened a three-game lead in the East over the defending champs. The Nets had another setback against Utah. Ron Boone hit 15 of 20 shots in that 109-98 victory, and the Stars climbed to third place in the West. Indiana fell to last, even though the Pacers yielded practically no offensive boards to the Spirits of St. Louis and won that game, its only victory of the week, 117-109. Denver, out in front in the West, trounced San Diego twice. The Memphis Sounds nipped San Antonio in overtime on a tip-in by Mel Daniels, but the Spurs beat hapless Virginia to hand the Squires their seventh straight loss.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: The Los Angeles Rams failed to clinch a playoff berth, losing 20-7 to New Orleans, as the Saints' Archie Manning threw two touchdown passes and directed a wide-open offense. But Oakland all but clinched in the AFC West, defeating San Diego 17-10, and Washington strengthened its chances of being the NFC's wild card by stopping Dallas 28-21. Miami finally took over first place in the AFC East, jumping to a 14-0 lead over Buffalo, falling back into a tie, then winning 35-28 in the last 19 seconds. The New York Jets upset New England 21-16 behind two Joe Namath touchdown passes, while Baltimore, with Lydell Mitchell dashing for 151 yards, beat Atlanta 17-7. San Francisco snapped its seven-game losing streak by trouncing Chicago 34-0. Pittsburgh widened its lead in the AFC Central by beating Cleveland 26-16, with Roy Gerela kicking four field goals, and Cincinnati lost to Houston again, 20-3. Minnesota was upset by Green Bay 19-7 (page 28), but St. Louis held on to first in the NFC East, beating Philadelphia 13-3. Errol Mann's field goal with two seconds left gave Detroit a 20-19 win over the New York Giants.
WFL: The playoff situation: Originally it was to be an eight-team affair with the first two in each division assured a berth, and the other two spots going to the two with the next best records. Eight of the 12 clubs were thus assured a playoff chance. Then Detroit and Jacksonville folded, which meant that only two of the remaining teams would miss the playoffs. Then Chicago said it wouldn't play anymore, and it began to look as though woeful Shreveport would be the only team not in postseason action. Then a team official said there would be no playoffs at all and that Memphis, 17-3, would be declared champion. Then John Bassett, the Memphis president, said he wanted to play, and that his team would meet the winner of Florida vs. Birmingham. Southern California, the best in the West, was excluded altogether, but as the Sun ended the WFL season with a 27-24 loss to Florida, the Californians said they wanted to be part of a playoff, too. On Sunday the Sun, the Hawaiians and Philadelphia were all included, bringing the number of playoff teams back to six. Tune in next week.
HARNESS RACING—ARMBRO OMAHA ($6), driven by Billy Haughton, won his fifth $100,000 event, the L. K. Shapiro Stakes for 3-year-old pacers, at Hollywood Park. He covered the mile in 1:56[1/5], a career and race record.
HOCKEY—NHL: The Los Angeles Kings' 10-game unbeaten streak came to a halt when Chicago defeated the Norris Division leaders 2-1. It was only the second loss for the Kings this season. Despite the big win, the Black Hawks did not close the gap in the Smythe Division between themselves and Vancouver, which won three and tied the Kings once. Buffalo's 10-game unbeaten string also ended, in a 7-5 loss to Boston, but the Sabres maintained their lead over the Bruins in the Adams Division by scoring 21 goals in three triumphs, ramming eight past Montreal's Ken Dryden (page 24). The Canadiens thumped Washington 11-1 and tied the New York Rangers on a goal by Serge Savard with 24 seconds left. The Rangers remained in last place in the Patrick Division behind the New York Islanders. Atlanta moved a point closer to first-place Philadelphia in the Patrick, helping itself by playing a 2-2 tie with the powerful Flyers, who later lost to St. Louis. Pittsburgh and Detroit continued to fight for third place in the Norris. Struggling Kansas City won twice but was still last in the Smythe, well behind Minnesota. Toronto lost a couple but beat California to keep the Seals in the Adams cellar.
WHA: The Canadian Division continued to be the tightest of the three, with Toronto holding on to first ahead of Quebec and Winnipeg. The Toros won a pair but were upended by Edmonton, which edged past Vancouver and out of last place. The Oilers also hurt Winnipeg's chances of moving up after a 5-3 win over the Jets. New England was still way out in front in the East despite one-sided losses to Houston (6-1) and Phoenix (6-3). The West-leading Aeros put space between themselves and San Diego by winning three, and the Roadrunners' upset of the Whalers kept them ahead of Minnesota and Michigan. In the East, Indianapolis dropped to third behind Cleveland after the Crusaders took a couple of tough ones, including an overtime win over Phoenix. Chicago remained a distant last.
HORSE RACING—AUGUSTUS BAY ($31), an 8-year-old gelding, came from the middle of the field at the final jumps to capture the $50,000 Colonial Cup, the richest steeplechase in America, by eight lengths, at Camden, S.C.
Coraggioso ($8) met with interference in the stretch but earned first money through a disqualification in the $55,500 1�-mile Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct. Favorite Poker Night, which caused the trouble and was placed second, was retired from competition after the race.
Crafty Khale ($30) won the $58,150 Stuyvesant Handicap by half a length at Aqueduct. Favored Stop the Music was second.