PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Milwaukee's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Boston's Dave Cowens have returned. Abdul-Jabbar made his season debut at Madison Square Garden, where his team had lost nine straight times over three years. And the Knicks were on a five-game win streak. But the Bucks prevailed 90-72 with Kareem scoring 17 points. Cowens' inspired play led the Celtics to a 95-94 win over Phoenix. Buffalo rolled to its 11th straight victory and led the Atlantic by four games. New York beat Washington 86-85 while Washington, the Central leader, beat Portland for its lone victory. Second-place Houston had a win, too, over Cleveland, which was only a game behind the Rockets. Atlanta allowed New Orleans its second victory of the season and the first for the Jazz' new coach, Bill Van Breda Kolff. In the Midwest, Detroit, K. C. Omaha and Chicago were all at .500, while Milwaukee, with a mere four wins, was only 4� games behind. Seattle beat Portland 117-110, behind Fred Brown's 40 points. Los Angeles moved out of the cellar, leaving it to Phoenix. Golden State had three victories.
ABA: While dissatisfied St. Louis rookie Marvin Barnes wandered aimlessly around the country, another rookie, Bobby Jones of Denver, roamed successfully around the courts. Against Virginia, Jones sank a rebound follow shot that put the Western leaders ahead for good in a 115-110 victory. Against Indiana, Jones tallied 29 points—and the Nuggets had a 4-0 week and led San Antonio by two games. Barnes did play in a 99-93 loss to Utah, but was held to 13 points by Moses Malone. The Stars won three, including a 111-110 overtime thriller from Eastern leader Kentucky. In the Colonels' lone win, against Indiana, Artis Gil-more had 32 points and 28 rebounds. Second-place New York won two, lost two. Virginia beat Memphis, which failed to notch a win. The Spurs won three times and San Diego had two victories, with Travis Grant scoring 34 points against Kentucky.
BOATING—BROOM HILDA, a Ranger-37 sloop, skippered by Guido Mortarotti of Beverly Hills, Calif., was the overall and Class D winner of the 1,032-mile Los Angeles-to-Mazatlan yacht race in the corrected time of seven days and 19� hours.
BOXING—Brooklyn's VITO ANTUOFERMO, 22, won a 10-round decision over Emile Griffith in a middleweight bout, at Madison Square Garden.
Nicaragua's ALEXIS ARGUELLO won the WBA featherweight title from Mexico's Ruben Olivares with a 13th-round KO, in Los Angeles.
CHESS—ANATOLY KARPOV of Russia defeated Viktor Korchnoi, three wins to two, with 19 draws, to become the official challenger for Bobby Fischer's world chess championship.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: Los Angeles delighted 90,266 fans, the biggest crowd in the league in 15 years, with a 20-17 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota to clinch a tie for the NFC West title. Quarterback Jim Harris capped nine straight completions with an eight-yarder to Jack Snow for the deciding touchdown. Late Miami mistakes gave New York a 17-14 victory, the Jets' third in a row. The Dolphins are now tied again for the AFC East lead with Buffalo, a 15-10 winner over Cleveland. Bob Griese's 13th pass interception of the season, this one by Roscoe Word, hurt Miami, as did a roughing-the-kicker penalty with 1:46 left. O. J. Simpson rushed for one touchdown and John Leypoldt booted two field goals for the Bills. St. Louis guaranteed itself at least a share of the NFC East crown by beating the New York Giants 23-21 on a Jim Bakken field goal with three seconds to play. Washington stayed close to the Cardinals, lashing Philadelphia 26-7. A Giant reject, Larry Jones, returned a kickoff 102 yards to ignite the Redskins. Oakland (page 28), which had backed into the AFC West title, lost to Denver 20-17. Cincinnati, behind NFL passing leader Ken Anderson, dissected Kansas City 33-6, keeping the heat on AFC Central leader Pittsburgh. Dallas ended Houston's four-game win streak 10-0, and kept its playoff hopes alive. New England regained its earlier form, beating Baltimore 27-17. Green Bay and Detroit stayed tied for second behind Minnesota in the NFC Central. The Packers blanked San Diego 34-0 and Detroit beat the Bears 34-17. San Francisco walloped Atlanta 27-0.
WFL: The playoffs began. Florida beat Philadelphia 18-3 and Hawaii downed the Southern California Sun 32-14. Memphis and Birmingham had byes. Christopher B. Hemmeter, co-owner of the Hawaiians, was named president of the league, taking over executive control from Donald Regan, who had succeeded Gary Davidson, the WFL's founder. But Hemmeter's Hawaiians were being sued by the University of California regents for $10,107 for use of the Riverside campus facilities during the training season. And three Sun players—Kermit Johnson, Booker Brown and James McAlister—failed to show up for the playoff game with Hawaii, claiming they were free agents because the team had violated their contracts by failing to pay them on schedule.
GOLF—SOUTH AFRICA, led by individual champion BOBBY COLE, won the World Cup, in Caracas.
HARNESS RACING—HANDLE WITH CARE, a filly driven by Peter Haughton, blazed to a 1:54[4/5]-mile in the $59,165 Western Pace at Hollywood Park, equaling the fastest mile ever for a 3-year-old pacer.