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PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: All is back to normal in the Atlantic Division as the Boston Celtics moved into first place behind consecutive romps over Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles while Buffalo was losing six of seven. John Havlicek replaced Hal Greer as the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history when he hit a pair of free throws against the Lakers that gave him 21,587 points in his 13-year career. Walt Frazier scored eight of his game-high 32 points in overtime to beat Phoenix—and all six Knick steals were his. Two nights later Frazier's 20-foot jump shot at the buzzer gave the Knicks a 103-102 victory over Cleveland, which has lost Austin Carr for two months because of knee surgery. Detroit took the lead in the Midwest Division by holding of! runner-up Chicago with an 86-81 triumph. New Orleans, which has been having attendance and victory problems, Buffalo and Philadelphia also fell to the Pistons. Dave Bing's 28 points and a stingy defense decided the 76er game. Milwaukee won four games, too, including a 116-111 defeat of Atlanta in which goggle-eyed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 52 points, tops in the league this season. Kansas City- Omaha failed to keep pace in the Midwest Division, managing to beat only Portland. The Trail Blazers have played their last 17 games without Bill Walton, who was undergoing acupuncture treatments for a bone spur in his right foot. Golden State held its Pacific Division lead by beating the Kings and the Central Division leader, Washington. The Bullets kept Cleveland at bay with a 103-90 win while Houston's balanced scoring stopped the Los Angeles Lakers 120-107.
ABA: San Antonio's Swen Nater had played in the shadow of Bill Walton at UCLA, but he's in this league all by himself and in the spotlight as he led it in rebounding. Nater had 27 rebounds and George Gervin pumped in 27 points as the Spurs outrebounded Indiana 61-29 to win 140-105. Still, San Antonio lost three games and fell farther behind West Division leader Denver (page 22) as Denver (2-0) maintained its heady pace. Kentucky started out the week with a 125-114 victory over Memphis and ended with a 125-111 win over the Spurs. The Colonels also won their other two games to hold a percentage lead over New York in the East. The Nets, too, went undefeated in three games. A balanced attack paced by John Williamson enabled them to beat Memphis 128-119. St. Louis and Virginia also fell victims to the defending league champs. The printer impounded San Diego's press brochures in lieu of payment and other businesses are demanding cash in advance, but Wilt Chamberlain's old team managed three wins, including a 143-118 drubbing of Memphis. Indiana also lost to Utah, which climbed to third place in the West.
BOWLING—DORIS COBURN reeled off three straight strikes in the final frame to beat Patty Costello 216-214 and earn $12,500 for capturing the $85,000 Red Crown Classic in Baltimore. BARRY ASHER overcame top-seeded Mickey Higham 236-188 to win $7,000 and the $60,000 Alameda Open title.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—Neither the fumbles of Ohio State's Archie Griffin nor an injury to Southern Cal's Anthony Davis dulled the excitement of the 61st Rose Bowl, won by the Trojans 18-17 on a 38-yard pass from Pat Haden to Johnny McKay followed by a two-point conversion pass to Shelton Diggs (page 24). Ara Parseghian went out a winner as Notre Dame beat Alabama 13-11 in the Orange Bowl, leaving Bear Bryant with an 0-7-1 record in his last eight bowl games. Penn State captured the Cotton Bowl from Baylor 41-20 on the two-touchdown heroics of Wingback Jimmy Cefalo and Nebraska defeated Florida 13-10 in the Sugar Bowl. The East built a 26-6 halftime lead and went on to beat the West 34-25 in the Hula Bowl.
HOCKEY—NHL: After alternating between third and last place in the Patrick Division, the New York Rangers claimed the runner-up spot behind Philadelphia by posting four impressive wins. Ranger rookies Rick Middleton and Ron Greschner scored to start a four-goal second-period rally that led to a 6-2 trouncing of Chicago. The Flyers beat both Adams Division leader Buffalo and Smythe Division leader Vancouver but ended up the week with a 2-2 tie in California against the Norris Division runner-up Los Angeles Kings. Montreal held onto the Norris lead by virtue of a 10-0 rout of Washington and a 1-1 tie with Atlanta. The Flames' only victory came against St. Louis, snapping a six-game home winning streak for the Blues. Pierre Larouche touched off a five-goal final period that brought Pittsburgh back from a two-goal deficit and on to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota North Stars. Minnesota, Buffalo and, of course, Washington were winless during the week. The New York Islanders disappointed many of the 14,865 cheering fans at Nassau Coliseum when the Rangers prevailed 5-3. Toronto's 6-3 defeat of Chicago stretched their home undefeated skein to six but was their only victory during the week. Boston won twice as Phil Esposito picked up his league-leading 37th goal of the season in a penalty-marred win over Los Angeles. Detroit beat the Seals but lost to another tailender, Kansas City.
WHA: The defending champion Houston Aeros reeled off their fifth and sixth straight wins, dumping the Michigan Stags 6-3 and 5-2. Four of the top 10 scorers in the WHA are Aeros. After a pair of losses to the Minnesota Fighting Saints and a 4-3 New Year's Eve defeat by Chicago, Cleveland Crusader Coach John Hanna had a request for 1975. "I'm going to hope for an eight-or nine-goal game so we can loosen up and start thinking we can score." Four goals were enough for the Crusaders to whip Indianapolis later in the week but Hanna wasn't around for a 2-0 loss to San Diego. He was fired and replaced by General Manager Jack Vivian. Toronto was winless for the week as East leader New England beat both the Toros and Vancouver. Phoenix had a busy week, escaping with two ties and one victory. Winnipeg didn't play anybody but Edmonton had two overtime victories and Quebec won twice and took over first in the Canadian Division.
TRACK & FIELD—MARK WINZENRIED bettered the American indoor record for the 600-meter run by half a second, with a 1:18.3 in England's Cosford Games.