PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: The Boston Celtic express derailed at Philadelphia after 11 straight victories but tracked back with a 128-102 win over New York, which gave them a four-game lead in the Atlantic. The Knicks got a total of 24 points from Centers Neal Walk and John Gianelli in a win over Los Angeles. Chicago, commanding the Midwest, beat Central leader Washington, Portland and Detroit by an average margin of 14 points to hold a two-game lead over the Pistons. Kansas City- Omaha walloped Pacific leader Golden State 127-101 but then had its five-game winning streak snapped by Cleveland. The Kings edged Milwaukee 95-94 and the Bucks belted New Orleans 119-98. The Jazz (page 20) got 47 points from Pete Maravich in a win over Atlanta, which had a 2-2 week. Phoenix (3-1) beat Seattle twice. ( SuperSonics Coach Bill Russell, meanwhile, said he would refuse induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame because of personal reasons.) Buffalo had a 1-1 week, and Randy Smith spoke of becoming a professional soccer player this summer. The Houston Rockets had a .500 week also and were 11 games back in the Central.
ABA: San Antonio, spurred by George Gervin's 26 points and Rich Jones' 25, beat West leader Denver 101-96 and the next night beat the Nuggets again by five points for its sixth straight victory. Half a game separated front-runner New York from Kentucky in the East as each won four times. The Colonels beat Utah twice, but the Nets were unable to keep Moses Malone off the offensive boards and were defeated by the Stars 111-106 for their lone loss. George McGinnis, the league's leading scorer, was dormant for three quarters but awoke for 11 points in the final quarter as the Pacers won against ailing Virginia. St. Louis and San Diego were 0-4. The Memphis Sounds blasted Denver 120-103 and nipped the Squires 100-96.
GOLF—JOHNNY MILLER fired a final-round 68 to win the Bob Hope Desert Classic at Palm Springs with a 339, earning $32,000.
HOCKEY—NHL: Phil Esposito, the league's leading scorer with 52 goals, slapped in four and added an assist in leading the Boston Bruins to an 8-5 victory over Detroit. It was the fourth four-goal game of Espo's 12-season career. But the Bruins were seven points behind Adams leader Buffalo, which won two, scoring 14 goals—and giving up but two, and tied one other game. The New York Rangers' Rod Gilbert also scored four goals but his team had to settle for a 5-5 tie with Detroit and a nine-point margin behind Patrick pacesetter Philadelphia, with which they split a pair. Montreal pulled ahead of Los Angeles in the Norris with three high-scoring victories over California, Detroit and the Rangers. Three points separated front-runner Vancouver and Chicago in the Smythe; the Canucks defeated the Black Hawks during the week. Kansas City fired 25 blanks at St. Louis, allowing Ed Johnston to post the 30th shutout of his career. The next night the Blues tied Toronto, which had beaten them four days earlier. Atlanta defeated Minnesota and L.A., while the New York Islanders handed the Washington Capitals their 27th straight road loss. Pittsburgh had a 3-0 week and Minnesota's only victory was a 5-0 zipping of the Flyers.
WHA: Baltimore's Blades made their home debut before more than 9,000 enthusiastic fans in the Civic Center, prompting Coach Johnny Wilson to say, "the emotion of the crowd created excessive palpitations of the heart." Unemotional Houston, honcho in the West, handed the Blades their eighth straight loss. Two defeats later the Blades snapped back with a 6-4 victory over the Aeros. Quebec, the Canadian leader, also beat Houston and added a pair of 4-3 victories over Cleveland and Phoenix. The Roadrunners romped past San Diego 9-2, but the Mariners got three goals and two assists from Wayne Rivers to swamp Toronto 8-4. New England had an overtime triumph over Winnipeg, which went winless for the week. Indianapolis also failed to win and Chicago beat Winnipeg for its lone victory of the week. Vancouver scored four goals in each of its three victories.
HORSE RACING—SNURB ($10.60), ridden by Gene St. Leon, and LONDON COMPANY ($7.20), Marco Castaneda up, were winners of the split Bougainvillea Handicap at Hialeah. Both horses raced the 1[3/16]-mile in 1:53[3/5].
Trojan Bronze ($39.20), Bill Shoemaker riding, won the 1�-mile San Marcos Handicap at Santa Anita in 1:59[4/5].
SKIING—In the U.S. national cross-country championships at Putney, Vt., MARTHA ROCKWELL of West Lebanon, N.H. won the five-, 10- and 20-kilometers, TIM CALDWELL of Putney took the men's 30- and 50-kilometers, and BILL KOCH of Guilford, Vt. outraced the men's junior 10- and senior 15-kilometer field.
SOCCER—The NEW YORK COSMOS won the second North American Soccer League indoor tournament over Rochester, Hartford and Boston at War Memorial Coliseum in Rochester.
TENNIS—CHRIS EVERT earned $15,000 by beating Margaret Court 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the finals of the Virginia Slims of Akron tournament.