PRO BASKETBALL NBA: Philadelphia lost Billy Cunningham for the rest of the season with a severely injured leg during a 99-97 defeat of New York. The next night against Kansas City, George McGinnis was high man with 28 as the 76ers won 98-84 to stay atop the Atlantic Division. Buffalo lost to the Knicks 108-98, its seventh defeat in its last eight outings. Boston stayed close to Philadelphia as Dave Cowens scored 34 in a 104-93 win over New Orleans and 24 as the Celtics beat Atlanta 111-104. Atlanta remained in the Central Division lead. The Bullets stopped a four-game losing streak by defeating Los Angeles 107-104, as Dave Bing scored 13 of his 22 points in the final quarter to erase a five-point deficit. Houston won its third game of the week, 105-96 over Detroit, Mike Newlin scoring a season-high 34 points. The night before, Piston Forward Al Eberhard shot 75% and got a career-high 30 points in pacing Midwest leader Detroit to a 102-91 defeat of Houston. The two California teams continued to battle for the Pacific lead. Los Angeles moved closer to idle Golden State by downing Detroit 118-110. But the Warriors, with 18 first half points from Jamaal Wilkes, defeated Seattle 104-94 to increase their lead over the Lakers. On Sunday Golden State beat Seattle 115-106 as Los Angeles defeated Washington 114-106.
ABA: The fallen Utah Stars sold four players to the Spirits of St. Louis to help pay outstanding debts (page 22). forwards Randy Denton and Steve Green and Guard Ron Boone reported for duty, but Center Moses Malone, first high school player since 1948 to join the pros, awaited the outcome of an NBA draft. The league was realigned into one seven-team division with Virginia being the only team with a losing record. However, the Spirits promptly lost twice to fall below .500. In a 123-105 defeat by Indiana, the Spirits shot 26% in the first quarter. Boone's 29 points were not enough to offset Denton's four, Green's six and Marvin Barnes' four point totals. Injury-ridden Indiana managed two wins, the first over Kentucky 113-100 with Billy Keller scoring 30 points and Dave Robisch, subbing for Len Elmore, 27. Bo Lamar returned to action against St. Louis and scored 27 points in the Pacers' 123-106 victory. New York rested for six days and on the seventh met leader Denver, which had beaten Indiana 126-118. The Nuggets won 123-119.
BOXING—JOHN STRACEY of England won the WBC welterweight title on a sixth-round TKO of Jose Napoles in Mexico City after Napoles, who had held the title for all but six months of the last six years, suffered a cut above his right eye.
Guts Ishimatsu of Japan retained his WBC lightweight championship by knocking out Alvaro Rojas of Costa Rica in the 14th round in Tokyo.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: St. Louis took over first place in the NEC East by defeating former co-leader Dallas 31-17 (page 68). Washington tied with Dallas for second place after Quarterback Billy Kilmer hit five completions for 56 yards in the final minute to set up a 39-yard winning field goal by Mark Moseley with two seconds remaining, which enabled the Redskins to beat Atlanta 30-27. Falcon Nick Mike-Mayer had tied the game with a 44-yard field goal with 61 seconds left. Pittsburgh stayed atop the AFC Central by beating Cleveland 31-17. Cincinnati, which meets Pittsburgh on Saturday, remained a game behind with a 31-0 win over Philadelphia, Ken Anderson directing a Bengal offense that gained 484 yards. The victory eliminated Houston from playoff contention, even though the Oilers defeated San Francisco 27-13. San Diego won its first game of the season, 28-20 over Kansas City, rookie Running Back Ricky Young scoring twice. Los Angeles, which has clinched the NFC West title, defeated New Orleans 14-7. Minnesota, the NFC Central champ, downed Green Bay 24-3 on Fran Tarkenton's two touchdown passes to John Gilliam and one to Chuck Foreman. Chicago beat Detroit 25-21. The Baltimore Colts won their seventh in a row, 21-0 against the New York Giants. Lydell Mitchell became the first Colt to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season, gaining 119. The New York Jets beat New England 30-28. The Dolphins retained their one-game lead in the AFC East by downing the Buffalo Bills 31-21 (page 68).
GOLF—JOHNNY MILLER won the individual championship and led the UNITED STATES team to a 10-stroke victory over Taiwan in the 23rd World Cup tournament, at Bangkok. Miller shot a four-under 68 on his final round and partner Lou Graham a 70 to give them a 554 total for 72 holes.
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: Down-and-out Detroit was down to changing coaches last week, but even that move could not reverse a losing record that soared to 7-16-4 with a 3-2 loss to Los Angeles. General Manager Alex Delvecchio, who had given up the coaching job in June, removed chosen successor Doug Barkley and returned to action behind the bench. Montreal leads the Norris Division but Los Angeles trails by only seven points after defeating California 3-2. In the Adams Division Boston remained unbeaten in its last 13 games. Buffalo leads the division (page 74), beating the New York Islanders 4-2. Buffalo Goalie Gerry Desjardins made 51 saves, including one off a breakaway by Jean Potvin. Chicago, which is leading the Smythe Division, was undefeated in November, but its 3-3 game with Pittsburgh was the Blackhawks' eighth tie in its last nine games. Chicago's 15-game undefeated streak ended with a 5-2 defeat by Philadelphia. St. Louis dropped its fifth in a row, 4-1 to Montreal. The Islanders still trail the Patrick-leading Flyers, but in a 4-1 defeat of St. Louis they raised their power-play percentage to a league-leading 35.4%, as Billy Harris and Jean Potvin got the team's 40th power-play goal in 25 games.
WHA: Bobby Hull, now in his 19th season, scored his 798th goal, in overtime, as Winnipeg beat Denver 4-3. Hull got Nos. 799 and 800 in a 5-4 win over San Diego two nights later. Nos. 801 and 802 came in a 5-4 loss to Houston, in which Aero Right Wing Gordie Howe scored his record 857th. No one else has scored as many as 800. In that game, which was marred by 31 penalties, Howe was suspended for the first time in his 28-year career for abuse of an official. Winnipeg remained atop the Canadian Division as Quebec split, beating Cleveland 9-2 and losing to Toronto 7-4. Toronto began the week with a 7-2 loss to Edmonton, despite the fact that Coach Bob Baun fined all the Toros $500 apiece after the team frittered away a six-goal lead in a 10-9 defeat of Cleveland. Poorer but wiser, the Toros went on to win twice, 4-3 over Calgary and 7-4 over Quebec. Houston leads the West Division, whose last-place Denver Spurs are looking for local investors to rescue the team. No Eastern teams have winning records. Cincinnati broke an eight-game losing streak with a 5-3 defeat of Cleveland. Racer Defenseman Pat Stapleton broke a league record with six assists in a 7-1 thrashing of the Stingers.
SKIING—Swiss racers BERNADETTE ZURBRIGGEN and LISE MARIE MOREROD won the women's downhill and giant slalom as the World Cup season began in France. Italy's GUSTAVO THOENI won the men's giant slalom and KEN READ of Canada, the downhill. Earlier at Val d'Is�re, French downhiller Michel Dujon was killed and Switzerland's Roland Collombin was injured.
SOCCER—SAN FRANCISCO defeated Southern Illinois 4-0 to win the NCAA title in Edwardsville, Ill. (page 20).