PRO BASKETBALL—NBA: Ray Scott, the only winning coach in Detroit's history and NBA Coach of the Year in 1974, was fired due to a "communication breakdown," and his assistant, Herb Brown, 39 (brother of Denver Coach Larry Brown), took over. Despite an 18-27 record, the Pistons are in second place in the Midwest, trailing Milwaukee by 1� games. The losingest coach in that division (and in the league), Dick Motta of Chicago, got a vote of confidence from his younger players at a press conference just hours before the Bulls surprised the Pacific-leading Warriors 110-103, but they then dropped three of their next four games. Boston, first in the Atlantic, stopped Buffalo 109-100, John Havlicek tallying 26 points to become the league's fourth leading alltime scorer (23,172 points in 15 seasons), surpassing Elgin Baylor. Cleveland won its sixth in its last seven starts, edging Chicago 91-89 and moved into a tie with Central leader Washington, which lost 118-105 to Portland and 123-100 to Seattle. When Portland beat Seattle 124-104 and Phoenix lost to Los Angeles 121-118, the Trail Blazers emerged from fifth and last place to within 1� games of third-place Seattle. In Portland's sixth straight victory, a 107-97 pasting of the Bucks, Geoff Petrie and Sidney Wicks each scored 26 points.
ABA: After the All-Star break, during which host Denver defeated the luminaries of the other six teams 144-138 (page 50), St. Louis fired rookie Coach Rod Thorn and brought in veteran Joe Mullaney, whose credits include bringing the 1970 Lakers, the 1973 Colonels and the 1974 Stars into championship playoff rounds. But his first outing, a 118-96 loss to San Antonio, dropped the Spirits another game behind fifth-place Indiana, the Pacers defeating second-place New York 127-107. The Nets' losing streak grew to three with a 107-104 defeat by Kentucky, winner in four of its last six games. Denver increased its league lead to 5� games by winning its 23rd home game (against two defeats) 129-117 over Virginia. The last-place Squires traded Center Jim Eakins to New York for Billy Schaeffer and Swen Nater. Nater scored 21 points and hauled down 13 rebounds in his Virginia debut, a 108-104 defeat of Kentucky that ended a 20-game losing streak to the Colonels over three-years.
BOATING—ST. FRANCIS VI, skippered by Tom Blackaller, retained the American-Australian Challenge Cup, defeating the Australian rival Six-meter Prince Alfred in races off Sydney (page 57).
BOWLING—GEORGE PAPPAS, of Charlotte, N.C. outrolled Earl Anthony 223-219 to win the $8,000 first prize in the PBA's King Louie tournament in Overland Park, Kans.
BOXING—RODOLFO MARTINEZ of Mexico retained his WBC bantamweight title on a 15-round split decision over Venice Borkorsor of Thailand, in Bangkok.
GOLF—BEN CRENSHAW fired a six-under-par 66 in the final round of the $230,000 Hawaiian Open for a total of 270, to top Hale Irwin and Larry Nelson by four strokes at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu and win his second straight tournament.
Judy Rankin shot a three-under-par 213 to win the $40,000 Burdine's Invitational by three strokes over Pat Bradley, in Miami.
HOCKEY—NHL: After a week in which there were no changes in the standings, Philadelphia remains atop the Patrick Division, though the Islanders' eight-game unbeaten streak cut the Flyers' lead to seven points. Montreal is coasting in the Norris, despite a 7-3 loss to second-place Los Angeles that snapped the Canadiens' streak of 42 unbeaten games on the Coast. Chicago, loser in only three of its last 18 games, controls the Smythe Division. Boston won its sixth straight, 5-3 over Atlanta, and commands the Adams. Kansas City, under new Coach Eddie Bush, lost its 14th in a row, 6-2 to Pittsburgh, but a rematch with the Penguins produced a 4-4 tie. Ranger Phil Esposito became the league's sixth alltime scoring leader (passing Jean Beliveau) by scoring a goal and assisting on two others in a 3-3 tie with Buffalo. In Detroit, the only Red Wing to score 50 goals two straight years, Mickey Redmond, announced his intention to enter the Mayo Clinic for tests to decide if he is physically able to play following an off-season back operation. In 37 games, Redmond has tallied only 11 goals and 17 assists.
WHA: Houston's West Division lead has hovered around 10 points, but the ownership of second place is constantly shifting. Minnesota, Phoenix and San Diego were within a point of one another all week. When Phoenix beat San Diego 4-3 the Roadrunners moved into second, dropping the Mariners to third. Minnesota won twice, 6-2 over Winnipeg and 6-5 in overtime against Indianapolis, which tied them for second with Phoenix, but wound up the week minus Center Henry Boucha, who was suspended for leaving a game in the third period and then not showing up for a road trip. On Saturday Houston's edge dipped to nine points when the Aeros lost 4-1 to Minnesota, while in San Diego the Mariners were whipping Phoenix 6-1, bumping the Roadrunners down to fourth. Canadian Division leader Winnipeg came from 3-1 behind to beat New England, leaders in the East, 6-3 on Bobby Hull's 32nd and 33rd goals and Anders Hedberg's 36th. Quebec's Marc Tardif upped his league-leading scoring totals to 86 points with two goals and two assists in a 9-1 rout of Cincinnati (at week's end Tardif's total was 91). Indianapolis relied on Goalie Jim Park against Houston, and in his first major league start Park stopped 37 shots for a 2-1 Racer win.
HARNESS RACING—BELLINO II won the $92,000 Prix de France, second leg of the triple crown of French trotting, covering 2,275 meters (including a 25-meter handicap) in a Vincennes-course record 2:52.70 in Paris.