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PRO BASKETBALL—There was plenty of action in the newly aligned NBA, much of it conducted in back rooms and bank vaults as some of the best-known names in the game were traded and sold. The biggest sale involved Julius Erving (page 24), who went from the New York Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers for a reported $3 million. Erving scored 17 points against San Antonio in his 76er debut, but the Spurs won 121-118. In a 108-105 loss to Buffalo, Dr. J scored 13 points. Boston, after trading Paul Silas to Denver in a three-way deal that sent Denver Guard Ralph Simpson to Detroit and Piston Forward Curtis Rowe to the Celtics, won a pair. The Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers 129-122 in overtime, then got 29 points from Jo Jo White—10 in overtime—for a 111-107 defeat of Milwaukee. Buffalo, which picked up Moses Malone from Portland, then sent him to Houston for draft choices and cash, also knocked off the Bucks, 133-112, then beat Philadelphia. The New York Knicks beat Los Angeles 102-97. In a 117-98 defeat of San Antonio, New York scored 19 unanswered points in the first period. The Nets, in their first game without Erving, defeated Golden State 104-103. The Midwest Division got battered around, losing nine of its first 13 games. Denver opened with wins over Indiana (123-110) and Kansas City (120-99), but Milwaukee and Kansas City both dropped two, and Indiana lost three games. The Chicago Bulls' Artis Gil-more hit 10 of 11 shots from the field and finished with 25 points in a 102-97 victory over the Pacers. Pete Maravich and Gail Goodrich teamed up for 53 points in the New Orleans Jazz' 111-98 win over Phoenix. The Houston Rockets also beat Phoenix 129-126 and Atlanta 120-104. The Washington Bullets had to overcome an eight-point deficit in the fourth period against Detroit, and that was just what they did as Nick Weatherspoon hit all six of his shots down the stretch of the Bullets' 98-97 win.
PRO FOOTBALL—Kicking New York teams around continued to be a popular pastime as Baltimore shut out the Jets 20-0 and Pittsburgh held the Giants scoreless 27-0. Bert Jones threw touchdown passes of 41 and 79 yards to Roger Carr in the Colts' victory. Franco Harris led Pittsburgh past the Giants with 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Fran Tarkenton became the second passer in NFL history to gain 40,000 yards or more in the Vikings' 31-12 win over Philadelphia. Tarkenton completed 23 of 33 passes for 249 yards and now needs only 91 to supplant Johnny Unitas as the league record holder. Chuck Foreman set a Viking record by rushing for 200 yards. The San Francisco 49ers sacked Atlanta substitute Quarterback Kim McQuilken repeatedly in running their record to 6-1 with a 15-0 shutout (page 26). New England had to hold off a furious Buffalo rally in the second half as the Patriots defeated the Bills 26-22. O. J. Simpson, who carried for 110 yards, banged in for two touchdowns to get the Bills close. Cleveland sneaked past the San Diego Chargers 21-17 as Brian Sipe completed 23 of 28 passes, including 12 in a row. Los Angeles defeated New Orleans 16-10, reserve Quarterback Pat Haden throwing a 40-yard scoring pass to Harold Jackson in the fourth quarter. The Dallas Cowboys beat Chicago 31-21 with Roger Staubach on the sidelines most of the second half with a broken bone in his hand. Cincinnati defeated Houston 27-7, but Bengal Quarterback Ken Anderson was out most of the game with a back injury. Rick Upchurch returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and ran back a kickoff 64 yards to set up another as Denver beat the Chiefs 35-26. Miami needed a last minute Garo Yepremian field goal to beat Tampa Bay 23-20. The erratic Detroit Lions beat Seattle 41-14, and Oakland stopped a three-game Green Bay winning streak with an 18-14 victory.
PRO HOCKEY—NHL: The Montreal Canadiens continue to dominate the Norris Division, opening a five-point lead over Los Angeles. The Canadiens, the league's highest-scoring team, defeated Washington 6-0 for Goalie Ken Dryden's 28th career shutout. "Shutting out a team like Washington," yawned Dryden, "doesn't give me a large charge." Montreal also defeated Toronto 5-3 and the Pittsburgh Penguins 9-1. Ed Giacomin of the Detroit Redwings couldn't have been happier about his 52nd career shutout as he stopped the tough Islanders (6-1-1), the New Yorkers' only defeat so far. Atlanta suffered losses to Minnesota (4-3) and Vancouver (5-3). The Philadelphia Flyers ran their winning streak to four games by defeating Chicago, Buffalo and Colorado. The New York Rangers lost to Los Angeles 2-4 to drop into the Patrick Division cellar. Los Angeles had been unbeaten in five starts before meeting the hot Boston Bruins. The Bruins' 4-2 defeat of the Kings gave Boston a six-point lead in the Adams Division. Cleveland picked up two wins without a loss, including a 3-0 defeat of the Chicago Black Hawks. It was that kind of week in Chicago. The Black Hawks also lost to Philadelphia 5-1 and Minnesota 4-3, and learned that Bobby Orr's doctor had recommended that he skip every third game because of his fragile knees, Minnesota knocked off Atlanta and Chicago by identical 4-3 scores, but the North Stars were tied by Colorado. St. Louis won two of three for a two-point lead in the Smythe Division.
WHA: The Quebec Nordiques began to emerge as the class of the league's Eastern Division, climbing to 7-1 with three straight wins. The Nordiques needed an overtime to get past Birmingham 6-5, but had little trouble with Calgary (4-2) and even less with Houston (6-2). The latter lost also to Birmingham, tied the New England Whalers 4-4 and closed out the week losing to Quebec 6-2. Minnesota tied Calgary 2-2 as Dave Keon scored his 400th career goal. Phoenix, Winnipeg and San Diego were logjammed at the top of the Western Division, all with eight points. From there it was a precipitous drop to winless Calgary.
HORSE RACING—GREAT CONTRACTOR ($16.80), ridden by Patrick Day, won the $335,600 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park, defeating Appassionato by 1� lengths. Carrying 121 pounds, the 3-year-old colt tied the stakes record of 2:28[4/5] for a mile and a half held since 1920 by Man o' War.
Youth ($3.90), Sandy Hawley up, scored a four-length victory in the $191,000 Canadian International Championship Stakes on Woodbine Racetrack's turf course in Toronto. The 3-year-old French turf champion covered the mile and?th in 2:48.
Sensational ($3.80), with Jorge Velasquez in the irons, came from off the pace to win the $138,700 Selima Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Laurel. Sensational's time for the mile and a sixteenth was 1:43[4/5] as she defeated Northern Sea by 3� lengths.
MOTOR SPORTS—MARIO ANDRETTI of the United States won the Japanese Grand Prix, Britain's James Hunt narrowly taking the world driving championship by finishing third. Andretti drove his Lotus-Ford at an average speed of 114 mph in the 198.87-mile season finale on Fuji International Raceway (page 69).
TENNIS—CHRIS EVERT won the $200,000 Colgate Inaugural in Palm Springs, Calif., defeating Francoise Durr 6-1, 6-2. The $45,000 increased Evert's 1976 earnings to $322,065, her career earnings to $1,148,504.