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PRO BASKETBALL—Center Dave Cowens left the Boston Celtics and headed for his home in Cold Spring, Ky. The six-year veteran and MVP in 1973 was granted an indefinite leave of absence without pay (page 34). Cowens is not alone in thinking that there's no place like home. Most of the NBA teams would agree: home teams won 28 of the 37 games played. Midwest leader Denver fell victim to the Braves 105-94 in Buffalo, the Nuggets' first loss this season. Detroit won two games in Cobo Arena. Piston Center Bob Lanier netted 36 points to help down Central-leading Cleveland 123-112. Detroit picked up a 106-103 win in Chicago, the seventh straight loss for the last-place Bulls. The Spurs won three games in San Antonio to even their record at 6-6. Spur Forwards George Gervin and Larry Kenon combined for 59 points and nine steals in a 108-104 defeat of the Nets. Washington dropped to last place in the Central by losing both games of a home-and-home series with the 76ers. In the first game, which Philadelphia won 143-104, George McGinnis and Julius Erving scored a total of 64 points. Back in Landover, the Bullets lost again, 114-109, as McGinnis and Dr. J accounted for 48 points between them. Buffalo stayed home all week and increased its winning streak to three, with a 118-107 defeat of Boston. The wins put the Braves in a tie with Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead. Portland, on top in the Pacific, beat Kansas City 119-102 at home for its fifth win in a row. Then the Trail Blazers hit the road and dropped two games, 107-105 in Atlanta and 113-101 in San Antonio. SuperSonic Guard Slick Watts scored 25 points to help beat Indiana 121-118 for Seattle's 23rd consecutive regular-season home-court victory. All six of second-place Seattle's losses have been on the road.
CHESS—The UNITED STATES team, led by Robert Byrne, won the 22nd International Olympiad in Haifa, Israel by a half point over The Netherlands, taking the biennial title from non-participating U.S.S.R., which held the title 24 years. All the Soviet bloc nations boycotted the tournament for political reasons.
PRO FOOTBALL—When Giant kicker Joe Danelo booted a 50-yard field goal with 4:32 remaining, New York got its first victory of the season, 12-9, and Washington just about lost all hope of a wild-card playoff berth. Earlier, the soccer-style kicker had hit from 30, 26 and 39 yards. The Giants now have not scored a touchdown in 18 quarters, and have not given one up in 10. Viking Quarterback Fran Tarkenton became the first player to pass for 301 touchdowns when he connected for two, a 29-yarder to rookie Sammie White and the 5-yard game-winner to Stu Voigt, as NFC Central leader Minnesota beat Seattle 27-21. Chicago took sole possession of second place in the Central with a 24-13 defeat of Green Bay. Running Back Walter Payton of the Bears gained 109 yards to become the first player to gain more than 1,000 yards this season; he has 1,008. Detroit lost to New Orleans 17-16 and dropped into a tie for the Central cellar. Cardinal Quarterback Jim Hart completed 20 of 33 passes for 324 yards and Jim Bakken kicked a 25-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to give St. Louis a 30-28 win over NFC West-leading Los Angeles. The Rams remained a half game in front of San Francisco as the 49ers dropped their third straight, 21-16 to Atlanta. Patriot Quarterback Steve Grogan scurried for two first-half touchdowns, then New England's defense held the AFC East-leading Colts scoreless in the second half to win 21-14 and come to within a game of division-leading Baltimore. Joe Namath saw action for the first time in three weeks, coming off the bench to lead the Jets to their first shutout since 1963, a 34-0 shellacking of Tampa Bay. Cincinnati, atop the AFC Central, defeated Houston 31-27 when Quarterback Ken Anderson threw a 47-yard scoring pass to Wide Receiver Isaac Curtis with 42 seconds left to play. It was the Oilers' fifth loss in a row. Cleveland and Pittsburgh remained two games behind the Bengals in the Central. The Steelers won their fifth straight, 14-3 over Miami; Pittsburgh has now gone 21 periods without allowing a touchdown. Cleveland defeated Philadelphia 24-3. AFC West leader Oakland beat Kansas City 21-10, while second-place Denver shut out San Diego for the second time this season 17-0.
HARNESS RACING—KEYSTONE PIONEER ($3.20), William Haughton in the sulky, won the $109,800 American Trotting Classic at Hollywood Park in a world-record 2:12[3/5] for 1? miles.
HOCKEY—NHL: Washington's third straight win, 7-5 over the Rangers, extended the Capitals' winning streak to three, the longest in their three-year history, and also moved them out of the Norris Division basement for the first time. Detroit, with only four wins in 16 games this season, replaced the Caps in last place. Montreal, the Norris leader, has the league's best record (13-3-3) and the league's leading goal-getter, Steve Shutt, who raised his total to 18 in the Canadiens' only win, 8-1 over St. Louis. Third-place Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia 1-0 as Pierre Larouche returned from a two-game suspension and scored the only goal (page 73). The Patrick-leading Islanders remained unbeaten in eight games, winning twice, 8-1 against Detroit and 3-2 over Minnesota. The Islanders and Adams-leading Boston played to a 2-2 standoff, the first tie of the season for the Bruins. Philadelphia outskated Vancouver 6-4 for the Flyers' only win in their last five games and stayed eight points behind the Islanders. Adams runner-up Buffalo blanked St. Louis 5-0, Sabre Goalie Gerry Desjardins lowering his goals-against average to a league-leading 1.59 and Gil Perreault scoring his 202nd goal. Smythe leader Chicago won its first game since Bobby Orr was sidelined two weeks ago, 5-4 over Washington.
WHA: Cincinnati moved into a first-place tie with Quebec in the Eastern Division by defeating last-place Indianapolis 7-3. Quebec's only victory came against Birmingham 4-3, as Nordique Serge Bernier, the league's leading scorer, netted the game winner on an unassisted, shorthanded shot. In the Western Division, Calgary remained unbeaten in eight consecutive games and improved its fifth-place record to 7-6-1 by beating division-leading Winnipeg 7-5. The next night Houston skated past San Diego 4-1 with Cam Connor scoring a pair to tie the Aeros with Winnipeg.
HORSE RACING—ROYAL SKI ($6.20), Jack Kurtz up, scored a three-quarter-length victory over Medieval Man in the $150,000 Heritage Stakes for 2-year-olds at Philadelphia's Keystone Race Track. The colt ran the 1[1/16] miles in 1:46 for his fifth win in eight starts.
TENNIS—The UNITED STATES defeated Great Britain 5-2 in London to regain the Wightman Cup. Chris Evert beat Sue Barker 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 and Virginia Wade 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to lead the five-woman American squad to its first victory in three years.
The UNITED STATES Davis Cup team defeated Venezuela 4-1 to advance to the third round of competition for the first time since 1973 (page 70).