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PRO BASKETBALL—Pacific Division leader Portland won three straight, including a 132-92 victory over Atlanta in which Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas combined for 48 points to snap the Hawks' winning streak at seven. The Blazers then had their own six-game streak broken by Houston when Mike Newlin pumped in 25 points and John Lucas, who leads the league in assists with an astonishing 11.8 average, contributed 18 points to give the Rockets the 104-102 win, ending the team's three-game losing streak. Denver won three in a row, among them a 111-101 defeat of Milwaukee, to take over first place in the Midwest, a game in front of the Bucks. Cleveland also beat Milwaukee 88-82 to gain a share of the Central Division lead with Atlanta. New Orleans fell into fourth place when it dropped four in a row, including a 108-97 loss to Washington in front of 26,474 Superdome fans, the third largest NBA single-game crowd in history. Elvin Hayes, who had averaged just 8.7 rebounds in his first six games, took down 20 in that contest and added 21 points. On Saturday he pumped in 26 more to hand Philadelphia Coach Billy Cunningham his first defeat 116-98 (page 16). The 76ers went briefly into the Atlantic lead in midweek when Joe Bryant scored 19 points in 13 minutes to spur them to a 127-119 defeat of the Knicks, but a 101-90 New York win over the Nets combined with an earlier 123-117 defeat of San Antonio, in which Bob McAdoo tallied 33 points, put New York half a game in front.
PRO FOOTBALL—It was a devastating Sunday for NFL quarterbacks. Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw, who was playing with a cast on his left wrist, passed for three touchdowns before being knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury in the last quarter of the Steelers' 35-31 win over Cleveland. The teams now share first place in the AFC Central. The Browns' Brian Sipe was sidelined with an injured shoulder midway through the second period. Green Bay's Lynn Dickey suffered a broken leg on the last play of the Packers' 24-6 loss to Los Angeles. Minnesota's Fran Tarkenton completed 17 of 18, before being sacked in the third quarter and leaving for the locker room on a stretcher. He, too, is expected to be out for the season with a broken fibula. In that game Chuck Foreman scored three touchdowns and gained 133 yards in 29 carries as the Vikes routed the Bengals 42-10. Seattle got its first NFL shutout, 17-0, and rolled up 445 yards of total offense against the Jets. Oakland's Ken Stabler and Houston's Dan Pastorini survived intact, but Oiler Placekicker Toni Fritsch was injured in the first half, forcing Pastorini to do the place-kicking. He blew his only extra-point try. The Raiders beat Houston 34-29 and remained tied with Denver for first place in the AFC West. The Broncos trimmed San Diego 17-14 as Craig Morton fired an eight-yard pass to Haven Moses with 1:36 remaining. Charger backup Quarterback Bill Munson broke a leg during that game. Also breaking a leg was veteran 49er Offensive Tackle Cas Banaszek, in San Francisco's 10-7 overtime defeat of New Orleans. Atlanta's top-rated defense held Detroit to one touchdown in a 17-6 win. Washington defeated Philadelphia 17-14 and Chicago edged Kansas City 28-27 on a 37-yard pass play with three seconds to go. Walter Payton became the first member of the 1977 1,000-yard club, gaining 192 yards in 33 carries to bring his season total to 1,129. Miami downed New England 17-5, the Giants beat Tampa Bay 10-0, and Baltimore won twice, defeating Washington 10-3 on Monday night and blasting Buffalo 31-13.
HARNESS RACING—At Roosevelt Raceway, GOVERNOR SKIPPER ($3.40), Johnny Chapman in the sulky, won the $159,155 Messenger Stakes, the final leg of pacing's Triple Crown. The colt, who in September had won the second leg, the Little Brown Jug, equaled the stakes record of 1:59[1/5].
Ima Lula ($9.80), driven by Joe O'Brien, won the $100,000 American Trotting Classic at Hollywood Park, covering the mile and an eighth in 2:13[4/5] to come in 1� lengths ahead of Keystone Pioneer. O'Brien also won the next race, his 4,000th victory, thereby joining the exclusive company of Hans Fromming, Herve Filion and Billy Haughton.
HOCKEY—NHL: After Montreal trounced Minnesota 7-3 in the opening game of the season, North Star Coach Ted Harris shrugged, "If they lose one game at home all year, I'll be surprised." Surprise. Minnesota handed Montreal its third home-ice defeat in 10 days, beating Les Canadiens 5-3 as Goaltender Pete LoPresti stopped 33 shots, including 19 in the second period (page 22). It was the week of the hat trick. Guy Lafleur's three goals carried Montreal past Toronto 5-0. Gilbert Perreault's three scores powered Buffalo by St. Louis 7-4. Terry O'Reilly returned from a three-game suspension and scored three goals in Boston's 5-2 win over Los Angeles. Marcel Dionne led the Kings past Washington 5-1 with his three goals. Vancouver's Jere Gillis registered his first NHL hat trick in a losing cause, the Canucks bowing to St. Louis 8-6. In the streak departments, St. Louis and Boston both won three straight, while Pittsburgh ended a five-game losing skein with a 5-3 romp over Cleveland, and Vancouver halted a seven-game winless streak with a 4-2 skate over Minnesota. Buffalo lost to the New York Rangers for the first time in 12 games, but the Sabres then beat the Flyers at Philadelphia for the first time ever. And in the record department, Phil Esposito surpassed Stan Mikita as the No. 2 point-maker in NHL history, scoring two goals and two assists in the Rangers' 8-4 defeat of Buffalo for a career total of 1,354.
WHA: The NHL's leading scorer is, of course, Gordie Howe. Now a WHA Whaler, the 49-year-old Howe scored the 999th goal of his 29-season pro career in New England's 5-3 defeat of Edmonton, the Whalers' ninth straight win. He failed to score his 1,000th the next night, but New England still beat Indianapolis 5-3 to extend its first-place lead over Winnipeg to three points. Bobby Hull helped keep Winnipeg close, his 14th goal pacing the Jets past Houston 4-3.
SHOOTING—The U.S. won the II Confederation of Americas championship in Mexico City, taking 17 of 24 events. JOSEPH CLEMMONS of Columbus, Ga. hit 199 out of a possible 200 targets to set a world skeet-shooting record and pace the team to a record 586 of 600, and LONES WIGGER of Carter, Mont. set a world mark with 1,159 points in free rifle at 300 meters.
MILEPOSTS—APPOINTED: As coach of the University of Pennsylvania basketball team, BOB WEINHAUER, 38, after four years as assistant to CHUCK DALY, 46, who resigned to become an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. In six seasons Daly's teams won the Ivy League title four times and had a 125-38 record.