PRO BASKETBALL—The week belonged to Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta. All were undefeated and made significant strides in their divisions. After taking close ones from second-place New Jersey (137-133) and third-place Washington (123-122) and beating Detroit 135-112 for their ninth straight, the 76ers led the Atlantic by five games in the loss column. The Lakers moved into second in the Pacific with four victories. Adrian Dantley's 30-point average led a team that also featured the consistent play of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (23.5 points per game) and the steals of Norm Nixon, who's averaging a league-high 3.2. Paced by John Drew, the Hawks jumped from fifth to second in the Midwest and to within half a game of Houston. Before scoring 17 in a 102-95 defeat of Milwaukee, Drew had 35 and 32, respectively, in wins over San Diego (125-101) and Boston (115-103), which has lost five in a row and 11 of 13. Cleveland and Chicago also continued to lose: the Cavaliers dropped three, and New Jersey, led by Bernard King's season-high 38 points, handed the Bulls their third straight defeat (125-112) and their 13th in 15 games for the season.
BOXING—LARRY HOLMES retained his WBC heavyweight crown in Las Vegas with a seventh-round knockout of Alfredo Evangelista. In a preliminary bout, WBC Junior Lightweight Champion ALEXIS ARGUELLO defeated Arturo Leon.
Hugo Corro of Argentina defeated Rodrigo Valdes to retain his WBA middleweight title in Buenos Aires.
Ricardo Cardona of Venezuela retained his WBA junior featherweight title with a split decision over Chung Soon-hyun in Seoul, Korea.
PRO FOOTBALL—With 1:21 left in the second quarter, Houston was down 23-0, and New England had scored on its first five possessions. But an 80-yard touchdown drive by the Oilers launched a furious comeback that lifted them to a 26-23 upset. Dan Pastorini capped the rally by hitting Rich Caster with a 10-yard scoring pass with 2:39 remaining in the game. The loss dropped the Patriots into a tie for first place in the AFC East with the Dolphins, who won their 18th straight against the Bills—a league record—25-24. Miami's Delvin Williams, the NFL's top rusher, gained 144 yards and went over the 1,000 mark as did Chicago's Walter Payton. who ran for 127 yards in a 17-14 loss to Minnesota. Fran Tarkenton completed 24 of 37 passes for 245 yards, Chuck Foreman scored twice to tie Bill Brown's team career touchdown record of 73, and Fred McNeill blocked a fourth-period field goal to preserve the Viking victory, which moves Minnesota into a first-place tie with Green Bay. Led by Billy Joe DuPree, who caught two touchdown passes, Tony Dorsett, who ran for 149 yards and two TDs, and Robert Newhouse, who gained 101 yards and also scored twice, Dallas set a club rushing record of 313 yards and snapped a two-game losing streak with a 42-14 rout of the Packers. The Cowboys remain one game behind Washington, which defeated the Giants 16-13 in overtime. Joe Theismann, who had replaced Billy Kilmer in the third quarter of the Redskins' 21-17 Monday night loss to Baltimore, was 22 for 35 for 270 yards and rallied his team to the game-tying touchdown and Mark Moseley's winning 45-yard field goal. In another overtime game, Dan Fouts hit John Jefferson with a 14-yard scoring pass as time ran out to give San Diego a 29-23 win over Kansas City. Jan Stenerud's third field goal, a 47-yarder with two seconds remaining in regulation play, sent the contest into overtime. With 10 seconds left, Atlanta Wide Receiver Wallace Francis batted Steve Bartkowski's desperation pass into the air, where it was grabbed by Alfred Jackson, who ran 10 yards to complete a 57-yard touchdown play and lift Atlanta to a 20-17 victory over New Orleans. The Saints had led 17-6 until Haskel Stan-back scored on a one-yard run with 57 seconds left. St. Louis, winless in its first eight games, beat San Francisco 16-10 for its third straight victory. Jim Hart passed for two touchdowns and 221 yards. Baltimore's Bert Jones threw for one score and completed 12 of 17 passes before reinjuring his shoulder. Nevertheless, the Colts went on to beat Seattle 17-14 (page 75). Led by a stingy defense, which forced four turnovers and held the NFL's second-highest-scoring team to a touchdown and a field goal, Philadelphia defeated the Jets 17-9. Harold Carmichael, who caught two TD passes, now has at least one pass reception in 91 consecutive games. Gary Danielson threw two touchdown passes to Dave Hill, and Horace King scored on a 75-yard run to give Detroit a 34-23 win over Tampa Bay, and Denver defeated Cleveland 19-7 as Jim Turner's two field goals and an extra point gave him 1,350 career points and moved him past Lou Groza into third place among the NFL's career scoring leaders. Los Angeles beat Pittsburgh 10-7 (page 28).
HOCKEY—NHL: The league's best hockey is being played in the Patrick Division, whose four teams have a total of 81 points. The Norris Division is next with 62, and Montreal has 22 of that total. Each Patrick Division team had a winning week. Atlanta, which has the NHL's best record, beat Vancouver 4-2 and Smythe Division leader Chicago 5-3 before dropping its second game of the season, 4-2, to the division-rival Islanders in New York. The Islanders, who also beat Minnesota 5-2, are undefeated at home and the only third-place team in the league with a winning record. The second-place Rangers, who also have lost only twice, won two games: 5-2 over Vancouver and 2-1 over Pittsburgh. In between they dropped a 5-3 decision to the North Stars, ending a seven-game winning streak (page 30). Last-place Philadelphia moved over .500 by upending Los Angeles 5-3 and by beating and tying Colorado, 6-4 and 2-2. Division leaders Montreal and Boston, which began the week by playing a 1-1 tie, defeated Washington 6-0 and 6-2, respectively. In their five seasons in the NHL, the Caps have never beaten either team. The Canadiens and Bruins also played Detroit. Montreal overwhelmed the Red Wings 8-3, but Boston lost 7-1.
WHA: A single point separates the top three teams, each of whom was in first place at one time during the week. New England, which began and ended the week in first also began and ended it with games against Cincinnati, which finished the week tied for second with Quebec. Chuck Luksa scored two goals to lead the Stingers to a 5-4 win, and the Whalers rebounded with a 2-1 victory in which they had 21 power-play chances. Neither team lost another game. Quebec shut out Edmonton 2-0 for its fifth straight win, and then dropped two in a row before defeating Indianapolis 8-2 behind Marc Tardif's hat trick and Real Cloutier's two goals.
HORSE RACING—In his final race, SEATTLE SLEW, Angel Cordero Jr. up, defeated Jumping Hill by 3� lengths to win the $103,850 Stuyvesant Handicap at Aqueduct. The 1977 Triple Crown winner covered the 1? miles in 1:47[2/5]. He won 14 of 17 races.
MILEPOSTS—DISBANDED: The LOS ANGELES STRINGS, SAN DIEGO FRIARS, INDIANAPOLIS LOVES, SEATTLE CASCADES, ANAHEIM ORANGES and NEW ORLEANS NETS of World Team Tennis, which leaves the league with two franchises—Phoenix and Golden Gate.
FIRED: WILLIS REED, 36, coach of the fourth-place New York Knicks. Last year, in Reed's first season as coach, the Knicks were 43-39. Former coach (1967-77) RED HOLZMAN, 58, will replace Reed.