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BASKETBALL—More than once early this season New Jersey Forward Buck Williams cited as a weakness the Nets' lack of a floor leader—a clutch player Jersey could turn to as it had Guard Ray Williams before he was traded to Kansas City in the off-season. Now, it seems the Nets have filled that void—or the Milwaukee Bucks did when they traded Forward Mickey Johnson to the Nets on Nov. 10. Since Johnson's arrival, the Nets have won 18 of 28, 15 of their last 19 and through last week a club-record nine straight. In victories over Milwaukee (102-95), Phoenix (94-93), Chicago (111-98) and Detroit (110-102), Johnson had 84 points and 34 assists—including a career-high 12 assists against Phoenix. The Nets still trail first-place Philadelphia by seven games in the Atlantic Division, principally because the 76ers' 27-5 record is the best in the NBA. In stretching its latest win streak to seven games, Philly edged Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles 122-120 in overtime. The 76ers won when Andrew Toney, who had 28 points, banked a driving shot off the glass with five seconds left in OT. Still, the game's most spectacular play was Julius Erving's majestic dunk over Michael Cooper with 1:27 left in OT. That put Philly up by four. In the Central Division, Milwaukee maintained a six-game lead over Atlanta which crept into second place, while in the Midwest race, Kansas City and San Antonio stayed deadlocked in their season-long fight for first place.
PRO FOOTBALL—On the NFC side of Round 1 of the Super Bowl Tournament, Washington bombed Detroit 31-7, Green Bay blasted St. Louis 41-16, Minnesota edged Atlanta 30-24 and Dallas beat Tampa Bay 30-17. In the AFC, the Los Angeles Raiders eliminated Cleveland 27-10, Miami defeated New England 28-13, San Diego shaded Pittsburgh 31-28 and the New York Jets destroyed Cincinnati 44-17 (page 14). This weekend's conference semifinal matchups: Minnesota at Washington and Green Bay at Dallas in the NFC; San Diego at Miami and New York at L.A. in the AFC.
HOCKEY—Only seven of the NHL's 21 teams played better than .500 hockey for the week and, not surprisingly, three of the seven were division leaders: Philadelphia's 3-0 record left the Flyers eight points up in the Patrick Division. Boston stretched its Adams Division margin from two to five points over Montreal with a 2-0-1 week. The Bruins dumped the Canadiens 2-1 on second-period goals five minutes apart from Keith Crowder and Barry Pederson. Norris Division leader Chicago stumbled a bit with a 2-2 week and has now dropped five of its last eight games. Edmonton, led by NHL points leader Wayne Gretzky (35 goals and 70 assists for 105 points, 35 more than runner-up Denis Savard of Chicago), lost a perfect 3-0 week by losing to Detroit 4-3. The Oilers, who had scored at least four goals in every game since Dec. 9, now lead second-place Winnipeg by 14 points. Another bright spot was the sudden proficient play of Toronto. The Leafs, 10-21-8 on the season, made it seven straight without a loss by besting Washington (3-1) and Los Angeles (7-5) and tying New Jersey (4-4). The Washington win broke a 30-game winless streak on the road for Toronto, dating back to Jan. 31, 1982.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: Cleveland clung to a half-game Eastern Division lead, even though second-place Chicago, winner of six straight, beat Cleveland 11-2 and Memphis 8-3 to run its record to 13-5. New York remained one of five Eastern teams above .500, but fell to fifth place. The Arrows lost their first home game of the season, 7-2 to Buffalo, as Alex Tarnoczi and Dennis Mepham each scored a pair of goals for the Stallions. In the Western Division, Wichita moved a half-game ahead of Phoenix. The Wings closed the week with a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh for their third straight triumph and eighth in their last 10 starts.
SWIMMING—Seven world-best marks were set during the 18-nation U.S. International in a 25-meter pool in Indianapolis, Ind. JEFF KOSTOFF surpassed Vladimir Salnikov's year-old 800 freestyle best by 3.71 seconds, with a 7:44.53. BIRGIT MEINEKE reduced her world-best time in the 200 free by .19 seconds, to 1:56.35 and set another world-best mark with a 53.99 in the 100-meter freestyle, .05 seconds faster than her previous record set 13 months ago, while KRISTIN OTTO eclipsed her standard in the 100-meter backstroke by .8, with a time of 59.97. CORNELIA SIRCH won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:07.74, surpassing her own record of 2:08.54, set last month. In addition, East German women set world-best marks in both the 400-meter medley and freestyle relays.
TRACK & FIELD—ROBERT WEIR of SMU set a world indoor record by throwing the 35-pound weight 77'6�" at the Darmouth Relays in Hanover, N.H. Weir broke the previous best of 76'11�" set by Yuriy Syedikh of the Soviet Union in 1979.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: By the Los Angeles Rams, Coach RAY MALAVASI, 52, following a 2-7 season, the club's worst in 20 years. In his five seasons Malavasi had a 40-33 record and led the Rams to two divisional titles and a berth in the 1980 Super Bowl; by the Kansas City Chiefs, Coach MARV LEVY, 56, after a five-year mark of 31-42.
HIRED: As football coaches: at Miami of Ohio, TIM ROSE, 41, defensive coordinator for the Redskins for the last five years; at Temple, former Alabama Assistant Coach BRUCE ARIANS, 30; at Indiana, SAM WYCHE, 38, formerly quarterback coach of the San Francisco 49ers; at Cornell, MAXIE BAUGHAN, 44, formerly defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.