PRO BASKETBALL—After seven straight losses, Atlanta beat Boston 108-97. That defeat kept the Celtics a game behind Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division despite the 76ers' week-ending 127-108 loss to Central Division-leading Milwaukee on Sunday night. It was the Bucks' eighth victory in a row. San Antonio, tops in the Midwest, won its sixth straight, 111-97 over Utah, with George Gervin scoring 40, while Pacific leader Los Angeles beat Golden State 122-118 for its fifth consecutive win.
BOXING—SAMUEL SERRANO successfully defended his WBA junior lightweight title with a 12th-round TKO over Hikaru Tomonari in San Juan.
Jeff Chandler retained his WBA bantamweight championship title by knocking out Eijiro Murata in the 13th round in Atlantic City.
Salvador Sanchez won a split decision over Pat Cowdell in Houston to keep his WBC featherweight crown.
BULL RIDING—DON GAY won his seventh world championship at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, tying the record of Jim Shoulders set between 1951 and 1959.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—In Division II championship games, SOUTHWEST TEXAS STATE beat North Dakota State 42-13 to win the NCAA title in McAllen, Texas; and AUSTIN COLLEGE of Sherman, Texas and CONCORDIA COLLEGE of Moorhead, Minn. tied 24-24 in Sherman to share the NAIA crown. Texas A&M beat Oklahoma State 33-16 in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.; and Tennessee won 28-21 over Wisconsin in the Garden State Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J.
PRO FOOTBALL—NFL: Twenty teams went into last weekend with at least a mathematical chance to make the playoffs, and 18 came out in the same condition. Cincinnati clinched the AFC Central title with a 17-10 win at Pittsburgh, which had lost at Oakland 30-27 on Monday night. The Raiders fell from contention with a 23-6 loss to Chicago. Houston lost 28-6 to NFC West champion San Francisco (page 18). Miami defeated Kansas City 17-7 to maintain a half-game lead in the AFC East over Buffalo. The Bills assured themselves of a wild-card spot with a 19-10 triumph at New England, while the Jets stayed alive by beating Cleveland 14-13. In the AFC West, Denver defeated Seattle 23-13 to earn at least a tie for the division title with San Diego. The Chargers edged Tampa Bay 24-23 on a 29-yard field goal by Rolf Benirschke with 25 seconds remaining and kept the Buccaneers from clinching the NFC Central title. Detroit was still breathing, tied with Tampa Bay, after a 45-7 defeat of Minnesota, as was Green Bay after its 35-7 triumph at New Orleans in which Packer Lynn Dickey completed 19 of 21 passes and threw for five TDs. Dallas clinched the NFC East championship with a 20-10 victory over Philadelphia, which remains in the running for a wild-card berth along with the Giants, who beat St. Louis 20-10, and Washington, which defeated Baltimore 34-18.
HOCKEY—Minnesota, winless in five games, got a lift Saturday when Defenseman Dan Poulin, who had come up from the North Stars' Nashville farm team on Friday, scored on his first NHL shot to spark a 6-3 victory over Chicago that kept the North Stars on top in the Norris Division. Buffalo maintained its Adams Division lead with two triumphs, 7-1 over Colorado and 4-2 at Detroit, and a 4-4 tie with Quebec. The Islanders could have gone ahead of Philadelphia in the Patrick Division standings with a win or draw at Edmonton on Sunday, but the Oilers, No. 1 in the Smythe Division, won 4-3.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: St. Louis lost its first game of the season, 5-2 to New Jersey, but held on to the top spot in the Western Division, while New York, No. 1 in the East, won twice—9-3 at Kansas City and 9-7 at Memphis.
NASL: In his first indoor game ever, Giorgio Chinaglia got seven goals to pace the Cosmos, tied for second in the American Conference East, to a 14-10 win over Chicago. In the Pacific Conference, Vancouver was No. 1 in the Northwest, while Portland beat San Jose 5-0 to take the lead in the West.