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PRO BASKETBALL—Boston's Larry Bird had his bell rung Sunday in a first-half collision with Milwaukee's Harvey Catchings and spent the end of the second quarter and all of the third in the locker room, but he shook off his head injury to score 11 fourth-quarter points and give the Celtics a 106-102 victory. The win gave Boston first place in the Atlantic Division, by a half game over Philly, and the best record in the league—40-15 to the Bucks' and Sixers' 40-16. Bird had other heady moments earlier in the week when he led the Celts with 27 and 24 points, respectively, as they beat Utah 132-90 and San Diego 122-110. Philadelphia began the week by defeating San Diego 115-101 behind Julius Erving's 34 points to run its winning streak to 10. The 76ers then fell 116-114 to Los Angeles in double overtime and 134-125 to Denver. Against Philly, the Pacific Division-leading Lakers got a season-high 41 points—five of them in the final overtime—19 rebounds and five blocked shots from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. L.A. also beat Denver, 145-129, Seattle, 104-98, and Cleveland, 102-101. Like the Lakers, the New York Knicks snapped an opponent's long win streak, beating Milwaukee 113-110 to hand the Bucks their first loss in 13 games. The Knicks, last in the Atlantic Division, found little joy in that victory. "We don't have the luxury of waiting until someone comes in here with a winning streak before we start winning," said Knick Guard Mike Newlin, who led New York with 23 points. The Central Division-leading Bucks then beat New Jersey 113-106 before losing to Boston. The Houston Rockets continued to fly high, with Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes combining for 180 points in three wins. Still, the Rockets trailed division-leading San Antonio by 4� games in the Midwest race (page 28).
BOWLING—EARL ANTHONY defeated Charlie Tapp 233-192 to win the $200,000 PBA National Championship in Toledo and become the first bowler to reach $1 million in career earnings.
BOXING—CARLOS DeLEON retained his WBC cruiserweight title with an eighth-round TKO of Marvin Camel in Atlantic City.
HOCKEY—A sellout Wednesday night Buffalo crowd of 16,433 people—the vast majority of them presumably Sabre fans—was hoping Edmonton Center Wayne Gretzky would break Phil Esposito's 11-year-old league record for most goals in a season, 76. So did Gretzky, who said, "I just want to do it so Phil won't have to keep following me around." With less than seven minutes left to play, Gretzky stole the puck from Buffalo Wing Steve Patrick and put a 10-foot wrist shot under Goalie Don Edwards for No. 77. "I felt goose bumps," said Esposito, who had shadowed Gretzky for four days so he could offer personal congratulations. "The first thing I thought was that it put us up 4-3," said Gretzky, who promptly got two more goals to pace the Smythe Division leaders to a 6-3 win. By week's end Gretzky had extended his record to 82 goals and Esposito had returned to his job as TV color-man for the New York Rangers, who briefly moved ahead of Philadelphia in the Patrick Division by beating Chicago 6-4 and Boston 6-4. Against the Bruins, Ranger Defenseman Dave Maloney scored two power-play goals and assisted on another as the Rangers won despite being outshot 42-19. After starting the season by losing eight of 11, the Rangers have gone 27-15-10. But the Rangers—and the Flyers—still trail the New York Islanders, 2-0-1 on the week, by 21 points. Quebec's Real Cloutier scored with 2:17 remaining to lift the Nordiques to a 4-3 win over Montreal and end the Adams Division leader's 16-game unbeaten streak. In Norris Division-leading Minnesota's 8-7 win over Hartford, each team took 38 shots, prompting North Star Center Bobby Smith to say, "I thought I was in the O.K. Corral." Smith has certainly been O.K. He assisted on Steve Payne's game-winner in a 7-5 victory over Toronto to set a Minnesota single-season record with 96 points.
HORSE RACING—Jorge Velasquez rode DISTINCTIVE PRO ($4.60) to a 4�-length victory over D'Accord in the $25,000 Flamingo Prep at Hialeah. The 3-year-old colt ran the seven-furlong race in 1:22[1/5] (page 78).
SKIING—In individual competition at the World Nordic Championships in Oslo, BERIT AUNLI won the women's 5-km. race in 14:30.2; ODDVAR BRA the men's 15-km. in 38:52.5; RAISA SMETANINA the women's 20-km. in 1:06:16.9; THOMAS WASSBERG the men's 50-km. in 2:32:0.9; and MATTI NYKANEN the 90-meter jump.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: In the All-Star game in Buffalo, the Eastern Division outshot the Western Division 50-40 but lost 9-5 as the Steamers' Tony Glavin, the game's MVP, scored three goals and assisted on two others. Glavin and his St. Louis teammates then steamrolled Kansas City 9-4 and Philadelphia 5-2 to open a 5�-game lead in the Western Division. Wichita held MISL scoring-leader Steve Zungul goalless for the first time this season and beat New York 6-3. The Arrows did defeat Baltimore 7-6, but Pittsburgh regained first in the Eastern Division by knocking off New Jersey 3-2 and Denver 3-1.
NASL: It wasn't Fantasy Island. It was only Tulsa. But it was Tatu scoring the game-winner as Tampa Bay beat the Roughnecks 5-4 in the first game of the Atlantic Conference finals. Tatu, a 5'6" Brazilian forward nicknamed after the even 'shorter Fantasy Island character, got two goals for the winners. San Diego's Julie Veee and Vidal Fernandez each scored twice as the Sockers beat Edmonton 8-2—after trailing 2-1 early—in the opener of the Pacific Conference finals.