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BASKETBALL—NBA: Pacific leader Los Angeles extended its winning streak to a league record 21 with a 104-95 victory over Atlanta, one more victory than Milwaukee's 1970-71 mark. The Lakers ripped off five wins in eight days as Guards Jerry West and Gail Goodrich totaled 306 points. The only tough game in the string was a 126-117 victory in overtime against Phoenix as Goodrich pumped in seven of his 32 points in the last 2� minutes of the extra period. Boston stayed a game ahead of New York in the Atlantic Division, thanks to a 105-97 victory over the Knicks, the Celtics' first over New York in two seasons. Central Division leader Baltimore won only one of three games but still led second-place Cincinnati by half a game. Milwaukee, five games ahead of Chicago in the Midwest, had a perfect week, beating Seattle 116-83, Boston 120-104 on Kareem Jabbar's career high 55 points and Baltimore 107-101.
ABA: Utah, the defending playoff champion, and runnerup Kentucky, who went the maximum seven games in the league finals, met for the second time this season as division leaders, and Utah won for the second time 104-100. The victory was not conclusive, however, because the Colonels were playing without starting Guard Darel Carrier, who was sidelined eight weeks with a slipped disc. Utah's 10 straight points in the fourth period made the difference in the game, played before a sellout crowd of 12,292 in the Salt Palace. The Stars then extended their West Division lead to five games over Indiana by clipping Dallas 116-97 and New York 109-82, while the Pacers split four games. The Colonels stayed two games ahead of runner-up Virginia as both teams won three of five.
BRIDGE—Italy's Blue Team, world champions from 1957 through 1969, came out of retirement to defeat the current World Champion Aces 338 international match points to 254 in a $15,000, 140-board challenge affair billed as "The Match of the Century" in Las Vegas.
FOOTBALL—AFC: With one week to go, BALTIMORE climbed atop the East Division, half a game ahead of Miami, with a 14—3 win over the Dolphins (pane 14). KANSAS CITY whipped San Francisco 26-17 in the Monday night TV game and then knocked off second-place Oakland 16-14 on Jan Stenerud's 10-yard field goal with 1:34 remaining to win the Western Division title. Central champion CLEVELAND edged New Orleans 21-17 when Tackle Walter Johnson recovered Archie Manning's fourth-period fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. PITTSBURGH clinched second place by beating Cincinnati 21-13 as Terry Bradshaw came off the bench in the final quarter and threw two touchdown passes. Rookie John Riggins, who gained 91 yards overall, plunged one yard for a TD in the third period to lift the NEW YORK Jets past New England 13-6, while SAN DIEGO walloped Denver 45-17 as John Hadl tossed four touchdown passes. HOUSTON defeated Buffalo 20-14, and the Bills, who have won only one game, were assured of the first pick in the NFL draft.
NFC: MINNESOTA won the Central Division title, beating Detroit 29-10 on a safety, two field goals, a three-yard run, a 29-yard return of an intercepted pass for a TD and a recovered blocked field goal attempt in the end zone for another score. It was the most points the Vikings scored all season. DALLAS, half a game ahead in the East, bashed the New York Giants 42-14 as Roger Staubach threw three touchdown passes, including an 85-yarder to Bob Hayes. It was the Cowboys' sixth straight win—all with Staubach at quarterback. Tom Dempsey kicked four field goals—the longest, 54 yards—in leading PHILADELPHIA to a 19-7 victory over St. Louis. Rookie John Brockington gained 63 yards to become the first player to top 1,000 yards this season as GREEN BAY beat Chicago 31-10. SAN FRANCISCO stayed alive in the West with a 24-3 win over Atlanta.
College: DELAWARE, the No. 1-ranked small college team, trounced C. W. Post 72-22 to win its fourth straight Boardwalk Bowl in Atlantic City. The Blue Hens ground out 621 yards en route to their highest point total since 1915. TENNESSEE STATE won its third Rice Bowl in four appearances 26-23 over McNeese State as Joe Gilliam threw three second-half touchdown passes in Baton Rouge. The NAIA title went to LIVINGSTON, a 14-12 winner over Arkansas Tech in Birmingham. Elsewhere, BOISE STATE edged Chico State 32-28 in the Camellia Bowl, CARSON-NEWMAN whacked Fairmont State 54-3 to win the Share Bowl, HOWARD PAYNE edged Cameron State 16-13 in the Cowboy Bowl, LOUISIANA TECH beat Eastern Michigan 14-3 in the Pioneer Bowl and host FLORIDA A&M battered Kentucky State 27-9 in the Orange Blossom Classic.
GOLF—JACK NICKLAUS set a single-season money winning record of $244,490.50 when he won the $150,000 Disney World Open in Orlando, Fla. by three strokes over Deane Beman. Lee Trevino finished the year with earnings of $231,201.97. Arnold Palmer was third at $209,603.77.
HOCKEY—Minnesota lost its five-point lead in the West Division and fell two points behind Chicago by dropping three games while the Black Hawks won three and tied one. The North Stars lost to Buffalo 3-1 as rookie Craig Ramsay scored his first three NHL goals and fell to Toronto by the same score three nights later. Then rookie Guy Lafleur scored his first hat trick to give Montreal a 4-3 win over the Stars. Meanwhile, Chicago blanked Los Angeles 7-0 for Gary Smith's second shutout, tied New York 2-2, topped Buffalo 3-1 on Stan Mikita's two goals and finally moved ahead of Minnesota with a 3-1 win over Toronto. First-place New York moved one point ahead in the East with two wins and a tie as Montreal, despite victories over Detroit and Minnesota, fell into a second-place tie with Boston, which knocked off three expansion teams. After blasting Vancouver 6-3 the Rangers traveled to Chicago, where the Black Hawks were unbeaten, and came from behind for the tie on Vic Hadfield's third-period goal. Goalie Gilles Villemure, whose 13-start record is 10-1-2, followed with a 5-0 shutout of Philadelphia. New York's GAG (Goal a Game) line—Jean Ratelle, Hadfield and Rod Gilbert—added 19 points to its record-breaking pace. The line has totaled 137 points in 27 games so far.
HORSE RACING—FREETEX ($3) and EAGER EXCHANGE ($4.80) finished in a dead heal for first place in the $105,350 Heritage Stakes at Philadelphia's Liberty Bell Park, the richest race in Pennsylvania history.