PRO BASKETBALL—No sooner did New York's Bernard King return to action after a groin injury had sent him to the sidelines for two weeks, during which the Knicks had a 1-6 record, than New York beat Philadelphia 110-106. King had 15 fourth-quarter points and 34 total in that victory, and then 30 in a 119-115 overtime win over Utah. But against 2-19 Cleveland the Knicks and King got crowned 102-97. Meanwhile, the heralded Battle of the Brutes ended up as a meeting of the meek as Philadelphia beat Atlantic Division-leading Boston 110-107 (page 24). That triumph and wins over Milwaukee (115-111) and Chicago (114-102) gave the Sixers 10 wins in their last 11 games. Three Central Division teams played hot potato with the lead. Four losses sent the Bulls plummeting from first to third and allowed Detroit, 3-0 for the week, to sweep into the top spot ahead of the Bucks. Four Pistons, led by Terry Tyler with 26 and Vinnie Johnson with 24, had 21 points or better in a 108-101 Detroit win over Chicago. The Pistons then handed Indiana its seventh straight loss, 120-96. Midwest Division leader Denver lost three of the week's four games, but that was still good enough to keep Houston half a game back. Mitchell Wiggins's 17-footer with seven seconds left gave the Rockets a 117-115 win over Dallas. Ralph Sampson had 38 points and 18 rebounds in that victory. The Clippers finally seem to be settling down in Tinseltown. They went 4-0 for the week and won by an average of 10.5 points. The victims: Golden State (116-104 and 103-85), Portland (106-100) and Washington (109-103). The crosstown Lakers played their understudies for the last 16 minutes of a 131-107 embarrassment of Golden State but then saw their stars burn out in a 124-122 overtime loss to Seattle. Jack Sikma's jumper with eight seconds remaining won it for the SuperSonics. Thus Phoenix, a 116-86 winner over Washington, held at one game behind the Pacific Division-leading Lakers.
BOXING—RICHIE SANDOVAL scored a TKO against Cardenio Ulloa in the eighth round to successfully defend his WBA bantamweight title in Miami Beach; GENE HATCHER retained his WBA junior welterweight title in a 15-round split decision over Ubaldo Sacco.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—MONTANA STATE defeated Louisiana Tech 19-6 to win the NCAA Division I-AA championship, and CARSON-NEWMAN and CENTRAL ARKANSAS tied 19-19 to share the NAIA title. In bowl games, NEVADA-LAS VEGAS routed Toledo 30-13 in the California Bowl; and AIR FORCE defeated Virginia Tech 23-7 in the Independence Bowl.
PRO FOOTBALL—The playoff dance card was finally filled in on the last week of the season. When Miami beat Dallas on Monday night, the Giants gained a wild-card berth even though they had been beaten by New Orleans in a meaningless game two days earlier, 10-3. The Rams also lost but became a wildcard entry. Los Angeles was beaten 19-16 by NFC West champion San Francisco, the 49ers finishing the season with 15 wins, a league record. The Rams' Eric Dickerson gained 98 yards to give him 2,105 for the year. But when Washington nipped St. Louis to win the NFC East as a last-second field-goal attempt by the Cards' Neil O'Donoghue was wide, the Rams were in. In the AFC, Cincinnati drubbed Buffalo 52-21, its sixth win in its last eight games, as quarterback Ken Anderson, playing his first game since early November, threw three touchdown passes. But when Pittsburgh upset the Raiders, already a wildcard team, 13-7, the Steelers were the AFC Central Division winners. Denver whipped Seattle 31-14 to win the AFC West, the 12-4 Seahawks earning the conference's other wild-card spot. Kansas City blasted San Diego 42-21; New England held on for a 16-10 win over Indianapolis. Chicago, winner of the NFC Central, stopped Detroit 30-13. Detroit also lost to the Raiders 24-3 last Monday. As a going-away present to John McKay, Tampa Bay routed the hapless Jets 41-21. Green Bay crushed Minnesota 38-14. Cleveland topped Houston 27-20, and Atlanta beat Philadelphia 26-10 in games only relatives could care about.
December 24, 1984
GOLF—Phil Hancock and Ron Streck shot a 33-under-par 255 to win the $450,000 PGA Team Championship by one stroke over Gary Hallberg and Scott Hoch in Boca Raton, Fla.
HOCKEY—Buffalo couldn't muster the one win general manager-coach Scotty Bowman needed to break the NHL career coaching record of 690 wins. If the Sabres had won any of their four straight tied games, Bowman already would have surpassed the mark that Hall of Fame coach Dick Irvin had set in 1956. Stymied, Buffalo dropped to 11 points behind Adams Division leader Montreal. The Canadiens, 1-2 on the week, fell to lowly Vancouver 5-4 despite outshooting the Canucks 24-1 in the final period. "That was the best performance by a goalie in a single period I've ever seen," said Montreal's Mario Tremblay of the work of Vancouver goaltender Richard Brodeur, who had been relegated to the minor leagues earlier in the year. Brodeur fended off 47 of 51 Montreal shots on goal. Patrick Division leader Philadelphia lost four straight, 5-4 to Winnipeg in OT, 6-3 to Toronto, 3-2 to Montreal and 6-2 to the Islanders. The Isles, who scored five first-period goals against the Flyers, earlier in the week had been beaten by the Devils for the second time this year. New Jersey goalie Ron Low picked up his 100th win in an 8-3 victory over Quebec. All Wayne Gretzky wants for Christmas is two more points to become the 17th player in history and the youngest ever to amass 1,000 career points. He ran his total to 998 with five goals and one assist in an 8-2 Edmonton romp past St. Louis. It was the third time in Gretzky's NHL career that he has scored five goals in one game. He has had 32 goals and 52 assists in 29 games so far this season. In the Norris Division, first-place Chicago outscored Detroit 5-1 and Minnesota 5-3 before losing the rematch by the same score. Toronto fans who showed up for a home game against Philadelphia wearing bags over their heads got zero points for creativity, but the ploy did work. The Maple Leafs beat the Flyers 6-3 on two goals apiece by Stewart Gavin and Peter Ihnacak.
INDOOR SOCCER—Dallas, the MISL's only expansion team this year, went 2-1 and climbed out of the Western Division cellar. Kevin Smith scored the winning goal in overtime as the Sidekicks beat Wichita 6-5. Dallas also had beaten Minnesota 5-4. Western Division leader San Diego knocked St. Louis out of its Eastern Division lead with a 9-5 win, the Sockers' seventh straight. Cleveland then moved into the East lead by beating Las Vegas 4-3.
SOCCER—CLEMSON defeated Indiana 2-1 to win the NCAA championship in Seattle.
TENNIS—SWEDEN swept the first three matches to defeat the U.S. for the Davis Cup in G√∂teborg.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: As head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, LES STECKEL, 38, after a 3-13 season.
INDICTED: By a federal grand jury in New York, boxing promoter DON KING and an assistant, on 23 counts of tax evasion, filing false tax returns and conspiracy.
NAMED: As football coach at East Carolina, ART BAKER, 55, formerly an assistant at Florida State; he replaced Ed Emory, 46, who was fired after five years and a 26-29 record. As football coach at Tulane, MACK BROWN, 33, offensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma.
The 1984 Harness Horse of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers and the U.S. Trotting Association, the 3-year-old filly FANCY CROWN, who won 13 of 21 starts during the year.
RESIGNED: As coach of the Indianapolis Colts, FRANK KUSH, 55, to accept a five-year, $1 million contract to coach the USFL Arizona Outlaws.
SIGNED: By the Baltimore Orioles, outfielder FRED LYNN, 32, to a five-year, $6.8 million no-trade contract; by the Chicago Cubs, NL Cy Young Award-winner RICK SUTCLIFFE, 28, to a five-year reported $9 million contract.
TRADED: By the Montreal Expos, catcher GARY CARTER, 30, to the New York Mets for infielder HUBIE BROOKS, 28, catcher MIKE FITZGERALD, 24, and two minor-leaguers; by the St. Louis Cardinals, outfielder GEORGE HENDRICK, 35, and a minor-leaguer to the Pittsburgh Pirates for lefthanded pitcher JOHN TUDOR, 30, and catcher-outfielder BRIAN HARPER, 25.
By the Philadelphia 76ers, forward MARC IAVARONI, 28, to the San Antonio Spurs for a third-round draft pick in 1986.
By the Minnesota North Stars, defenseman BRAD MAXWELL, 27, and left wing BRENT ASHTON, 24, to the Quebec Nordics for forwards TONY McKEGNEY 26, and BO BERGLUND, 29.