PRO BASKETBALL—After missing three games with a strained back, Boston's Larry Bird was a little shaky. For about 10 shots, anyway. Bird missed 9 of his first 10 but still scored 21 points in his return, a 123-117 win over New Jersey. He added 25, 35 and 32 points, respectively, as Boston beat Dallas 117-108, Cleveland 133-128 in OT and Houston 122-99 to remain comfortably atop the Atlantic Division. Dallas fans did a lot of nail-biting as the Mavs were edged 119-115 in double overtime by Indiana a night after their team nipped Milwaukee 124-122 in OT. A 108-103 victory over New York and the loss to the Celtics left the Mavs, Midwest Division leaders, 2½ games up on Utah. In the Central, Dominique Wilkins celebrated his 27th birthday with a 53-point performance as division-leading Atlanta beat the Los Angeles Clippers 125-115. But two losses, 96-93 to Philadelphia and 100-91 to Milwaukee, against a 130-91 rout of the Bucks, put the Hawks just half a game ahead of Detroit. The Clippers actually won a game—their fifth this season—by stopping Denver 123-105. But they still trailed the Pacific Division-leading crosstown Lakers, who beat Golden State 129-109 and Washington 115-101, by 24½ games.
BOWLING—GEORGE BRANHAM III defeated Steve Wunderlich 225-182 to win a PBA event in Union City, Calif.
BOXING—LOUIE ESPINOZA, 24, won the WBA junior featherweight championship with a fourth-round TKO of Tommy Valoy, in Phoenix.
GOLF—COREY PAVIN shot a final-round 67 for a 90-hole score of 341, 19 under par, to beat Bernhard Langer by one stroke and win $162,000 at the Bob Hope Classic, in La Quinta, Calif.
January 26, 1987
HOCKEY—After the Great One was outpolled by upstart Mario Lemieux of Pittsburgh in the voting for starting center on the All-Star team, Wayne Gretzky exploded with a goal and three assists in Edmonton's 7-4 drubbing of Toronto. The win was the fifth straight for the Smythe Division leaders, who also beat Detroit 5-3 and Quebec 4-1 before falling to Buffalo 6-5 in OT. The Oilers led by eight points. Winnipeg, which had one-goal victories over Washington, Pittsburgh and New Jersey, overtook Calgary, 0-4 on the week, for second place. Minnesota had a slim lead in the Norris Division, after tying St. Louis 4-4, beating Toronto 3-2 and Chicago 3-2 and losing to Winnipeg 5-3. In the Adams, Hartford lowlighted its slide out of first place by handing the Devils their first win in 10 games, 7-5, and losing 6-1 to Washington, as the Caps scored on 5 of their first 12 shots. That loss left Hartford five points behind Montreal, which was 2-1-1 on the week. After a split with the second-place New York Islanders, Philadelphia still had a huge 15-point lead in the Patrick Division.
HORSE RACING—VARIETY ROAD ($50.80), Laffit Pincay Jr. up, beat Broad Brush by a neck to win the $163,800 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita. The 4-year-old colt covered the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:49.
INDOOR SOCCER—Cleveland, which was tied with Dallas for first place in the East, scored three unanswered second-half goals to beat the Sidekicks 5-3 and gain the lead outright. The Force then added a 5-4 OT win over Baltimore. In the West, Preki had two hat tricks as first-place Tacoma defeated St. Louis 5-4 and New York 6-5 in OT.
SAILING—America's Cup: Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes took advantage of strong winds to beat New Zealand 4-1 and win the challenger finals. Kookaburra III led Australia IV 4-0 in the best-of-nine defender series (page 10).
SPEED SKATING—In Davos, Switzerland, NICK THOMETZ skimmed .32 of a second off Eric Heiden's seven-year-old American 1,000-meter record, winning a World Cup race in 1:13.28; BONNIE BLAIR bettered her own American 1,000 mark by nearly two seconds with a 1:20.56 in an international meet in Davos.
SKIING—In World Cup competition, MARKUS WASMAIER of West Germany won his first downhill event, in Wengen, Switzerland; PIRMIN ZURBRIGGEN of Switzerland upped his overall lead with a giant slalom win in Adelboden, Switzerland; and his countrywoman MICHELA FIGINI won a downhill in Pfronten, West Germany.
TRACK & FIELD—In Osaka, Japan, BEN JOHNSON of Canada shaved .06 of a second off his own world indoor 60-meter-dash record with a time of 6.44 seconds; SERGEY BUBKA of the Soviet Union vaulted 19'6½" to improve his pole vault mark by one-quarter of an inch; and OLEG PROTSENKO of the U.S.S.R. broke Maris Bruziks's 11-month-old triple jump record by 5¼" with a 57'11¾" effort. In Simmerath, West Germany, CARLO THRANHARDT of West Germany set a world indoor high jump record of 7'10½", half an inch better than Dietmar Mogenburg's two-year-old mark.
MILEPOSTS—ARRESTED: For unlawful gambling, former Ohio State and Indianapolis Colts quarterback ART SCHLICHTER, 26, who had been banned from the NFL for the 1983 season because of his betting activities, in Indianapolis (page 7).
BANNED: From the NBA for a minimum of two years, Houston Rockets guards LEWIS LLOYD, 27, and MITCHELL WIGGINS, 27, after testing positive for cocaine.
DISMISSED: By the Chicago Bears, general manager JERRY VAINISI, 45, a chief architect of the Super Bowl XX champions.
ELECTED: To the Baseball Hall of Fame, by the Baseball Writers Association of America. JIM (Catfish) HUNTER, 40, a righthanded pitcher who won the Cy Young Award in 1974 and achieved a 224-166 record, plus five World Series rings, in 15 years with the Kansas City and Oakland A's and the New York Yankees; and BILLY WILLIAMS, 48, who hit over .300 five times and had 20 or more home runs in 13 straight seasons during his 18-year career, mostly with the Chicago Cubs.
NAMED: As head football coach at the University of Arizona, DICK TOMEY, 48, who had a 63-46-3 record at the University of Hawaii. He succeeds Larry Smith, who became head coach at USC. Tomey was replaced at Hawaii by BOB WAGNER, 39, the Rainbow Warriors defensive coordinator.
As women's track coach at DePauw University, three-time Olympic gold medalist WILMA RUDOLPH, 46.
PLEADED GUILTY: To possession of a controlled substance, former World Boxing Association heavyweight champion MICHAEL DOKES, 28, in Las Vegas.
RESIGNED: As head football coach at Wake Forest, AL GROH, 42, who had a 26-40 record.
DIED: MATT HAZELTINE, 53, an All-Pro linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1960s; of Lou Gehrig's disease; in San Francisco.
EDWIN FAULKNER, 86, who coached the U.S., French and Spanish teams in seven different Davis Cup campaigns and also guided Swarthmore College to a 367-127-7 record over 41 years: in Winter Park, Fla.