PRO BASKETBALL—After missing the first 14 games of the season following foot surgery, All-Star forward Kevin McHale returned to the Boston lineup, but the Celtics still went just 1-2 for the week. McHale came off the bench to score 22 points in his first game back, a 120-106 loss to Atlanta, then added 23 in a 130-99 win over New Jersey and 20 in a 128-105 loss to Detroit. At 11-6, Boston was the only Atlantic Division team with a better-than-.500 record, but five of the six Central Division teams had won more than half their games. Chicago, led by NBA scoring leader Michael Jordan's 126 points, went 2-2 to finish the week at 12-5, and bunched right behind the Bulls—all with records of 10-5—were Milwaukee, Atlanta and Detroit. The Bucks went 2-1, while the Hawks matched the Pistons' 3-0 performance despite losing Dominique Wilkins for the last two of those games because of a sprained toe on his right foot. In the Midwest Division, Dallas beat Golden State 116-95 and, paced by Mark Aguirre's 35 points, defeated Denver 109-96, to move into first place, ahead of the Nuggets. The Los Angeles Lakers won their 25th straight game against Sacramento, 125-120 in OT. Then, for the first time since May 1986, they lost three straight: 117-104 to Portland, 85-83 to Milwaukee and 97-95 to Cleveland. The Bucks held Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to seven points, ending his streak of double-figure scoring at 787 games. The Lakers' lackluster play allowed the Trail Blazers, winners of nine straight, to take the Pacific Division lead (page 22).
BOWLING—TOM CRITES beat Marshall Holman 221-205 in the final match to win the PBA's Touring Players Championship and $23,000, in Detroit.
BOXING—EVANDER HOLYFIELD defended his IBF cruiserweight title with a fourth-round knockout of Dwight Muhammad Qawi, in Atlantic City (page 48).
PRO FOOTBALL—As the NFL playoff picture came into sharper focus, one unfamiliar team was mixed in with the old standbys: New Orleans, which earned its first-ever playoff berth by beating Tampa Bay 44-33. The win was the 9-3 Saints' club-record sixth in a row and gave New Orleans the best current streak in the NFL. San Francisco, one game ahead of second-place New Orleans in the NFC West, also clinched a playoff berth—for the fifth straight year—by beating Green Bay 23-12. Joe Montana made good on his first 17 passes against the Pack to run his streak of completions to 22, an NFL record. Washington scored three times in a span of just 5:26 in the third quarter to beat St. Louis 34-17 and win the NFC East. Chicago clinched the NFC Central division title by defeating Minnesota 30-24 on Mike Tomczak's last-minute pass to Dennis Gentry. Denver came from 17-3 down to beat New England 31-20 and run its record to 8-3-1, best not only in the AFC West but also in the conference. Houston handed San Diego its third straight loss, 33-18. The Oilers are now 7-5 and tied for first in the AFC Central with Pittsburgh, which beat Seattle 13-9, and Cleveland, which lost to Indianapolis 9-7. And in the too little, too late department, Atlanta defeated Dallas 21-10 to snap a six-game losing streak; Jim Breech's 32-yard field goal in OT gave Cincinnati a 30-27 win over Kansas City; the New York Giants beat Philadelphia 23-20 in OT when Raul Allegre booted a 28-yard field goal; and the Los Angeles Rams, led by Charles White's fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance, won their fourth straight, 37-16 over Detroit. Marc Wilson passed for 337 yards and three TDs, and Bo Jackson had 137 total yards as the Los Angeles Raiders beat Buffalo 34-21 (page 24).
December 14, 1987
HOCKEY—Detroit was hot, beating Edmonton 7-4 and Chicago 12-0, to push its winning streak to five games, during which the Red Wings scored 38 goals. Detroit increased its Norris Division lead to four points, which wasn't difficult because the two teams closest to the Wings at the beginning of the week—Chicago and Toronto—went 0-4 and 0-3, respectively. The New York Islanders remained on top of the Patrick Division with two wins, 7-1 over Pittsburgh and 6-4 over Washington. Montreal began its week with a 6-4 triumph over Boston, the only Adams Division team within striking range of the Canadiens. A 3-3 tie with Vancouver and a 6-4 win over Los Angeles gave Montreal a four-point lead over the Bruins, who followed their loss to the Canadiens with three straight victories. Calgary moved into a first-place tie with Edmonton in the Smythe Division with a 2-0-1 week highlighted by Mike Vernon's 4-0 shutout of Chicago. The Oilers dropped two—4-2 to Washington and 7-4 to Detroit—before beating Toronto 5-2 and Minnesota 10-4. Against the North Stars, Wayne Gretzky had the fourth five-goal game of his career.
INDOOR SOCCER—In the Eastern Division, Baltimore moved into a tie for first place with Cleveland by beating the Force in OT, 4-3, and San Diego, 2-1. Despite that loss, San Diego stayed atop the Western Division with a win of their own over Cleveland, 7-3. Midfielder Branko Segota had six goals and an assist in that win.
MARATHON—TAKEYUKI NAKAYAMA of Japan won the Fukuoka (Japan) Marathon in 2:08:18, the fastest time in the world this year. He finished 2:16 before countryman Masanari Shintaku.
COLLEGE SOCCER—CLEMSON beat San Diego State 2-0 to win the NCAA men's soccer title, in Clemson, S.C.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: The 1987 Heisman Trophy, to Notre Dame senior flanker TIM BROWN, who this season gained 1,847 all-purpose yards and scored seven TDs; and the Lombardi Award, for the best lineman or linebacker, to Ohio State senior linebacker CHRIS SPIELMAN, who made 78 solo tackles and 156 in all.
CHARGED: By authorities in Richland County, S.C., former San Diego Padre pitcher LAMARR HOYT, 32, with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Hoyt, who won the 1983 Cy Young Award while pitching for the Chicago White Sox and has been re-signed by them, was suspended for the entire 1987 season by commissioner Peter Ueberroth for his involvement with sedatives, though an arbitrator later reduced the suspension to 60 days.
FIRED: As coach of the Quebec Nordiques, ANDRE SAVARD, 34, who had a 10-13-1 record in his first season. He was replaced by RON LAPOINTE, 38, the coach of Quebec's top farm team.
By the Los Angeles Kings, coach MIKE MURPHY, 37, who had a two-season record of 20-37-8; he was 7-16-4 this season.
RESIGNED: As head football coach at North Carolina, DICK CRUM, 53, who in 10 years with the Tar Heels had a record of 72-41-3, with six bowl appearances. This season North Carolina lost its final three games to finish 5-6.
TRADED: By the Detroit Tigers, righthanded pitcher DAN PETRY, 29, to the California Angels for outfielder GARY PETTIS, 29.
DIED: NHL Hall of Famer GEORGE (Punch) IMLACH, 69; of heart failure; in Toronto. In the 11 seasons from 1958 to '69 he coached the Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups—including three straight from '62 to '64. Imlach, who also coached the Buffalo Sabres for two seasons and was at various times the general manager of the Leafs and Sabres, had a career record of 879-395-336.