PRO BASKETBALL—If there were any doubts, the last week (Dec. 28-Jan. 3) provided proof that the Atlantic Division is weaker than it has been in years. The Atlantic's teams played 13 games, all against clubs from other divisions. Their record? A pathetic 3-10. Boston, whose 1-1 week included a 111-105 loss to Seattle and a 115-110 defeat of Golden State, extended to six its lead over second-place Philadelphia, which lost all four games it played, despite the heroics of forward Charles Barkley (page 36). In the Central Division, Atlanta took first place from Detroit by beating Chicago 108-98 behind Doc Rivers's triple double—the first of his career and the first by a Hawk since Tree Rollins got one in 1983. Rivers had 29 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. Atlanta also defeated Cleveland 117-110 and the Los Angeles Clippers 121-84 to lead the Pistons, who went 1-2 last week, by 1½ games. Dallas inched further ahead of second-place Denver in the Midwest Division by winning 126-117 over Sacramento and then snapping San Antonio's home-win streak at 10 with a 116-109 win. The Los Angeles Lakers, whose 21-6 record was the best in the NBA at week's end, trounced Philly 131-114, as Byron Scott scored a career-high 37 points and Magic Johnson had 26 points and 17 assists. The Lakers finished last week with a 98-81 victory over second-place Portland; that gave L.A. a four-game lead over the Trail Blazers.
BOWLING—MIKE JASNAU beat Wayne Webb 259-246 in the final match to win his first PBA tournament, the Alameda (Calif.) Open, and collect the $18,000 winner's purse.
BOXING—GIANFRANCO ROSI of Italy retained his WBC super welterweight title with a seventh-round KO of Duane Thomas of the U.S., in Genoa, Italy.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—In the Orange Bowl, Miami upset Oklahoma 20-14 to win the national title. In other bowl games, Florida State defeated Nebraska 31-28 in the Fiesta; Clemson routed Penn State 35-10 in the Citrus; Texas A & M hammered Notre Dame 35-10 in the Cotton; Syracuse and Auburn played to a 16-16 tie in the Sugar; Michigan State beat USC 20-17 in the Rose; Tennessee beat Indiana 27-22 in the Peach; and Michigan came from behind to top Alabama 28-24 in the Hall of Fame (page 16).
January 11, 1988
PRO FOOTBALL—In the NFC wild-card game, the Minnesota Vikings trounced the New Orleans Saints 44-10, and in the AFC wild-card game, Tony Zendejas kicked a 42-yard field goal 8:05 into overtime to give the Houston Oilers a 23-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks (page 28).
HOCKEY—Philadelphia, which had used a 12-0-2 surge to jump from last to first place in the Patrick Division, was finally beaten, 6-0 by Edmonton. During their 14-game unbeaten streak, the Flyers made up 14 points on the Islanders, who had been the last team to beat them, on Nov. 21, and had been in first when the Flyers began their run. The night after falling to the Oilers, Philly lost again, 5-4 to Calgary, but then recovered to beat Vancouver 4-1. The Flyers finished last week in a first-place tie with the Islanders, who tied the Rangers 3-3, on Pat LaFontaine's second goal of the game, and beat Pittsburgh 3-2. Again LaFontaine had the decisive score. Montreal, 1-2 for last week, saw its Adams Division lead over Boston cut to three points. Detroit halted a four-game losing streak and took the Norris Division lead from St. Louis by defeating the Blues twice, 3-2 in St. Louis and 7-2 in Motown. Bob Probert had a hat trick in the second of those triumphs. The Red Wings got another hat trick—this one from Steve Yzerman—in their 4-4 tie with Winnipeg and finished the week two points ahead of the Blues. Smythe Division leader Calgary won thrice, twice against division-leading teams. The first victim was Montreal, which fell 9-3 as the Flames' rookie center Joe Nieuwendyk scored a hat trick. Calgary then got that 5-4 victory over Philadelphia before losing to St. Louis 5-3. The Flames closed last week with a 5-3 win over Chicago to go three points up on second-place Edmonton, which, after losing Wayne Gretzky to a sprained right knee for two weeks, was shut out 2-0 by Washington.
HORSE RACING—At Hialeah Park CHEROKEE COLONY ($9.40), Jorge Velasquez up, beat Sorry About That by a length to win the Flamingo Stakes and $150,000. The 3-year-old colt ran the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles in 1:49[4/5]. Also at Hialeah, DOUBLE BED ($20), with Gerald Mosse in the saddle, beat Salem Drive by three quarters of a length to win the Hialeah Turf Cup. The 5-year-old ran the 1½ miles in 2:27[4/5] to earn the $120,000 purse (page 40).
INDOOR SOCCER—Cleveland began last week by wresting first place in the Eastern Division from Chicago by beating the Sting 5-4. The Force then defeated Dallas 5-2, edged Chicago 6-5 on Desmond Armstrong's goal 12:50 into the second OT and lost to Minnesota 6-5. In the West, San Diego hung on to first place by beating Wichita 9-6 before losing to St. Louis 4-2.
TENNIS—PAM SHRIVER defeated Jana Novotna of Czechoslovakia 7-6, 7-6 to win a women's tour event and $25,500 in Brisbane, Australia.
MILEPOSTS—DROPPED: By the district attorney's office in Maricopa County, Ariz., three charges of conspiracy to traffic in narcotics against ex-Phoenix Suns guard MIKE BRATZ, 32, the only one of the 13 defendants still facing charges in last year's much-publicized case involving five present and former Suns.
FIRED: As coach of the Washington Bullets, KEVIN LOUGHERY, 47, who had an 8-19 record this season, his third with the team. He was replaced by assistant coach WES UNSELD, 41, who as a center led the Bullets to a playoff berth every year from 1969 through '80 and was named both the MVP and Rookie of the Year for the 1968-69 season.
NAMED: As football coach at Ohio State, JOHN COOPER, 50, who had a 25-9-2 record at Arizona State the past three years and a 57-31 record at Tulsa the eight seasons before that.
As football coach at Kansas, GLEN MASON, 37, who had a 12-10 record in two seasons at Kent State.
TRADED: By the New York Yankees, pitcher STEVE TROUT, 30, and outfielder HENRY COTTO, 27, to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher LEE GUETTERMAN, 29, and two minor leaguers.
By the Calgary Flames, center CAREY WILSON, 25; defenseman NEIL SHEEHY, 27; and the rights to U.S. Olympic forward LANE MacDONALD, 21, to the Hartford Whalers for defenseman DANA MURZYN, 21, and a minor leaguer.
DIED: Former major league pitcher NINO ESPINOSA, 34; of a heart attack; in the Dominican Republic. During eight seasons with the Mets, the Phillies and the Blue Jays, Espinosa was 44-55 with a 4.17 ERA.
Former PGA pro DAN SIKES, 58, of complications following stomach surgery; in Jacksonville. Sikes won $819,601 and six events in his 20 seasons on the Tour.