PRO BASKETBALL—It was a sorry week (Dec. 26 through Jan. 1) for the top half of the Atlantic Division, as the Knicks, 76ers and Celtics went a combined 1-8. Division pacesetter New York dropped three straight games—all on the road—to the Hawks 128-126, to the Bulls 108-106 when Scottie Pippen sank an eight-foot jump shot at the buzzer, and to the Hornets 122-111. New York lost none of its 3½-game lead, however, as second-place Philadelphia also fell thrice without a victory. In the Midwest Division, the Mavericks climbed past the Rockets into first place. While Houston went 2-2, Dallas beat the Spurs 110-101 and the Celtics 131-115, as the Mavericks' Mark Aguirre scored 55 points in those victories. The Pacific Division-leading Lakers suffered their sixth straight loss on the road, falling to the Suns 111-96, before defeating the Sixers 128-123, as Magic Johnson had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 18 assists for his seventh triple double of the season. The second-place Trail Blazers, who could have tied Los Angeles for first place by knocking off the lowly Kings, squandered that chance by losing to Sacramento 112-111 on Harold Pressley's 20-foot jumper with one second to play. In the tough Central Division, five of whose six teams have records of better than .500, both the Pistons and the Hawks swept two games but still gained no ground on the rampaging first-place Cavaliers, who ran their winning streak to a club-record-tying eight games (page 92).
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—In the Fiesta Bowl, Notre Dame beat West Virginia 34-21 to remain undefeated and win the national title (page 16). In other bowl games, Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders rushed for 222 yards and five TDs to lead Oklahoma State to a 62-14 rout of Wyoming in the Holiday; North Carolina State beat Iowa 28-23 in the Peach; Georgia defeated Michigan State 34-27 in the Gator; Syracuse upended LSU 23-10 in the Hall of Fame; Clemson beat Oklahoma 13-6 in the Citrus; UCLA defeated Arkansas 17-3 in the Cotton; Michigan beat USC 22-14 in the Rose; Florida State outscored Auburn 13-7 in the Sugar; and Miami beat Nebraska 23-3 in the Orange.
PRO FOOTBALL—In the AFC playoffs, Cincinnati beat Seattle 21-13 as the Bengals rushed for 254 yards. Cincy's rookie fullback Ickey Woods ran for 126 yards and a touchdown, while backup fullback Stanley Wilson added two more TDs (page 49). In the other AFC semifinal, Robb Riddick and Thurman Thomas each ran for a touchdown to lead Buffalo to a 17-10 triumph over Houston (page 42). In the NFC semis, Chicago overcame a heavy fog and 407 yards passing by Philadelphia's Randall Cunningham to defeat the Eagles 20-12 (page 22), and San Francisco, propelled by Joe Montana's 178 passing yards, defeated Minnesota 34-9 (page 36).
HOCKEY—Adams Division-leading Montreal charged through a four-game Smythe Division road trip without a loss to run its win streak to eight and finish the week (Dec. 26 through Jan. 1) with a 27-10-6 record, best in the NHL. Mats Naslund scored the tying goal and assisted on the game-winner in a 3-2 Canadiens victory over Los Angeles. Naslund was hot again two nights later, when he scored two second-period goals in a 4-3 Montreal defeat of Calgary, the Smythe Division leader. Mike McPhee and Shayne Corson each scored in the third period to give the Canadiens a 4-2 win over Edmonton. Finally, Montreal shut out Vancouver 4-0. The Flames' week began promisingly. Calgary defeated the Canucks 3-2 in overtime, as Joe Nieuwendyk tied the game in the third period with a power-play goal and won it with another with 1:56 left in OT But the Flames' loss to Montreal, which ended a 15-0-3 home streak, cooled them off: They squandered a 4-0 first-period lead over Winnipeg and had to settle for a 4-4 tie. Nevertheless, Calgary increased to five points its division lead over Los Angeles, which went 0-2. Pittsburgh, sparked by Mario Lemieux, continued to lead the Patrick Division. Lemieux got a goal and two assists as the Penguins defeated Hartford 4-3 in overtime. Then, after a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia stopped Pittsburgh's unbeaten streak at eight, the Penguins bounced back with an 8-6 defeat of New Jersey, in which Lemieux had five goals and three assists. The five goals set a club record for a single game, while the eight points tied Lemieux's team mark for points in a game and pushed his season point total to 104, tops in the league. Detroit, which lost all three of its games and had a 1-6-1 mark over its eight most recent outings, still led the Norris Division runner-up, St. Louis, by six points.
INDOOR SOCCER—First-place Baltimore continued to hold its nearest pursuer, Dallas, at bay. The Blast began the week with a pair of wins over last-place Kansas City; forward David Byrne had a goal and three assists in Baltimore's 8-6 defeat of the Comets, and forward Domenic Mobilio got a goal and an assist in its 4-3 triumph the next night. The Blast then suffered its first home loss of the season when Dallas midfielder Richard Chinapoo scored from the top of the penalty area to break a 5-5 fourth-quarter tie. Sidekick forward Tatu had two goals and three assists as Dallas pulled within two games of Baltimore.
SPEED SKATING—Nick Thometz had two first-place and two second-place finishes to win the U.S. sprint speed-skating title and earn a berth on the American team that will be competing in next month's world sprint championships. Bonnie Blair, who swept all four of her races, will also be on the U.S. squad.
WRESTLING—A U.S. freestyle team beat the Soviet national team 7-3 to win a dual meet in Tempe, Ariz. It was the first time a U.S. team has defeated a Soviet team in a dual meet in 17 years (page 102).
MILEPOSTS—FINED: By the NBA for fighting in various games on Dec. 27: Milwaukee Bucks guard JAY HUMPHRIES, $5,000; Indiana Pacer guard SCOTT SKILES, $3,000; New York Knick forward CHARLES OAKLEY, $2,000; and Atlanta Hawk guard GLENN RIVERS and Houston Rocket center AKEEM OLAJUWON, $1,500 each.
FIRED: As coach of the San Diego Chargers, AL SAUNDERS, 41, under whom the Chargers were 6-10 this season and 17-22 in his 2½ years.
NAMED: As football coach at the University of Georgia, RAY GOFF, 33, who had been the running-back coach for the Bulldogs since 1986.
As coach of the Detroit Lions, WAYNE FONTES, 48, who, as interim coach for the last five games of the season, guided the Lions to a 2-3 record.
RESIGNED: As coach of the Cleveland Browns, MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER, 45, who led the Browns to a 46-31 record and three AFC Central titles in his five years with them.
SUSPENDED: By the NHL, for 10 games, Toronto Maple Leaf left wing JOHN KORDIC for high-sticking Edmonton center Keith Acton in a Dec. 14 game.
TRADED: By the Chicago Blackhawks, right wing RICK VAIVE, 29, to the Buffalo Sabres for center ADAM CREIGHTON, 23; by the Hartford Whalers, center CAREY WILSON, 26, and a fifth-round pick in the 1990 draft to the New York Rangers for left wings BRIAN LAWTON, 23, and DON MALONEY, 30, and defenseman NORM MacIVER, 24.