PRO BASKETBALL—The Lakers closed out the 1980s with victories over the Kings (104-102) and the Warriors (130-111), which gave them a 584-222 record for the decade, tops in the NBA. (The runner-up Celtics were 580-230.) Los Angeles begins the '90s with a league-best 21-6 record for this season and a three-game Pacific Division lead over the Trail Blazers, who lost three in a row before beating Dallas in triple overtime 144-140. In the Atlantic Division, the first-place Knicks ran their winning streak to nine games at the expense of the Heat (100-94), the Nets (106-104) and the Magic (113-107). Though they were on the road, the Celtics also went 3-0 and moved into second place, 3½ games back of New York. Boston edged the Clippers 112-111 when Larry Bird sank two free throws with .2 of a second left, then beat the Kings 115-112 in overtime—despite former Celtic Danny Ainge's 39 points—and Seattle 96-89. The Spurs, who won only 21 games last season, remained the pacesetters in the Midwest Division with a 19-7 record. Terry Cummings scored 32 points as San Antonio overpowered the Hornets 107-82, and David Robinson had a career-high 34 in a 107-97 victory over the Bullets. The Spurs finished the week with a 101-97 loss to the Bulls, who were locked in a dogfight in the Central, the most hotly contested division in the league. Chicago also defeated the Timberwolves 112-99 and Washington 117-112 in OT. But the Pacers had a perfect week, too, sweeping the Magic home and away and then beating the Rockets and the Hawks to move into a first-place tie with the Bulls.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—In the Sugar Bowl, Miami beat Alabama 33-25 to win the national championship (page 12). In other bowl games on New Year's Day, Notre Dame, a 27-10 loser to Miami on Nov. 25, defeated No. 1-ranked and previously undefeated Colorado 21-6 in the Orange; Southern Cal won the Rose by knocking off Michigan 17-10 in Bo Schembechler's last game as the Wolverines' coach; Florida State, the only team to beat Miami this season, routed Nebraska 41-17 in the Fiesta; Auburn overpowered Ohio State 31-14 in the Hall of Fame; Tennessee edged Arkansas 31-27 in the Cotton; and Illinois stopped Virginia 31-21 in the Citrus. In earlier bowl games, Blake Ezor ran over the Hawaii defense for three touchdowns and 179 yards as Michigan State romped over the Rainbows 33-13 in the Aloha; Mississippi crushed Air Force 42-29 in the Liberty; James Gray rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns to lead Texas Tech to a 49-21 rout of Duke in the All-American; Penn State beat BYU 50-39 in the Holiday; Syracuse nipped Georgia 19-18 in the Peach; and Clemson whipped West Virginia 27-7 in the Gator.
PRO FOOTBALL—In the NFC wild-card game, Jim Everett passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns as Los Angeles defeated the Eagles 21-7 (page 34). In the AFC wild card, the Steelers beat the Oilers 26-23 in overtime (page 30).
HOCKEY—In the Patrick Division, only eight points separated the last-place Islanders from the Capitals, Devils and Flyers, who were in a three-way tie for first. The Capitals beat the Penguins 6-3 (after trailing 3-0), the Devils 3-1 and the Red Wings 2-1. The Devils tied the Rangers 4-4 at Madison Square Garden—Kirk Muller scored the last goal for New Jersey with 25 seconds left in regulation—and then beat them 3-2 at the Meadowlands. The Flyers bounced back from a 2-1 loss to the Oilers to defeat the Kings 6-3. None of the other division races was nearly as close. In the Smythe, first-place Edmonton held a five-point lead over the Flames—in part by defeating Montreal 6-2 as Mark Messier had two goals and an assist. The Adams Division-leading Sabres were seven points ahead of their nearest pursuers, the Bruins, who beat the Sabres 4-3 on Craig Janney's overtime goal. The next night, Boston blew a 6-1 lead and lost to Toronto 7-6 in OT. Montreal lost three straight in western Canada and was 0-4-1 over five games. The Black-hawks, the only team in the Norris Division with a better-than-.500 record for the season, lost to the Blues 8-3, tied the North Stars 1-1 and then crushed the Whalers 7-3.
January 8, 1990
HORSE RACING—CLAIRE MARINE ($4.20), Chris McCarron up, won the Matriarch Handicap at Hollywood Park by a length over General Charge. The 4-year-old filly ran the 1‚Äö√Ñ√∂‚àö√±‚àö¬µ miles on the turf in 1:47[2/5] and earned $110,000.
INDOOR SOCCER—Baltimore and Wichita spent the week exchanging the Eastern Division lead. The Wings defeated the Blast 6-3 to take over first place briefly, but the Blast regained the top spot by rolling over Western Division-leader Dallas 5-1 and San Diego 6-4, while Wichita lost to St. Louis 5-2 and Cleveland 4-2.
MILEPOSTS—FILED SUIT: U.S. Olympic sprinter CARL LEWIS against former American track standout Darrell Robinson and West Germany's Stern magazine, for libel. Lewis is seeking $182 million in damages for a story in which Robinson claimed that Lewis had used steroids.
FINED: An undisclosed amount, by the NFL, for fighting in a Thanksgiving Day game, 10 Dallas Cowboys and seven Philadelphia Eagles. The incident sparked accusations that Eagle coach Buddy Ryan had placed bounties on certain Dallas players.
FIRED: As coach of the New York Jets, JOE WALTON, 54, under whom the Jets were 4-12 this season and 53-57-1 in his seven years.
NAMED: As football coach, at Florida, STEVE SPURRIER, 44, who had a 20-13-1 record in the past three seasons at Duke; at Duke, BARRY WILSON, 46, who for three years had been one of Spurrier's assistant coaches; at Pitt, PAUL HACKETT, 42, who had been the Panthers' interim coach since Mike Gottfried was fired last week; at UNLV, JIM STRONG, 35, who had been Notre Dame's offensive coordinator and offensive back-field coach the past three seasons; and at Toledo, NICK SAB AN, 38, who was the Houston Oilers' defensive secondary coach for the past two years. Saban succeeded Dan Simrell, whose firing on Nov. 22 led to a public outcry from Rocket fans (SI, Dec. 25-Jan. 1).
SUSPENDED: By the NHL, for an additional 10 games, Chicago Blackhawk defenseman DAVE MANSON for fighting in a Dec. 23 game against Toronto. Manson had already been suspended for three games for the incident. And for one game, Hartford Whaler center DEAN EVASON for high-sticking Quebec center Paul Gillis on Dec. 26.
TRADED: By the New York Mets, outfielder JUAN SAMUEL, 29, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder MIKE MARSHALL, 29, and righthanded pitcher ALEJANDRO PENA, 30.
DIED: Former major league infielder (1950-61) and manager BILLY MARTIN, 61; of injuries suffered in a vehicular accident; in Binghamton, N.Y. Martin, who played seven seasons with the New York Yankees and later managed them on five different occasions, served as manager of five American League teams and won five division titles, two pennants and a world championship (page 7).
Hockey Hall of Famer DOUG HARVEY, 65; after a long illness; in Montreal. Harvey, one of the NHL's greatest defensemen, played for 21 seasons (1947-48 through '68-69), 14 of them with the Canadiens (page 7).