PRO BASKETBALL—The Pacific has become the NBA's showcase division. No other division has as many as three teams over .500; the Pacific has five. And only 6½ games separate first-place Los Angeles from fifth-place Golden State. Last week L.A., Seattle, Phoenix and Portland all went 3-0. The Lakers beat Cleveland 114-100, Indiana 97-92 and Kansas City 109-97. Seattle ran its win streak to seven games; Guard Gus Williams scored a career-high 42 points in a 115-103 win over Utah. In the Atlantic Division, Boston, a three-time winner, moved to a 2½-game lead over Philadelphia, thrice a loser. Celtic Larry Bird had a "triple double"—double figures in points, rebounds and assists—in two straight games. He scored 25 points and added 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 112-94 win over New Jersey, and his numbers were 28, 19 and 15 in a 116-95 victory over Atlanta. The 76ers beat Washington 95-92 but then lost to Central Division-leading Milwaukee 111-107, Atlanta 96-90 and New Jersey 105-97. Philly Center Darryl Dawkins broke his right leg against the Nets and will be out of action for at least six weeks. Atlanta found there's one way to stop Milwaukee when the Bucks come to town: snow, which forced cancellation of the game. Stormed out in Atlanta, the Bucks stormed into Philly, where they won their ninth straight road game. They split at home, beating Boston 122-118 and losing to Detroit 108-103. Midwest Division-leading San Antonio beat Dallas 127-109 and handed Houston a 128-90 defeat, the worst for the Rockets since 1968. Houston Coach Del Harris called it "a bad day at the office." The next day was better: Houston beat the Spurs 116-99.
BOWLING—In his second professional tournament, JAMES MILLER defeated Pete Weber 224-196 to win a $150,000 PBA event in Las Vegas.
BOXING—SERGIO PALMA won a 15-round decision over Jorge Lujan to retain his WBA junior featherweight title in Cordoba, Argentina.
Rolando Navarette knocked out Chung-il Choi in the 11th round in Manila to retain his WBC super featherweight title.
GOLF—ED FIORI birdied the 72nd hole to force a playoff and then beat Tom Kite on the second hole of sudden death to win the $304,500 Bob Hope Desert Classic in Palm Springs, Calif. Each shot a 25-under-par 335.
HOCKEY—Nearly 16,000 ardent Philadelphia fans braved the snow to get to The Spectrum for a look at Wayne Gretzky, the Edmonton scoring machine who had dismantled the Flyers with five goals the last time the two teams met. The crowd greeted him with a sign that read GRATE GRETZKY, which is exactly what the Flyers did, holding him to four shots and embarrassing the Oilers 8-2. The Flyers also beat Montreal 4-2 and Boston 7-3 to wrest first place in the Patrick Division from the New York Islanders, who blew an early 3-1 lead and lost 5-4 to Boston and later tied Washington 2-2. Buffalo ran its win streak to seven games by beating Chicago 6-2, Toronto 8-2 and Hartford 7-1 to stay atop the Adams Division. Against the Leafs, Sabre Forward Yvon Lambert scored the first hat trick of his 10-year NHL career. For a while Minnesota and St. Louis tried to play giveaway with the Norris Division lead as the North Stars lost 5-3 and 2-0 to the Rangers and the Blues fell 4-2 to Quebec. Then when Minnesota ended a five-game winless streak with a 4-1 victory over the Nordiques, St. Louis kept pace, beating Chicago 8-6 as Joe Mullen scored two goals and Defenseman Rik Wilson tied a league record with four assists in the second period. He had had four in his 20 previous NHL games. Minnesota finally claimed first place for itself with a 7-5 win over Chicago. Smythe Division-leading Edmonton slumped badly on the road. The Oilers were tied by Washington 6-6 on Dennis Maruk's goal with 10 seconds to play before losing to Philly and then 7-1 to Toronto. It was the first time this season Edmonton lost consecutive games. Against the Leafs, Oiler rookie Grant Fuhr, the league's first black goalie, had his first loss in his last 24 starts.
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: After scoring four goals against Denver Nov. 29, Pittsburgh's Nathan Sacks had only one goal in the next 12 games. Then with the Spirit trailing Western Division-leader St. Louis 4-1, Sacks hit four goals in nine minutes. Stan Terlecki, who had assists on three of Sacks's goals, fed the game-winner to John O'Hara as the Spirit ended the Steamers' eight-game win streak 6-5. The win moved Pittsburgh within half a game of idle New York, which leads the Eastern Division.
NASL: Vancouver swept three games, beating San Diego 9-8 and Western Division-leading San Jose 10-2 and 8-2 to take a half game lead over Edmonton in the Northwestern Division. Central Division-leading Chicago edged Jacksonville 6-5 in its only game. After losing to New York 5-4, Montreal strengthened its hold on first in the Eastern Division by beating Tampa Bay 6-5.
TENNIS—MARTINA NAVRATILOVA beat Anne Smith 6-2, 6-3 in the finals of a $200,000 tournament in Landover, Md.
Ivan Lendl defeated Vitas Gerulaitis 6-7, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4, to win the $400,000 Masters Grand Prix in New York City (page 18).
Barbara Potter beat Bettina Bunge 6-4, 7-6 to win a $150,000 tournament in Cincinnati.
TRACK & FIELD—CARL LEWIS of the U.S. long-jumped 28'1" at the U.S. Olympic Invitational in East Rutherford, N.J. to break his own indoor world record by 2¾ inches (page 14).
MILEPOSTS—CONVICTED: By a U.S. District Court jury, Sports Promoter HAROLD ROSS-FIELDS SMITH, 38, of embezzling $21.3 million from Wells Fargo Bank. Smith was found guilty on 29 counts of fraud and embezzlement of money used to promote track meets and championship boxing matches.
ELECTED: To the baseball Hall of Fame, HANK AARON, 47, who batted .305 in 23 seasons playing for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (1954-74) and Milwaukee Brewers (1975-76), won three Gold Gloves, was the National League MVP in 1957 and set major league records for home runs (755), RBIs (2.297), extra-base hits (1,477), games (3,298) and at bats (12,364); and FRANK ROBINSON, 46, who batted .294 and hit 586 home runs in 21 seasons playing for the Cincinnati Reds (1956-65), Baltimore Orioles (1966-71), Los Angeles Dodgers (1972), California Angels (1973-74) and Cleveland Indians (1975-76), won the American League Triple Crown in 1966 and is the only player to have won an MVP award in both leagues.
NAMED: As coach of the New England Patriots, RON MEYER, 40, whose 1981 team at Southern Methodist won the Southwest Conference title and finished with a 10-1 record. Meyer was 34-31-1 in six seasons at SMU.
As football coach at the University of Maryland, BOBBY ROSS, 45, an assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs the last four years.
PLACED ON PROBATION: For three years by the NCAA, Wichita State's basketball program, for recruiting and other violations. The Shockers are ineligible for postseason play this year and in 1983, and were stripped of one basketball scholarship for each of the next two seasons.
DIED: University of Arizona Track Coach WILLIE WILLIAMS, 41, who was starting his 13th season with the Wildcats and who had been named as the sprint coach for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team; of an apparent suicide; in Tucson.
DIED: Sportswriter RED SMITH, 76, who spent 46 of his 55 years in journalism writing sports columns for The Philadelphia Record, The New York Herald Tribune, New York World Journal Tribune, Publishers Newspaper Syndicate and The New York Times, of heart failure; in Stamford, Conn. In 1976 Smith became the second sportswriter to receive a Pulitzer Prize (page 9).