PRO BASKETBALL—The Celtics' 48-game home-win streak finally ended where it began nearly a year ago, at the Hartford Civic Center. The spoilers were the Bullets, who got their first road win of the season, 117-109. Later that week in Boston Garden, the place the Celts really hang their hats (along with 16 world championship banners), the Celtics extended their win streak there to 47 games. With Larry Bird sidelined with a strained Achilles tendon, Boston beat Denver 119-113, paced by Danny Ainge's career-high 34 points, and Philadelphia 108-106, then dropped its next game to the Cavaliers in Cleveland 88-86. Though the Cavs are in last place in the Central Division, they've won five straight, largely on the play of their rookies: Ron Harper had 34 points in a 115-105 win over San Antonio; then in a 113-105 decision over Detroit, Brad Daugherty netted 29 and John (Hot Rod) Williams tallied 22 and pulled down 18 boards. Atop the Central was Atlanta, which beat Denver 116-110 and Houston 109-93 before dropping a 119-113 game to the Pacers. The injury-plagued Bucks were able to pull out two of three to stay two games back of the Hawks, and the Bulls continued to struggle, losing to Utah, Phoenix and San Antonio despite Michael Jordan's fourth, fifth and sixth consecutive games of 40 points or more. In the Midwest, Dallas parlayed 17 turnovers by Sacramento into 21 points to edge the Kings 127-124, then lost to the Lakers 112-104 (page 32). The Mavs bounced back the next night with a 109-104 win over the red-hot Warriors, eclipsing a career-high 41-point performance by guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd. That loss broke a six-game win streak, the longest for the Warriors in eight years. Golden State, which trailed the Lakers in the Pacific Division by four games, squared off in a home-and-home series against them, the Warriors winning 116-106 on their own turf and the Lakers romping 132-100 at the Forum to give coach Pat Riley his 300th Laker victory.
BOWLING—MARK WILLIAMS won $23,000 and a PBA event by beating Billy Young Jr. 246-214, in Taylor, Mich.
BOXING—In Las Vegas, DUANE THOMAS stopped John (the Beast) Mugabi in the third round to win the vacant WBC super welterweight title. On the same card GREG HAUGEN gained the IBF lightweight crown from champion Jimmy Paul with a 15-round majority decision.
PRO FOOTBALL—In a showdown for the NFC East lead, Phil Simms threw for 265 yards and three TDs to lead the Giants past Washington 24-14. A Giants victory or a Redskin loss in the final two games would give New York their first division or conference title in 23 years (page 22). The Bears, who clinched the NFC Central a week before, rolled over Tampa Bay 48-14. Doug Flutie and Mike Tomczak each ran and threw for a Chicago TD. San Francisco drubbed the New York Jets 24-10 to keep pace with the first-place Rams in the NFC West. The Jets, who've lost their last three, stayed tied with New England atop the AFC East. The Rams clinched a playoff berth by defeating the Cowboys 29-10. Kansas City kept its playoff hopes alive with a 37-10 win over the Broncos, who were looking to clinch the AFC West title. In New England, the Pats, seeking to lock up a wild-card spot, were trounced by the Bengals 31-7. Cincinnati, which set a club record with 584 total yards, meets the Browns this Sunday for the AFC Central title. Cleveland kept its one-game lead by edging Buffalo 21-17 behind Kevin Mack's two TDs. Dan Marino threw three TDs as the Dolphins downed the Saints 31-27. Tommy Kramer returned, and the Vikings kept their playoff hopes aglow by beating the Packers 32-6. In coach Ron Meyer's debut, the Colts finally got their first W, beating the Falcons 28-23; the Steelers beat the Lions 27-17; the Cardinals and the Eagles tied 10-10; and the Chargers blanked the Oilers 27-0, San Diego's first shutout in seven years, as Dan Fouts surpassed 40,000 career passing yards, becoming only the third QB in NFL history to reach that milestone.
GOLF—JULI INKSTER and TOM PURTZER won the Mixed Classic by two strokes over Val Skinner and Mike Hulbert with a 23-under-par 265 to earn $130,000, in Largo, Fla.
HOCKEY—St. Louis was singing the Blues in Philadelphia on Tuesday, as it does whenever it comes to the Spectrum, where it hasn't won since January 1972. Veteran Flyer Brian Propp had his first career four-goal game in the 7-1 rout by the Patrick Division leaders. Four nights later 19-year-old Boston goalie Bill Ranford, just up from the minors, stopped 42 shots to shut out the Flyers 5-0. Between those games Philadelphia suffered a 2-1 loss to the streaking Whalers, who closed in on the slumping Adams coleaders, the Nordiques and the Canadiens. The North Stars moved into first in the Norris with wins over Buffalo (5-4) and the Devils (5-3), thanks to some solid goaltending from veteran Don Beaupre. They also got the usual help from Dino Ciccarelli (page 40), who had three assists and a league-leading 26th goal against New Jersey. Minnesota's six-game win streak ended the next night against the Penguins, but surprisingly, it wasn't Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux who did the damage but John Chabot, who scored his first career hat trick in the 5-2 win. In the season's first showdown between Wayne Gretzky and Lemieux, the Great One came out on top, scoring three assists in a 4-2 Oiler win. That game was sandwiched between Edmonton's 7-1 drubbing of the Islanders and its 5-2 loss to the Flyers.
HORSE RACING—ALPHABATIM ($21.80), with Bill Shoemaker up, beat Dahar by a head in the Hollywood Turf Cup at Hollywood Park. The 5-year-old ran the 1½ miles in 2:25[4/5] and won $275,000.
INDOOR SOCCER—East leader Baltimore, off to the best start in MISL history, downed L.A. 5-3 for its seventh straight win. In the West, Tacoma made it six in a row with a 4-3 OT decision over St. Louis.
SAILING—America's Cup: In the third round of the Challenger Series, New Zealand led with 138 points, followed by French Kiss with 105 points, Stars & Stripes with 94 and America II with 92. In the Defender Series, Kookaburra III led with 44 points and runner-up Australia IV had 41 points.
TENNIS—IVAN LENDL beat Boris Becker to win the Masters in New York (page 45).
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: The 1986 Heisman Trophy, to University of Miami senior quarterback VINNY TESTAVERDE, who led the Hurricanes to an 11-0 record with 26 TD passes, tops in the nation, and completed 63.4% of his passes for 2,557 yards; and the Lombardi Award as the nation's top college football lineman, to University of Alabama senior linebacker CORNELIUS BENNETT.
FIRED: As football coach at USC, TED TOLLNER, 46, effective Jan. 2. He had a 7-4 record this season and was 26-19-1 in four years.
As football coach of the U.S. Naval Academy, GARY TRANQUILL, 46, who had a 3-8 record this season and was 20-34-1 in five seasons.
NAMED: As football coach of the University of Houston, JACK PARDEE, 50. Pardee, who coached the NFL's Chicago Bears (1975-77) and Washington Redskins (1978-80), succeeds Bill Yeoman, who resigned Nov. 11.
As football coach of the University of Texas, DAVID McWILLIAMS, 44, who has held that position at Texas Tech this season. He succeeds Fred Akers, who was fired on Nov. 29 (page 20).
As football coach of Texas Tech, SPIKE DYKES, 48, who had served for three years as the Red Raiders' defensive coordinator.
As football coach of the University of California at Berkeley, BRUCE SNYDER, 46, an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Rams for the past four years. He succeeds Joe Kapp, who was fired on Nov. 5.
PLACED ON PROBATION: By the NCAA, the UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI football program, which was barred from postseason play and television appearances during the '87 season because of recruiting violations.
RESIGNED: As football coach of Southern Methodist University, BOBBY COLLINS, 53, and as athletic director, BOB HITCH, 46, after allegations of abuses in the football program.
SUSPENDED: Indefinitely, by Wichita State University, the school's football program, because of financial problems.
DIED: Veteran boxing trainer FREDDIE BROWN, 79; after a brief illness; in New York City. In a career that spanned 60 years, Brown worked with such world champions as Rocky Marciano, Dick Tiger, Roberto Duran and Larry Holmes.