PRO BASKETBALL—In the Atlantic, the division-leading Celtics continued to roll by defeating the Kings 119-102, the Sonics 104-102 and the Bulls 113-99, giving them five straight wins. In the Kings game, four Celts scored in double figures, including Kevin McHale with 20, the 28th consecutive game in which he had netted 20 or more points. That string was broken the next night when he came up three short against the Sonics. The 76ers, who had lost eight of their last 10, got back on track as they beat the Nuggets 111-108 and the Jazz 104-99. Julius Erving, in his final regular-season appearance in Denver, went out in style when he blocked a Fat Lever layup that would have tied the game with six seconds on the clock. In the Central, the Hawks kept the division lead with one loss, to the Cavaliers 107-106, and two victories, over the Bullets 118-101 and Knicks 114-92. That loss to the Cavs ended the Knicks' four-game winning streak. The Pistons and Bucks played leapfrog for second place in the Central, with the Pistons winning two of three. The Bucks took two of four; sixth man Ricky Pierce was high-scorer in the wins, both over the Cavs. Pierce continued to lead the league in scoring off the bench, averaging 20.3 points and 30.7 minutes per game. In the Midwest, the Mavericks, coming off a one-week layoff, beat the Sonics 117-110 and the Spurs 106-89 to stay on top. In the Pacific, the Trailblazers, who have won 14 of then-last 18 games, didn't gain any ground on the first-place Lakers, who pummeled Portland 140-104. The next night the Lakers whipped the Suns 155-118, tying a 17-year-old NBA record for most points scored in a half (89), and then on Sunday defeated the Jazz 121-113. The Warriors started the new year with a winning record for the first time since the 1976-77 season. In Indiana on Friday, Pacer rookie Chuck Person and Steve Stipanovich each scored 29 points to help down the Clippers 116-106 and hand coach Jack Ramsay his 800th career victory. Ramsay is only the second coach in NBA history to reach that milestone, joining Red Auerbach, who retired in 1966 with 938 wins.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—In bowl games OKLAHOMA peeled Arkansas 42-8 in the Orange; ARIZONA STATE cut Michigan 22-15 in the Rose; NEBRASKA soured LSU 30-15 in the Sugar; OHIO STATE picked Texas A & M 28-12 in the COTTON; AUBURN squeezed USC 16-7 in the Citrus; UCLA caged Brigham Young 31-10 in the Freedom; IOWA slipped by San Diego State 39-38 in the Holiday; FLORIDA STATE overcame Indiana 27-13 in the All-American; BAYLOR topped Colorado 21-9 in the Bluebonnet; VIRGINIA TECH skinned N.C. State 25-24 in the Peach; and PENN STATE danced to a 14-10 win over Miami in the Fiesta (page 12).
PRO FOOTBALL—In the AFC playoffs the Browns edged the Jets 23-20 in double overtime on a 27-yard field goal by Mark Moseley. Cleveland quarterback Bernie Kosar tied a playoff record with 33 completions, and set playoff records with 64 pass attempts and 489 yards (page 26). In the other AFC semifinal game John Elway of the Broncos threw for 257 yards to beat the Patriots 22-17 (page 29). In the NFC semis Jay Schroeder threw two TD passes to lead the Redskins past the Super Bowl champion Bears 27-13 (page 18). And the Giants rolled over the 49ers 49-3, powered by Phil Simms, who passed for four TDs (page 22).
HOCKEY—The Norris Division is so tight that the North Stars moved from first place on Wednesday, following a 5-2 win over the Whalers, to the cellar on Saturday, following back-to-back losses (2-1, 3-2) to the Red Wings. Though only four points separated first place and last, the Red Wings, who started the week with a 6-4 win over Calgary, were alone on top, the first time in 21 years that Detroit held that spot this late in the season. With eight wins on the road, the Red Wings have already exceeded the total road wins they had all last season. In the Patrick, the division-leading Flyers started the week by dropping a 4-1 decision to the Kings, after which they downed the Capitals by the same score to snap a four-game losing streak. Tim Kerr had his 32nd goal of the season in that Philadelphia victory. In the Adams, the Whalers topped Washington 3-1 with help from Dean Evason, who scored a goal against his former teammates, and beat the Maple Leafs 8-3. Sandwiched between those games were losses to the North Stars 5-2 and red-hot Blackhawks 3-2, Hartford's first back-to-back losses of the season. The Whalers continued to lead the division, two points ahead of Montreal, which lost the first of a home-and-home series to the Nordiques 6-3, took the second 4-1, then dropped a 6-3 decision to the Penguins. In the Smythe, the Oilers topped the Canucks 7-3, running Vancouver's winless streak against Edmonton to 13. For the Oilers, Jeff Beukeboom scored his first NHL goal, and Wayne Gretzky scored his 519th and 520th, moving the Great One past Guy Lafleur into 10th place on the league's alltime scoring list. Four nights later Edmonton buried the Kings 8-1, powered by Paul Coffey's two goals. And in the only game played on New Year's Day, the Capitals edged the Penguins 4-3 in overtime to extend their unbeaten OT streak to 33. The Bruins hold the record with 37, set from December 1934 to November 1938.
INDOOR SOCCER—Tacoma lost to Wichita 7-3 but maintained its hold on the lead in the West, while Baltimore lost to Cleveland 4-3 and Minnesota 4-2 and shared the top spot in the East with Dallas and Cleveland. The 0-13 New York Express, looking to turn things around, signed former New York Arrows forward Fred Grgurev and defender Andranik Eskandarian.
SAILING—America's Cup: The best-of-seven challenger semifinals concluded with 4-0 sweeps by Stars & Stripes over USA and New Zealand over French Kiss. The best-of-seven challenger finals begin on Jan. 13. In the defender semifinals Kookaburra III reached 77 points and clinched a berth in the finals. She will face either Australia IV, with 71 points, or Kookaburra II, with 64 points. The fourth semifinalist, Steak 'N Kidney, was dismissed from the competition on Saturday because the boat had no chance of making the defender finals, which begin on Jan. 14 (page 86).
SKIING—FRANZ HEINZER of Switzerland won a World Cup men's downhill race in Laax, Switzerland. In Maribor, Yugoslavia, CAMILLA NILSSON of Sweden won a World Cup women's slalom race.
MILEPOSTS—NAMED: As coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, RAY PERKINS, 45, who had coached at the University of Alabama. Perkins's 1983-86 record with the Tide was 32-15-1, including 10-3 this season. He succeeds Leeman Bennett, who was fired by the Bucs on Dec. 29.
As football coach of Alabama, BILL CURRY, 44, whose seven-season record as head coach at Georgia Tech was 31-43-4. STEVE SLOAN, 42, was named athletic director; a former 'Bama quarterback, his 14-year coaching record at Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Mississippi and Duke was 68-86-3. As football coach at USC, LARRY SMITH, 47, who had been coach at Arizona for the past seven years. Smith, whose 1980-86 record with the Wildcats was 48-28-3, succeeds Ted Tollner, who was fired.
TRADED: By the Washington Capitals, center BOBBY CARPENTER, 23, to the New York Rangers for forwards MIKE RIDLEY, 23, KELLY MILLER, 23, and BOB CRAWFORD, 27.