PRO BASKETBALL—In the Pacific, the division-leading Lakers cracked the Nuggets 147-109 for their eighth straight win and then dropped their first back-to-back games of the season with a 107-101 loss to the Jazz—Utah guard John Stockton set a franchise record with 22 assists—and a 124-109 loss to the Warriors. L.A. got back on track the next night in a 111-109 squeaker against the Spurs. In the Atlantic, with Larry Bird sidelined by a back injury, Kevin McHale picked up the slack for the Celtics and netted 28 in a 119-92 win over the Bucks. Rookie Conner Henry, signed to a 10-day contract on New Year's Day by the Celts, made his NBA debut in that game and sank three three-pointers, one on his first shot. Boston, paced by Robert Parish with 28 points and a season-high 25 rebounds, then made it seven victories in a row with a 109-99 decision over the Kings. The Celts' streak ended the next night in a 118-101 loss to the Pistons. Detroit, which has won 12 of its last 14, moved past Milwaukee into second place in the Central, 1½ games behind division-leading Atlanta. The Hawks dropped a pair—to the Knicks 118-86 (New York has won seven of its last nine) and to Philadelphia 109-102—but rebounded by whipping the Cavaliers 129-104. In the Midwest, second-place Utah gained two games on the slumping Mavericks with victories over the Lakers and Pacers (105-96) before losing to the Sonics 127-111. Dallas lost to the Pacers 144-135, Nuggets 116-113 and Rockets 106-96, and barely salvaged a win against last-place San Antonio 108-103. Chicago's Michael Jordan, whose 38-point average leads the league, had another above-average night in a 121-117 defeat of the Trail Blazers. He scored 53 points.
BOBSLED—RALPH PICHLER of Switzerland teamed with countryman CELEST POLTERA to win the world two-man title, in St. Moritz.
BOWLING—DEL BALLARD JR. of Richardson, Texas, won $100,000 and the PBA U.S. Open by beating Pete Weber 247-209, in Tacoma, Wash.
BOXING—PATRIZIO OLIVA of Italy retained his WBA junior welterweight title with a unanimous 15-round decision over Rodolfo Gonzalez of Mexico, in Agrigento, Sicily.
PRO FOOTBALL—In the AFC Championship game, the Broncos defeated the Browns 23-20 in overtime (page 14), and in the NFC Championship game, the Giants shut out the Redskins 17-0 (page 21).
GOLF—MAC O'GRADY shot a 10-under-par 278 to beat Rick Fehr by a stroke and win the Tournament of Champions and $90,000, in Carlsbad, Calif. (page 50).
HOCKEY—The season reached the halfway point, and among the Flyers, Canadiens and Oilers—three division leaders used to life at the top—only Philadelphia had a firm grip on first. In the Norris, where the lead changed almost daily (page 36), at week's end Minnesota, Chicago, and Detroit shared the No. 1 spot. In the Patrick, the Flyers went 3-0-1, beating the Devils 4-0, the Rangers 6-3 and the Bruins 5-4. In the Adams, the Canadiens moved back into first—passing the Whalers, who lost three straight—with wins over the Bruins 2-1 and the Nordiques 5-2. Between those victories Montreal suffered a 3-2 OT loss to the Canucks. In the Smythe, five points separate the Oilers and the Flames. Edmonton beat Calgary for the first time this season on Sunday, 5-3. Earlier, Edmonton was pummeled by the Kings 6-1. L.A. has gotten some sparkling performances from rookies Luc Robitaille (26 goals) and Jimmy Carson, whose nine goals and nine assists in 13 games earned him December's Rookie of the Month honors.
INDOOR SOCCER—In the East, the Dallas Sidekicks beat Kansas City 4-3 and the New York Express 7-2 to set a club record of six straight wins. Dallas shares the top spot with Cleveland, which defeated St. Louis 6-5 and Kansas City 9-7. In the West, Tacoma extended its lead by whipping the Blast 6-1. And the New York Express finally broke out of an 0-13 slump with wins over Chicago 6-4 and Kansas City 8-4.
SAILING—America's Cup: The defender semifinals concluded, with Kookaburra III finishing first with 83 points. She faces Australia IV (77 points) in the best-of-nine finals this week.
SKIING—In World Cup competition, TAMARA McKINNEY of the U.S. won a slalom race in Mellau, Austria, and in nearby Schwarzenberg, BEATRICE GAFNER of Switzerland was the winner of the downhill. PIRMIN ZURBRIGGEN of Switzerland won a men's World Cup downhill race, and MARKUS WASMATER of West Germany was a giant slalom winner, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, West Germany.
SPEED SKATING—In Davos, Switzerland, ANDREA EHRIG of East Germany won a World Cup women's 1,500-meter race, and BONNIE BLAIR of the U.S. was the 500-meter winner. In Innsbruck, Austria, HEIN VERGEER of the Netherlands won a World Cup men's 1,500-meter race; compatriot LEO VISSER was the 5,000-meter winner.
MILEPOSTS—EXPELLED: By the NHL, pending investigation, Los Angeles Kings head coach PAT QUINN, 43, for signing a contract with the Vancouver Canucks while still under contract to the Kings. Quinn, who was hired by the Canucks as president and general manager for the 1987-88 season, is the first coach in league history to be expelled.
FIRED: As football coach of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, JOHN MACKOVIC, 43, who had a 10-7 record this season but was 30-35 in his four years with the team. He will be succeeded by FRANK GANSZ, 48, who was an assistant coach with the Chiefs last season and in 1981-82.
NAMED: As football coach of Georgia Tech, BOBBY ROSS, 50, who had been coach at the University of Maryland for the past five years, where his record was 39-19-1. After resigning on Dec. 1, Ross was hired as an assistant coach for the NFL's Buffalo Bills but was released from his contract two weeks later to take the job at Georgia Tech. He succeeds Bill Curry, who was hired as head coach at Alabama. As football coach at Washington State, DENNIS ERICKSON, 39, who had held that position at Wyoming for the past year. Erickson, whose record with the Cowboys was 6-6, succeeds Jim Walden, who resigned. PAUL ROACH, 59, Wyoming's athletic director and former assistant coach, will take over for Erickson. As football coach at Duke, former Heisman Trophy winner STEVE SPURRIER, 41. Spurrier, who played for the San Francisco 49ers (1967-75) and the Tampa Bay Bucs (1976), is a former coach of the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits. He succeeds Steve Sloan, who took the athletic director's job at Alabama.
As winners of horse racing's Eclipse Awards for 1986: 2-year-old colt, CAPOTE; 2-year-old filly, BRAVE RAJ; 3-year-old colt, SNOW CHIEF; 3-year-old filly, TIFFANY LASS; older male horse, TURKOMAN; older filly/mare, LADY'S SECRET; male turf horse, MANILA; female turf horse, ESTRAPADE; sprinter, SMILE; steeplechaser, FLATTERER; owners, EUGENE V. and JOYCE KLEIN; trainer, D. WAYNE LUKAS; jockey, PAT DAY; apprentice jockey, ALLEN STACY; and breeder, PAUL MELLON.