PRO BASKETBALL—With a career-high 35 points from forward Armon Gilliam, the Suns routed the Rockets 124-107. Then Phoenix concentrated on improving its woeful rebounding and pulled down 64 as it rocked Houston again, 110-95. Sun guard Kevin Johnson scored 10 of his career-high 41 points in the overtime of a 114-106 defeat of the Clippers, and in one week Phoenix had bounced from a tie for fifth to a tie for second behind the 12-3 Lakers in the Pacific Division. The expansion Hornets stung the expansion Heat 99-84 in the first meeting of this season's newcomers. In its next two games, winless Miami came close to victory, losing 105-101 in the last minute to the Spurs and 105-102 to the Trail Blazers. The Nuggets, who began the week in third place, swapped positions with the Mavericks, who had been in first, as Alex English scored 92 points in three Denver wins. The Pistons got 93 points from Isiah Thomas during a 3-1 week that left Detroit atop the Central Division, while Charles Barkley averaged 33.5 points and 16.5 rebounds in four games for the 76ers, who kept their Atlantic Division lead (page 20).
BOWLING—DAVE FERRARO beat Walter Ray Williams Jr. 212-195 in the final to win a PBA event and $23,000, in Taylor, Mich.
PRO FOOTBALL—The Bengals, leaders in the AFC Central, clinched a playoff berth with a 27-10 victory over the Chargers; Cincinnati's Ickey Woods led the way with 141 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Chiefs rookie James Saxon ruined the Jets' playoff hopes with a one-foot TD run with two seconds left that gave Kansas City a 38-34 win. Buccaneer quarterback Vinny Testaverde ran four yards for a touchdown and had his second interception-free game of the season as Tampa Bay upset the AFC East-champion Bills 10-5. The Colts' Eric Dickerson gained 169 yards on 31 carries against the Dolphins in a 31-28 Indianapolis win that left the 8-6 Colts in contention for a playoff berth. The 2-12 Cowboys drew 17 penalties, including a tripping call that wiped out a 40-yard Roger Ruzek field goal that would have tied the score with 1:32 to play. Dallas fell 24-21 to the Browns. The victory left Cleveland in a tie for second in the AFC Central with the Oilers, who were victims of a 37-34 upset by the Steelers. The Vikings routed the Saints 45-3 as Wade Wilson passed for 215 yards and three touchdowns, including 15- and 68-yarders to Hassan Jones. The loss dropped New Orleans into a tie for first in the NFC West with the 49ers, 13-3 victors over the Falcons. In the NFC Central, where the pacesetting Bears were idle, the Lions' Devon Mitchell had the league's longest interception return of the season, 90 yards, in Detroit's 30-14 victory over the Packers. The Giants fattened a 17-7 halftime lead over Phoenix with three one-yard TD runs by former Cardinal Ottis Anderson and a four-yarder by Joe Morris to beat the Cardinals 44-7. That result fortified the NFC East-leading Giants' playoff hopes and left the 7-7 Cardinals with a slim chance for a playoff berth, like the 7-7 Redskins, who defeated the Eagles 20-19. Washington's Doug Williams guided a 15-play, 64-yard drive that set up Chip Lohmiller's 44-yard winning field goal with one second left. An erratic week for Seattle put the Broncos, Raiders and Seahawks back into a deadlock for the AFC West lead. The Seattle offense that gained 459 yards in a 35-27 defeat of the Raiders on Monday produced only two first downs and 65 yards in a 13-7 loss to the Patriots Sunday. Against Denver, the Raiders led by 21 in the third quarter but barely held on to beat the Broncos 21-20 (page 26).
HOCKEY—The North Stars broke their season-long lease on the Norris Division cellar with a 5-2 defeat of the Blackhawks, who thus were left alone in last place. Minnesota then sprinted to its fourth and fifth straight wins, over the Bruins (4-1) and the Whalers (4-2). The streak left the North Stars 10 points behind the first-place Red Wings, who lost for the third time in five games when the Nordiques scored four goals in the third period, including the game-winner by Gaetan Duchesne at 17:47, to overcome a 3-2 deficit and win 6-4. The Adams Division-leading Canadiens defeated the Sabres when Montreal center Guy Carbonneau scored his 10th goal of the season with 38 seconds left in overtime for a 3-2 victory. Calgary increased its lead in the Smythe to six points with a 6-3 win over the Jets, and the Penguins tied the Rangers for first place in the Patrick with a 2-0-1 week.
INDOOR SOCCER—Tacoma suffered its first loss in five games as Kansas City forward Kia got a hat trick and assisted on the other goals in the Comets' 5-4 defeat of the Stars. Baltimore forward Domenic Mobilio scored in each of the first three quarters of the first-place Blast's 6-2 victory over Los Angeles.
SKIING—With victories in France by PIRMIN ZURBRIGGEN in a men's giant slalom (Val Thorens), VRENI SCHNEIDER in a women's GS (Les Menuires) and MICHELA FIGINI in a women's downhill (Val d'Isère), the Swiss ran their record to four wins in five World Cup races thus far.
SOCCER—INDIANA beat Howard 1-0 to win the men's NCAA championship in Bloomington, Ind.
TENNIS—BORIS BECKER defeated Ivan Lendl 5-7, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 in the final to win the Masters and $135,000, in New York (page 76).
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: The 1988 Heisman Trophy, to Oklahoma State junior tailback BARRY SANDERS (page 46); and the Butkus Award, for the nation's top college linebacker, to Alabama senior DERRICK THOMAS, who has had 88 solo tackles, including 27 sacks, for the 8-3 Crimson Tide this season.
The Jesse Owens Award as America's foremost track and field athlete of 1988, sprinter FLORENCE GRIFFITH JOYNER, 28, who won three gold medals and a silver at the Summer Olympics.
FIRED: As football coach at Temple, BRUCE ARIANS, 36, who guided the Owls to a 27-39 record in six seasons (page 82).
RESIGNED: As football coach at Colorado State, LEON FULLER, 50, who had a 25-55 record in seven seasons; as Columbia football coach, LARRY McELREAVY, 42, who this season directed the Lions to their first victory in five years and their best record in 10 (2-8).
SUSPENDED: For 30 days by the NFL for their second substance-abuse-policy violations, Dallas Cowboys defensive back VICTOR SCOTT and Miami Dolphins wide receiver MARK DUPER (page 15); for one game by the NFL, Dolphin linebacker MARK BROWN, for hitting New York Jets quarterback Pat Ryan in the head after the ball was thrown, during a game on Nov. 27.
TRADED: By the Baltimore Orioles, first baseman EDDIE MURRAY, 32, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitchers BRIAN HOLTON, 29, and KEN HOWELL, 28, and a minor league player.
By the Philadelphia Flyers, center PETER ZEZEL, 23, to the St. Louis Blues for center MIKE BULLARD, 27 (page 82).
DIED: Former major league outfielder WALLY BERGER, 83, in Redondo Beach, Calif. Berger's 38 home runs for the 1930 Boston Braves was the rookie record until Mark McGwire hit 49 for the 1987 Oakland A's. Berger batted .300 with 242 homers and 898 RBIs over 11 years in the National League.