PRO BASKETBALL—The Pistons sputtered to three losses but still remained atop the Central Division. The first defeat, 114-90 at the hands of the Lakers, was the work of Los Angeles's Magic Johnson, who had a triple-double (21 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists), and a withering Laker defense, which held the Pistons to 42% shooting. Detroit looked even worse in losing 106-85 to the Jazz as only three Pistons scored in double digits. Then Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond each had 25 points to lead the Warriors to a 113-110 win over Detroit. That loss dropped the Pistons into a tie with the Bucks for the division lead. Detroit ended its losing streak with a 104-93 victory over the Kings in which seven Pistons were in double figures. The Spurs also had trouble staying in front in their division, the Midwest. Doc Rivers of the Hawks converted a 20-foot jump shot with 3.8 seconds left to overcome San Antonio 110-108. That defeat allowed the Jazz to tie the Spurs for first in the division. With Utah keeping pace, San Antonio next held the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics to one field goal in the final 6½ minutes of the third quarter in a 102-96 victory. That was the only loss of the week for Boston, which crushed the Sonics 135-102 for its ninth win in 10 games. Then Larry Bird had 43 points to lead the Celtics to a 148-140 victory over the Nuggets, and Boston survived 35 points by the Mavericks' Rolando Blackman in rolling over Dallas 112-104. The Trail Blazers retained the Pacific Division lead—and ran their road record to 8-0 for the season—as Clyde Drexler had a total of 96 points in a 98-95 victory over the Heat, a 119-110 beating of the Magic, a 127-105 rout of the Pacers and a 109-101 defeat of the Bulls, who otherwise were on the rise (page 40).
BOXING—MICHAEL CARBAJAL successfully defended his IBF light flyweight title against Leon Salazar with a knockout 45 seconds into the fourth round of their scheduled 12-round bout, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
PRO FOOTBALL—The AFC East-leading Bills clinched a playoff berth by pummeling the Colts 31-7. Buffalo kept the Colts pinned in their end of the field for the entire first half. The Dolphins also qualified for postseason play when Pete Stoyanovich kicked a 39-yard field goal at 12:32 of overtime to secure a 23-20 defeat of the Eagles. While the Bucs, the Chargers, the Cowboys, the Jets, the Lions and the Raiders were all idle, the now 1-12 Patriots took another beating, this time 24-3 at the hands of the Steelers, whose Merril Hoge ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Like Pittsburgh, the Oilers moved into a tie with the Bengals for first place in the AFC Central. Houston steamrollered the Browns 58-14 behind Lorenzo White's four touchdown runs. For the eighth time this year, the Broncos led at halftime—and still lost. The Chiefs, whose Steve DeBerg threw for three TDs, rallied to a 31-20 victory over Denver to remain a game up on the second-place Raiders in the AFC West. The Seahawks, winners of three consecutive games, beat the Packers 20-14 by stopping a Green Bay drive at their own eight-yard line with 1:25 to play. The Giants, who had lost two straight games, including a 7-3 Monday night decision to the 49ers, won the NFC East title by upending the Vikings 23-15. The New York defense had four sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. The Cardinals, too, had a good day defensively, intercepting Falcon quarterback Scott Campbell three times on their way to a 24-13 victory. The Saints moved back into the playoff hunt with a 24-20 win over the struggling Rams. New Orleans rookie running back Gill Fenerty had a 60-yard touchdown run. In other games, the NFC West-champion Niners defeated the Bengals 20-17 in OT, and the Redskins knocked off the NFC Central-leading Bears 10-9.
HOCKEY—The Rangers still held the top spot in the Patrick Division despite a dismal week that saw them drop three straight games. Phil Bourque had his first hat trick in the NHL, and Mark Recchi had five assists as the Penguins routed New York 9-4. Next, the Flames scorched the Rangers 4-1; this time it was Theoren Fleury getting his first NHL hat trick. New York's third loss was to the Oilers by a score of 4-3. The Kings, who were in sole possession of the Smythe Division lead until Calgary passed them at week's end, didn't fare much better than the Rangers. Danton Cole scored with 3:06 left in regulation to lift the Jets into a 3-3 tie with Los Angeles. In the teams' second meeting of the week, the Kings came from behind to gain a 4-4 tie on a Luc Robitaille power-play goal midway through the third period. That draw ran L.A.'s winless streak to six. The Bruins had a difficult week, too. The Canadiens scored two power-play goals to overcome Boston 6-4. Montreal completed a sweep of the home-and-home series by bombing Bruin goaltender Andy Moog with three goals on only seven first-period shots. The final score, a 7-1 shellacking, allowed the Canadiens to briefly take the Adams Division lead from Boston. The Black-hawks, tops in the Norris Division, had an easier time of it. Steve Larmer and Michel Goulet had two goals apiece in a 5-2 Chicago win over the Islanders, and Ed Belfour saved 27 shots in a 2-1 defeat of the Maple Leafs.
HORSE RACING—BEST PAL ($4.20), with Jose Santos in the saddle, won the Hollywood Futurity by one length over General Meeting. The 2-year-old gelding ran the mile at Hollywood Park in 1:35[2/5] and earned $495,000.
RODEO—TY MURRAY won the all-around championship and $213,772 at the National Finals in Las Vegas.
SKIING—In the second week of the World Cup season, LEONHARD STOCK of Austria won the men's downhill in Val-d'Isère, France. In women's competition, KATRIN GUTENSOHN-KNOPF of Germany won the downhill and PETRA KRONBERGER of Austria won the Super G in Altenmarkt, Austria. She's the first woman to have wins in all five World Cup events.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: By the NHL, expansion franchises to TAMPA and OTTAWA to begin play in the 1992-93 season.
DISMISSED: As coach of the New York Knicks, STU JACKSON, 35, who guided them to a 45-37 record last season. This year the Knicks were off to a 7-8 record. Former Phoenix Sun and Dallas Maverick coach JOHN MacLEOD, 53, replaced Jackson.
As coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, RAY PERKINS, 49, whose record in slightly less than four seasons with the Bucs was 19-41. RICHARD WILLIAMSON, 49, who had been one of Perkins's assistants, was named to succeed him on an interim basis.
NAMED: As football coach, at Mississippi State, JACKIE SHERRILL, 47, who last coached al Texas A&M in 1988; at Purdue, JIM COLLETTO, 46, who for the last three years was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Ohio State, replacing FRED AKERS, 52, who had resigned on Nov. 29; at Oregon State, JERRY PETTIBONE, 51, who was the coach at Northern Illinois the previous six years; at Kent State, PETE CORDELLI JR., 37, quarterback coach at Notre Dame since 1986, who succeeds DICK CRUM, 56, whose contract was not renewed after he had guided the Golden Flashes to a 7-26 record over the past three seasons; and at Bowling Green. GARY BLACKNEY, 47, formerly an assistant at Ohio State. He replaced MOE ANKNEY, 48, who coached the Falcons to a 20-31-2 mark in five years.
RETAINED: As captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, TOM GORMAN, 44, whose job was rumored to have been in jeopardy before the U.S. won the Cup by beating Australia on Dec. 1.
DIED: CLINT THOMAS, 94, who played second base and outfield for 17 years (1921-38) in the Negro leagues; after a long illness: in Charleston, W.Va. A lifetime .300 hitter, Thomas played centerfield for the New York Black Yankees in the 1930s and was often called "the black Joe DiMaggio."