Posted: Tuesday January 23, 2007 11:44AM; Updated: Tuesday January 23, 2007 11:44AM
Phoenix The sizzling Suns had won 29 of 31 -- that's 29 of 31 -- after thrashing the T-Wolves with a 46-point third quarter on Sunday. (Observed Steve Nash, "It's nice to have a quarter like that.") On ice, the scrapping Coyotes (defenseman Travis Roche: "We haven't had any quit in us") had won 10 of 15 to climb near .500.
Boston Brady and the boys went down in Indy, the injury-ravaged Celtics (Paulie, please come back) had sunk to 12-27, the Bruins were skating in the basement of the Northeast Division, and another piece of the 2004 miracle is lost: Red Sox lifer, fan favorite and hustlin' dirt dog Trot Nixon signed to play for the Indians.
Wellses All Wellses can spend well. Blue Jays centerfielder Vernon Wells got the off-season rolling by signing a $126 million seven-year deal with Toronto; oval-shaped lefty David Wells, 43, just got a contract worth up to $7 million from San Diego; and even Kip Wells (6.50 ERA last year) got $4 million from St. Louis.
Artest The Kings forward formerly -- and still -- known for wigging out was booed and jeered relentlessly in his first game in Detroit since he slugged a fan and went into the stands there two seasons ago. Even after getting crushed 91-74, Ron-Ron didn't leave without taking another swipe, this one at the Pistons : "They're not as good as they used to be."
Couches Sofa, so good: The riveting Pats-Colts classic on Sunday and that game in Miami on Feb. 4 make this a prime time to be a potato. Meanwhile at the Dick Weber Open, southpaw bowler Jason Couch rolled a cool 258 -- nine strikes, baby! -- in the final to defend his title.
Curses At the Australian Open, Marat Safin got fined for verbal abuse of officials, Lleyton Hewitt got fined for his own audible obscenity, and Maria Sharapova assailed an ump with a very bad word. Stateside, the Hawks' Josh Smith let his fingers do the talking, flipping off fans in Charlotte.
Charley Hoffman You know this guy? Undaunted by 40-mph winds ("Brutal," he'd say), the seventh-year pro eagled the 18th en route to his first PGA win and -- yowsa! -- a $900,000 pay day at the Bob Hope Classic.
Phil Mickelson This guy you know. Undone by the high winds, the Bob Hope's main attraction drove three balls into the water, had his cap blown off (a photographer ran it down), shot a 78 and won just $15,500.