? Trail Blazers at Lakers
NBC 8:30 PM
Take a closer look at last week's cover of SI. There's Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal with a determined visage as he drives toward the hoop, displaying his tongue, Jordan-style. An anonymous defender is committing a blatant Hack-a- Shaq, a previously useful tactic against L.A. that hasn't knocked the Lakers off stride this season. Winners of 17 of 18 through Sunday, Los Angeles (32-6) hosts this season's silver-medal squad, Portland (28-9), in an unofficial ex-Bulls reunion pitting Lakers coach Phil Jackson and guard Ron Harper against Trail Blazers forward Scottie Pippen. Two nights later the L.A. Express rolls into Utah (TBS, 8 p.m.).
?Auburn at Tennessee
ESPN 9 PM
Tigers coach Cliff Ellis understands that while Auburn (15-1 through Sunday) is ranked No. 4, fans still are not satisfied. "It's like only getting one piece of chicken," says Ellis, "when you really wanted three or four." We hear you, Cliff. How about when they forget to include the spork with the mashed potatoes? SI's preseason top pick, Auburn has yet to display their cock-of-the-walk swagger. Against the Vols (15-2, No. 12) in Knoxville, Ellis's rooster—uh, roster—will be tested.
?Maple Leafs at Red Wings
ESPN2 7:30 PM
These Wings need no deicing. When Detroit staged its SuperSkills competition last week, centers Darryl Laplante and Sergei Fedorov circled the ice (in 13.59 and 13.68 seconds, respectively) faster than any other NHL players this season. Laplante sheepishly attributed his speed to childhood figure skating lessons, adding with a frown, "I had to take piano lessons, too." Tonight West power Detroit hosts Toronto, the most exciting team in the East (page 74).
?Australian Open Women's Final
ESPN 9:30 PM
One gal pal's New Year's resolution: "All pretty all the time." Another resolves: "More bacon." Suddenly, every woman I know wants to be Kyra Sedgwick. Will the actress from Singles watch—live from Melbourne!—the first women's Grand Slam final of the century? At tournament's opening on Monday, top seed Martina Hingis was resolved to win her fourth consecutive Aussie Open, but No. 3 Serena Williams (whose older sis, Venus, pulled out, citing tendinitis in her left wrist) hoped this would be her first of two titles Down Under this year—the second coming next September in the Olympics.
?AFC and NFC Championship Games
CBS 12:35 PM; FOX 4:15 PM
Entering the playoffs, announcers far and wide proclaimed the Rams a "team of destiny." Then came the Music City Miracle, and the Titans became the team of destiny. The Buccaneers inherited the team-of-destiny mantle after Warrick Dunn scooped up a fumble and ran for a crucial first down in the fourth quarter last Saturday in Tampa Bay's 14-13 win over Washington. It's as if the entire NFL postseason is a fate accompli. Today, the Titans visit quarterback Mark Brunell (above) and the Jaguars for the AFC crown; then the Bucs are destined to play the domestanding Rams for the NFC championship.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.