PRO BASKETBALL—The Clippers, who had lost 21 of 24 games against the Lakers since the teams became crosstown rivals in 1984, couldn't change that tendency in their first meeting of this season, a 111-102 victory for the Pacific Division-leading Lakers. But Clipper center Benoit Benjamin did come out ahead in a third-quarter fight with Laker substitute center Mark McNamara; McNamara, who started the scuffle, was fined $2,500 by the NBA, while Benjamin had to fork over $1,500 for retaliating. Jazz coach Frank Layden resigned after leading Utah to an 11-6 start and first place in the Midwest Division, citing the pressures of coaching in the NBA. In seven seasons at the helm, he had a 277-294 record. Utah lost 97-89 to the Mavericks in the debut of Jerry Sloan, one of Layden's erstwhile assistants, as the Jazz coach, but bounced back to beat the Clippers 110-102. By that time, though, the Nuggets stood first in the Midwest despite a 124-123 overtime loss to the Knicks. New York guard Mark Jackson scored 22 points in that game and 42 more in wins over the Bucks and Kings that lifted the Knicks to first place in the Atlantic Division. The Bucks demolished Detroit 109-84, but nobody else could put a dent in the Pistons, who beat the Bulls (102-89), Hawks (92-82) and 76ers (106-100). With 76 points in those wins, Isiah Thomas paced Detroit, which held on to the Central Division lead. The hapless Heat lost 111-88 to Chicago and fell to 0-16, a record for defeats at the start of a season (page 54).
PRO FOOTBALL—Tight end Mark Bavaro of the NFC East-leading Giants came out of a season-long slump to catch touchdown passes of 12 and 24 yards in a 28-12 defeat of the Chiefs that solidified New York's chances for a playoff berth. The Eagles remained a game behind the Giants and eliminated the Cardinals from playoff contention when they beat Phoenix 23-17, while the 3-12 Cowboys spoiled the Redskins' postseason hopes with a 24-17 upset of Washington in which Dallas's Steve Pelluer threw TD passes of 12, 61 and 24 yards to rookie wideout Michael Irvin. The Vikings suffered an 18-6 Packer upset that ruined Minnesota's shot at the NFC Central title and allowed the Bears to clinch it on a 32-yard field goal by Kevin Butler with four seconds left in a 13-12 triumph over the Lions. The Patriots' Jason Staurovsky made a 27-yard field goal 3:08 into the overtime of New England's 10-7 defeat of the Buccaneers, and that win, combined with a 34-16 Jets upset of the Colts, gave the Pats sole possession of second place in the AFC East. The Raiders' 37-21 loss to the AFC East-champion Bills left L.A. in a second-place tie in the AFC West with the Broncos, who fell 42-14 to the division-leading Seahawks. The Chargers defeated the Steelers 20-14, while the Oilers' Mike Rozier scored on runs of 13, 15 and 3 yards in Houston's 41-6 drubbing of the Bengals, which cut Cincinnati's lead in the AFC Central to a game. The Rams broke their four-game losing streak with a 23-3 Monday-night defeat of the Bears and followed that up with a 22-7 rout of the Falcons, in which L.A.'s Jim Everett completed 24 of 33 passes for 303 yards and a TD. The wins lifted the Rams into a tie for second place in the NFC West with the Saints, who lost 30-17 to the first-place 49ers (page 36).
HOCKEY—The Penguins' Mario Lemieux scored his 27th and 28th goals of the season 39 seconds apart in the third period as Pittsburgh rallied to tie the Devils 4-4 and retain a share of first place with the Rangers in the Patrick Division. The Canadiens, losers only once in their last 14 games through week's end, extended their Adams Division lead to 10 points; their 5-1 defeat of the Blues ended St. Louis goalie Greg Millen's shutout streak at three. The Red Wings led the Norris Division by eight points, while in the Smythe the first-place Flames held a seven-point lead over the Kings (page 102).
INDOOR SOCCER—First-place Baltimore's 4-1 win over San Diego was the second loss of the week for the Sockers, last season's champions. San Diego had fallen into last place the night before when Wichita midfielder Dale Ervine scored at 1:56 of overtime to give the Wings a 3-2 victory over the Sockers.
SKIING—ALBERTO TOMBA, the Italian double Olympic gold medalist who had failed to finish his two previous races, predicted World War III would break out in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, the site of Sunday's World Cup slalom, if he didn't win the race. So he won. Elsewhere in Italy, MARC GIRARDELLI of Luxembourg won a slalom in Sestriere, and PETER MUELLER of Switzerland and HELMUT HOEFLEHNER of Austria won downhills in Val Gardena.
MILEPOSTS—AWARDED: To Auburn senior defensive tackle TRACY ROCKER, 22, the Outland Trophy, as the nation's top college interior lineman, and the Lombardi Award, which goes to the best lineman or linebacker.
FIRED: As football coach at Stanford, JACK ELWAY, 57, who had led the Cardinal to a 25-29-2 record since 1984.
As New York Islander coach, TERRY SIMPSON, 45, after the team's eighth straight loss in a 7-18-2 start. Simpson was replaced by the man he succeeded after the 1985-86 season, Al Arbour.
RESIGNED: As University of Cincinnati football coach, DAVE CURREY, 45, who led the Bearcats to a 19-36 record in five years; as football coach at VMI, EDDIE WILLIAMSON, 37, who guided the Keydets to a 10-33-1 record in four seasons.
SIGNED: Twenty-two free-agent baseball players by major league teams during the week of the winter meetings, notably, former Houston Astros pitcher NOLAN RYAN, 41, by the Texas Rangers to a minimum one-year contract worth at least $2 million; and pitcher BRUCE HURST, 30, by the San Diego Padres for $5.25 million over three seasons (page 50).