PRO BASKETBALL—New Jersey Guard Otis Bird-song and Dallas Forward Mark Aguirre each sang themselves a winning rendition of Happy Birthday to You. Birdsong celebrated turning 28 with 10 fourth-quarter points to lead the Nets past Philadelphia 100-93. Aguirre reached 24 with a 25-footer at the buzzer and 40 points overall to pace the Midwest Division-leading Mavs past Golden State 126-123 in overtime. The Sixers held on to the Atlantic Division lead with a 97-87 win over Central Division-leading Milwaukee. The loss snapped a seven-game Bucks streak. Boston stayed on Philly's heels by winning four games but lost Forward Larry Bird for an undetermined time when he strained ligaments in his right knee in a 119-90 rout of Denver. Los Angeles remained atop the Pacific Division despite a 109-98 loss to New York.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL—AIR FORCE defeated Mississippi 9-3 to win the Independence Bowl in Shreve-port, La.
North Dakota State whipped Central State of Ohio 41-21 in the Palm Bowl, the NCAA Division II title game.
PRO FOOTBALL—Pittsburgh, which had whipped the New York Jets 34-7 on Saturday (page 18), had to wait a day to clinch the AFC Central title. The helping hand came from, believe it or not, hapless Houston, which upset Cleveland 34-27. The Oilers grabbed a 24-6 second-quarter lead by capitalizing on two Browns turnovers and a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by rookie Steve Brown. But Houston needed Oliver Luck's 43-yard touchdown pass to Tim Smith with 6:17 left to play for the victory. Denver clinched an AFC wild-card playoff berth with a 21-19 comeback victory over Baltimore. John Elway threw for three fourth-quarter TDs to bring the 9-6 Broncos back from a 19-0 deficit. Seattle, 8-7, remained in the driver's seat for the other AFC wild-card slot with a 17-12 win over the New York Giants. Cleveland, New England and Buffalo, also 8-7, are in contention as well. The Patriots shocked the Los Angeles Rams 21-7 in Anaheim, Fullback Mosi Tatupu rushing for all three New England TDs. The Bills lost 23-10 to San Francisco, which at 9-6 moved a game ahead of the Rams and the Saints in the NFC West. New Orleans held onto its playoff hopes with a 20-17 overtime win against Philadelphia. Morten Andersen kicked field goals of 52 and 50 yards; the second, with 5:30 gone in overtime, was the game-winner. Detroit lost to Cincinnati 17-9 but remained atop the NFC Central by virtue of its 13-2 win over Minnesota Monday night. The Bengals' defense, tops in the league, held Lion Halfback Billy Sims to 80 yards, snapping his string of 100-yard games at four. San Diego edged Kansas City 41-38, though Chief Quarterback Bill Kenney, who threw for 411 yards, became the fourth man in league history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season. St. Louis upset the AFC West champion Raiders 34-24; Miami, the AFC East winner, beat Atlanta 31-24; Chicago defeated Minnesota 19-13; and Washington, 13-2, took the NFC East lead by blowing out Dallas 31-10 (page 12).
HOCKEY—The Islanders completed a successful Western road swing with a 4-2 victory over Norris Division-leading Minnesota. But the win, which moved New York into first in the Patrick Division, wasn't as spectacular a performance for the Islanders as their 4-4 tie in Los Angeles. The Kings led 3-0 after two periods, but New York scored three goals in the final seven minutes to salvage a draw—and a point in the standings. Edmonton, the Smythe Division leader, went the Isles one point better. The Oilers spotted Vancouver a 4-0 lead and then came back to win 5-4, with Right Wing Willy Lindstrom scoring twice. The Canucks exacted revenge later in the week by beating Edmonton 3-2 behind the 26 saves of rookie Goalie Frank Caprice, who began the week with the minor league Fredericton ( New Brunswick) Express. In an Atlantic Division showdown, Buffalo, led by Defenseman Phil Housley's goal and assist, beat the Bruins 4-2. And Quebec stayed close by winning a club-record seventh straight 6-4 at Los Angeles. But the Bruins held on to a one-point lead in the division by defeating Winnipeg 4-2.
HORSE RACING—JOHN HENRY ($5.00), Chris McCarron up, beat Zalataia by half a length to win the $500,000 Hollywood Turf Cup at Hollywood Park. The 8-year-old gelding ran the 1? miles in 2:16[3/5] and became the first thoroughbred to win more than $4 million.
COLLEGE SOCCER—INDIANA defeated Columbia 1-0 in two overtimes to win the NCAA championship (page 20).
INDOOR SOCCER—MISL: In a battle for the Western Division lead, Forward Gordon Hill scored a double hat trick—that's six goals—in leading Kansas City past St. Louis 8-7 before 16,329 Checkerdome fans. East-leading Cleveland ran its winning streak to six games with a 7-3 triumph at New York.
NASL: Tampa Bay continued to walk in the footsteps of its NFL townsmen. The Rowdies dropped to 0-6 with losses to San Diego (7-3) and Chicago (5-4). The Sting moved into first with a 10-5 win over Tulsa.
TENNIS—MATS WILANDER trounced top-seeded Ivan Lendl 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to win the men's singles title at the Australian Open in Melbourne. MARTINA NAVRATILOVA beat Kathy Jordan 6-2, 7-6 to win the women's crown.