HOT: USA! USA!
Goalie John Gibson (above) was MVP as the U.S. beat Canada and then Sweden for gold at the world junior championship in Russia. Meanwhile, Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, 17, won her second World Cup race of the season; she's the first American to win twice before age 18.
NOT: ORLANDO GLOOM
The Magic (12--21) had dropped eight straight through Sunday. What's wrong? Thirteen team technicals (fourth most in the league) don't help, but mostly it's the tepid scoring (93.7 points) and the fact that Orlando is attempting an NBA-worst 16.5 free throws per game.
HOT: DESERT BLOOM
Arizona is playing with fire (OT win over Colorado, three-point win over 8--6 Utah), but the No. 3 Cats are 14--0 for the first time since the 1932--33 season. Senior guard Mark Lyons (above) is scoring 14.1 ppg and leads the Pac-12 in free throw shooting (88.3%).
NOT: LOONY TOONS
Newcastle appears relegation-bound. The Cinderella squad, promoted two years ago, has lost five of six and was knocked out of the FA Cup by lowly Brighton on Sunday. That eight-year contract coach Alan Pardew (above) signed in September is looking worse by the day.
HOT: NEW YORK GRITTY
The Knicks (23--10) are off to their best start since 1997 and are second in the East, behind Miami. Amar'e Stoudemire is back after October knee surgery, Carmelo Anthony (above) is rolling (33.4 ppg since Dec. 1) and New York's +5.4 scoring differential leads the conference.