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December 10, 2007
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December 10, 2007

Who's Hot Who's Not

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Winning at home for the first time in—are you ready for this?—378 days, kept Carolina's playoff hopes alive, took pressure off coach John Fox and gave rise to unchecked joy. After the stomping of San Francisco, defensive end Mike Rucker (above) explained, "Having fun and laughing ... that's what we were doing out there."

Kaz Matsui
Blossoming at 32: The second baseman batted .288 with 32 stolen bases for the NL champion Rockies in 2007, and now he's landed a three-year $16.5 million deal from Houston. Sweeter still: The Astros are giving Matsui his own physical therapist.

Steven Jacksons
The Rams' running back (right) had 167 total yards and broke off a 50-yard TD run to seal a win over Atlanta. And the homophonous Warriors' forward (he spells it Stephen) had led Golden State on a 7--1 run—averaging 21.6 points and playing ferocious D—since returning from a seven-game ban (strip-club incident) on Nov. 18 (page 145).

As it should be. Five wins in six games—including three straight by an average of 28 points—had first-place Detroit once again looking like a 50-win team.


This one really hurts. A second straight loss (to rival Tennessee) all but dooms Houston's playoff chances, as does this: QB Matt Schaub (above) left with a dislocated shoulder, and guards Fred Weary and Chris White are out for the year with leg injuries. Tackle Travis Johnson to the Houston Chronicle: "You get so tired of losing."

Smush Parker
Parker versus parker. The Heat guard was still being held out of games while the team looked into his scuffle with a female valet parking attendant in Miami. Maybe the Heat was just looking for an excuse: The guy was shooting 32% from the field.

How they've fallen—off the trees (yes, we know it's leaves) and in the NHL's Northeast Division. Tepid Toronto had lost seven of 10 through Sunday and seem headed fora third consecutive playoff-less season. So how's it looking for fourth-year G.M. John Ferguson Jr.? Well, hiring him, said Maple Leafs president Richard Peddie, was, "a mistake on my part."

Seems like old times. Seven losses in eight games—including five by 16 points or more—conjured up memories of Los Angeles's dark days at the turn of the century.