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."
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
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."
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