Thursday night And-1 links: J.R. Smith is no longer a blond

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• The Knicks Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith dyed his hair blond this summer. Mike Woodson told him to change it back.

• Speaking of the Knicks, point guards killed their defense last season. At Knickerblogger they look at how New York might deal with that.

• Could LeBron James really play in the NFL?

• Tony Parker had pulled out of workouts with the French national team due to thigh pain, but he is back now. He is expected to play in EuroBasket.

• When the news broke yesterday the Sixers ownership group was looking to buy the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, a few people were asking if the Sixers were in danger of being moved. In a word, no. Would you really move a team out of Philly to Newark?

Great look at new Memphis coach Dave Joerger, and old-school coaching junkie.

• The Kamanetzki brothers (who do great work) have a fantastic interview with Royce White.

• How one Cavs fan has come to accept the coming Kyrie Irving rumor frenzy. (He will sign his rookie extension and stay, the question is always the contract after that.)

• The Bobcats have reportedly offered Anthony Tolliver a one-year contract, likely at the league minimum. He’s waiting to see what other offers may come in.

• A former male dancer at Dallas Mavericks has been arrested in conjunction with a series of murders.

• Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin is out of the running for the 76ers head coaching job.

• Alexis Ajinca will return next season to French team SIG Strasbourg.

• Luke Harangody will play next season in Russia with UNICS Kazan.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.