Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs

Gregg Popovich yanks off Stephen Jackson’s headband

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The Spurs released Stephen Jackson just before last season’s playoffs, reportedly, because Jackson had been feuding with Gregg Popovich.

Jackson could have been bitter, but he wasn’t. Even as San Antonio made the NBA Finals, he said, “I wouldn’t want me on the team, either.”

If nothing else, Jackson  tells it like it is. If he resented Popovich and the Spurs, he would have said so.

There’s still good feelings between Jackson and Popovich, and that was on fully display after the Clippers beat the Spurs on Monday.

I think.

Popovich is joking around here, right? Right? He doesn’t typically act this way publically, so I’m a bit confused.

He flicks the headband at Jackson, who goes to hug Tim Duncan rather than embrace Popovich. That doesn’t scream warm. I can’t imagine Popovich snatching Jackson’s headband to be a jerk, though.

So, this has to be cordial. Right?

I’ll go with yes, but only because Popovich’s pregame thoughts on Jackson back that up.

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Popovich, via Dan McCarney of Spurs Nation:

“This will sound crazy because I booted him before the playoffs,” Popovich said, “but I love the guy. He lives in my neighborhood. He’s a great guy. He’s one of those guys who’s got a great sense of humor. He’s got a great heart.“He’s got a few idiosyncrasies I might not buy now and then, but he’s a great kid, and he gives an edge to your basketball team. He’s getting older, and all players when they get older have to face certain situations and change roles. He’s got an opportunity to do that here with Doc (Rivers), and, hopefully, he will. I wish him nothing but great success.”

I think Popovich shares the same mindset as me. The NBA is a more intriguing place when Jackson is in the league, but he’s easier to appreciate when he’s not on your team.

Boston’s Marcus Smart gets flopping warning from NBA

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 17:  Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter of the preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on October 17, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Boston’s Marcus Smart is one of the league’s more notorious floppers.

He was at it again Monday night against the Houston Rockets — and the league called him on it and gave him a warning.

It happened on the game’s final play — you were probably focused elsewhere, wondering how Al Horford could miss the game-winning layup. But watch Smart as he gets in position for the rebound on that shot.

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The referees didn’t buy it then.

This warning is barely a slap on the wrist. If — in his case, when — Smart gets caught a second time this season he will get a $5,000 fine from the league. Smart is making $3.6 million this season.

Happy birthday Larry Bird. We celebrate with some highlights.

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Larry Bird — the Celtics legend, three-time NBA champion, three-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA — turns 60 on Wednesday.

We celebrate by looking back at his 60-point game March 12, 1985, against the Hawks (video above, and yes that game was played in New Orleans).

Want more Larry the Legend highlights? We got you covered.

Hawks’ Mike Scott sent to D-League on rehab assignment

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mike Scott #32 of the Atlanta Hawks poses during media day on September 26, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott is expected to play at least two games in the NBA Development League as he comes back from a knee injury that kept him out of training camp and the first 18 games of the season.

Scott played 15 minutes for the Delaware 87ers in Tuesday night’s loss to the Santa Cruz Warriors. He scored four points on 2-of-7 shooting, missing all four of his attempts from 3-point range.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer says the D-League is the best way for Scott to get “meaningful, competitive minutes” after undergoing a non-surgical procedure on his left knee.

Scott has played three games for Atlanta since his return. In 28 minutes, he has two points on 1-of-9 attempts, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

Watch Kyle O’Quinn throw alley-oop to Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.

These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.

The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).