Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his wife Shelly, and actor George Segal attend the NBA basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles

Shelly Sterling accuses other NBA owners of being afraid to stick up for Donald Sterling

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Shelly Sterling is better at staying on message than Donald Sterling.

I don’t personally care much about that skill, but when reading her answers in an interview with Scott Cacciola of The York Times, I was struck by their similarity to her answers on the Today show.

With The Times, though, she spoke about an angle of the issue she didn’t cover with Today. Shelly:

The owners are afraid of their own issues. Because I’m sure if anybody goes into all their records, they have skeletons in their closets. They would probably like to defend Donald, because he’s one of the oldest owners. But I think they’re all afraid because of their players. They’re afraid to get involved because if one sticks up for him, then maybe the players will go against them.

Donald is approaching the other owners – his “partners” as he repeatedly calls them –  with honey, and Shelly is attacking from the other side with vinegar. A coordinated strategy?

Even if it is, it probably doesn’t matter.

I am convinced Adam Silver knew he had the 23 votes necessary to expel Sterling when he set that punishment in motion. If not, that would have been a colossal mistake by the NBA commissioner.

And once Silver has the votes, everyone will fall in line. I can’t imagine an NBA owner stupid enough to cast a protest vote against removing Sterling’s ownership. The PR hit would be huge – and, with Silver pushing his agenda, the owner’s identity would get leaked.

If an owner believes Sterling shouldn’t be ousted – perhaps worried, like Shelly said, about their own skeletons – why vote against removing him in a losing cause? At that point, who cares whether it’s 28-2 or unanimous? There’s no use going down with the ship.

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).