Dan Feldman

The time Larry Bird scored 47 points while deliberately emphasizing left hand (video)

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Larry Bird often made basketball look easy.

Once, he upped the degree of difficulty.

Thirty-one years ago yesterday, Bird’s Celtics played the Trail Blazers. Boston had won 14 of 15, playing at a level that would eventually bring the Celtics a championship later that year. So, what did Bird do? Via the NBA:

02.14.86 – Larry Bird tells his team and the media that he plans to play the next game left-handed. He ends up scoring 10 of his 21 field goals with his left hand. Bird finished the game with 47 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Bird also scored a clutch basket to send the game into OT and eventually hits the game winning shot with 3 seconds left to lift the Celtics to a 120-119 victory over the Trail Blazers.

Draymond Green: Jim Dolan’s treatment of Charles Oakley rooted in ‘slavemaster mentality’

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Draymond Green pointed to the racist undertones of the fan-player dynamic when discussing an Oklahoma City heckler.

Now, the Warriors forward is pointing out the racist undertones of the owner-player dynamic. His example: James Dolan-Charles Oakley.

Oakley played several years for the Knicks while the Dolan family owned the team. Oakley was an enforcer who brought immense physicality to the game — helping New York win. Eventually, the Knicks traded him, his contract expired, and he moved on into retirement.

Since, Oakley has publicly criticized Dolan, leading up to Oakley’s violent ejection from Madison Square Garden last week. Dolan and the Knicks responded with a series of statements Oakley said hurt him deeply.

Green, via Marcus Thompson II of The Mercury News:

“You doing it for me, It’s all good,” Green said. “You doing it against me … you speaking out against my organization, it’s not good anymore? That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality. That’s ridiculous. It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now all of a sudden when he says something that he feels, it’s a problem.”

This is not calling Dolan racist.

This is a comment within a reality: Nearly all NBA owners are white, and most NBA players are black.

Of course players are highly paid. Nobody is comparing their wages to slaves’. It’s Dolan’s mentality that Green is exploring.

Oakley stopped working for the Knicks nearly two decades ago. But Dolan still attempts to control Oakley through vindictive statements. In Oakley’s telling, Dolan went even further by having Oakley ejected for no just reason. (Dolan said Oakley was belligerent, causing the ejection.) Either way, there appears to be no real compassion for someone whose forcefulness helped make Dolan money. The Knicks got what they could from Oakley, and now that’s he’s not spouting the company line, they disparage him

Dolan doesn’t have to like Oakley’s criticism of him. But at a certain point, Dolan should also realizes how his harsh jabs at a former former employee — who excelled at the job — fit into the greater context.

Tyronn Lue fantastically impersonates Tom Thibodeau

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Tom Thibodeau’s voice is, um, distinctive.

Tyronn Lue knows it well, as the Cavaliers coach showed before his team beat Thibodeau’s Timberwolves last night.

Lue played for the Rockets when Thibodeau was an assistant in Houston, and they worked together as Celtics assistants under Doc Rivers.

NBA: Hawks forced crucial turnover in win over Trail Blazers by getting away with foul

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Paul Millsap got the Hawks into overtime with a buzzer-beating basket.

Trying to produce his own heroics with the Trail Blazers down one in the final seconds of the extra period, Damian Lillard coughed up the ball.

But an incorrectly uncalled foul immediately preceded that huge turnover, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

Dennis Schroder should’ve been whistled for disrupting Lillard’s speed/quickness/balance/rhythm with 9.6 seconds left, per the league:

Schroder (ATL) makes leg to leg contact with Lillard (POR) that affects his SQBR.

A correct call would’ve put Atlanta in the penalty and given Lillard — who’s making 90% of his free throws this season and 88% for his career — two attempts from the line.

Instead, Portland had to begin intentionally fouling, and the Hawks pulled away for a 109-104 win.

Report: Other NBA teams speculating 76ers sat Jahlil Okafor to drum up trade interest

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 26: Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers controls the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center on October 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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. The Thunder defeated the 76ers 103-97. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Jahlil Okafor missed the 76ers’ last two games, because — as they abnormally openly revealed — he was involved in trade talks. It’s one thing to sit a player the day a trade is imminent. Doing it for multiple games is another level.

Yet, Okafor is rejoining Philadelphia for its game against the Celtics tonight.

What gives?

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:

The shelving of Okafor was likely meant to flush out the best offers around the league, sources speculate. It’s not uncommon for teams to use leaks to stir interest. The Nuggets and Blazers weren’t pursuing Okafor. The Bulls likely aren’t either. No one is buying what Bryan Colangelo is selling: a one-dimensional center who can’t defend, rebound, or pass on a roster loaded with big men.

Even if this weren’t 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo’s plan, this belief around the league will hurt his leverage. Colangelo already sounded desperate to move a center. Good luck convincing anyone Okafor is coveted now.

And there’s still the issues about Okafor’s defense and floor-spacing…