2.12.2008

Bird Goes Lefty on West Coast Trip for 86 Cs

People kept asking Larry Bird about the left-handed shots. In the process of torching the Portland Trail Blazers for 47 points, including the game-winning basket in overtime Friday night, Bird scored at least seven baskets with his left hand. Bird thought he made closer to 10 or 11 hoops with southpaw shots.

"I'm saving my right hand for the Lakers," he explained after Boston's 120-119 extra-inning victory over the Trail Blazers.

Bird is ready for Los Angeles today (3:30 p.m., Channel 7). He has been nothing less than sensational in the first three games of this West Coast trip, averaging 35.6 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists while shooting 53 percent from the floor, 78 percent from the line and 44 percent from three- point land.

"I feel better than I've felt all year," Bird said yesterday.

His evening in Portland will not soon be forgotten by the ever-loyal 12,666 Oregonians. Boston's MVP-designate hit 21 of 34 floor shots, 3 of 3 from the three-point line, and snatched 14 rebounds to go along with 11 assists. It was the seventh time he had scored 47 or more points in a regular-season game, and marked Bird's second triple-double in two nights.

Bird's game-winner was a 14-foot fallaway from out front, in traffic, with three seconds left in overtime. He was wearing Jerome Kersey, and Kersey was flanked by Sam Bowie and Steve Colter.

"For most people, that wouldn't have been a good percentage shot," said Danny Ainge. "When he shot it, I went, 'Oh no,' but I also thought he was fouled. He just wants the ball in his hands. He's going to make something happen."

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