Larry Bird's famous 'left-handed game' for Celtics was 35 years ago today

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Darren Hartwell
·1 min read
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Re-live Larry Bird's famous 'left-handed game' on 35th anniversary originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

You can't tell the legend of Larry Bird without mention of Feb. 14, 1986.

The Boston Celtics were set to face the Portland Trail Blazers at the Memorial Coliseum, but Bird was feeling a bit, well, bored. His Celtics were rolling with a 39-9 record, and the star forward needed a challenge.

So, he decided to shoot with his off hand.

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Bird had experimented with shooting left-handed throughout the season, but he took that experiment to a new level in Portland on Valentine's Day. Larry Legend poured in 47 points, nearly half of which he scored with his left hand. (He also added 14 rebounds and 11 assists for a casual triple-double.)

"You have to have play games left-handed or do different things to keep your interest in the game," Bird recalled in "The '86 Celtics," NBC Sports Boston's documentary about Boston's championship season in 1985-86. He also famously joked that he was saving his right hand for the rival Los Angeles Lakers, whom the Celtics were playing two days later.

Bird was a competitor above all else, though, so when the game got close, he went back to his right hand to help Boston eke out a 110-109 victory in overtime.

"It heightened the legend to levels beyond belief. But this stuff really happened," former Celtic and current Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

Check out highlight's of Bird's epic, 47-point performance in the video player above.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Indiana
+135+2.5O 217.5
Boston
-162-2.5U 217.5