Eric Freeman

  • Kawhi, Spurs throttle Clippers in Game 3, take 2-1 series lead

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 18 hrs ago

    The first-round matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs is still the only series in the NBA playoffs in which both teams have wins. But it looked a whole lot less competitive in Friday night's Game 3 at the AT&T Center.

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    The game started well for the Spurs, who scored 25 points in the opening 10 minutes behind a strong start from Leonard. However, that stretch was rare for a relatively low-scoring first half in which both teams struggled to make shots against defensive pressure. The Clippers had trouble scoring nearly across the board throughout the night, but the Spurs went for just 10 points from the 2:00 mark of the first quarter to the 3:30 mark of the second, turning a 25-13 advantage into a mere 35-31 lead at a time when they theoretically should have opened up a dominant first-half margin. The typical Spurs execution was not there, perhaps due to Tony Parker dealing with a litany of leg injuries that limited his movement to intermittent bursts.

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  • Paul Pierce buries Raptors again, Wizards hold on for 3-0 lead

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 19 hrs ago

    The Toronto Raptors entered Friday's Game 3 of their first-round series with the Washington Wizards down 2-0 and in clear desperation mode. For much of the game, they looked like the team that wanted it more. But that's often not enough when the opponent has nearly every playmaker on the floor.

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    After a relatively quiet Game 2, Pierce returned to his efficient Game 1 scoring with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc to give the Wizards an extra offensive weapon. With John Wall dominating proceedings for the second straight game, the Wizards were able to make enough plays in a tight game to grab a win at home and put themselves in fantastic position to close out this series very soon.

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  • Warriors finish late 20-point comeback with tying Curry 3, win shocker in OT

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Never count out the Golden State Warriors. Down 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter and 17 with 6:00 remaining in regulation, the Warriors fought back to tie the New Orleans Pelicans in the final seconds to send Game 3 of their first-round series to overtime. Golden State continued its strong play in the opening minutes of the extra period and held on during a late New Orleans push to come away with a shocking 123-119 win at the Smoothie King Center, opening up a 3-0 lead in the series. Given the form of this loss, it's an open question as to how much energy or will the Pelicans can muster when they face elimination in Saturday's Game 4.

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    The marquee moment of the game took place on the Warriors' final possession of regulation. Anthony Davis split a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to give the Pelicans a 108-105 lead, or small enough to give the Warriors a chance at the tie.

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  • Warriors storm back from 20 down, tie game on Curry 3, win shocker in OT

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Never count out the Golden State Warriors. Down 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter and 17 with 6:00 remaining in regulation, the Warriors stormed back to tie the New Orleans Pelicans in the final seconds to send Game 3 of their first-round series to overtime. Golden State continued their strong play in the opening minutes of the extra period and held on during a late New Orleans push come away with a shocking 123-119 win at the Smoothie King Center, opening up a 3-0 lead in the series. Given the form of this loss, it's an open question as to how much energy or will the Pelicans can muster when they face elimination in Saturday's Game 4.

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    The marquee moment of the game took place on the Warriors' final possession of regulation. Anthony Davis split a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to give the Pelicans a 108-105 lead, or small enough to give the Warriors a chance at the tie.

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  • Cavs hold Celtics at bay again, move within a win of first-round sweep

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The young Boston Celtics have held their own as massive underdogs against the contending Cleveland Cavaliers in their first-round playoff series. Unfortunately, that succession of moral victories still has the Celtics one loss from being swept out of the postseason.

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    Strong games from LeBron James and Kevin Love helped the Cavs withstand a rough outing from star point guard Kyrie Irving and come away with a 103-95 victory in Game 3 at TD Garden. The Celtics stayed close to the heavily favored Cavs for the third straight game and were within one but once again could not make enough plays late to come away with an upset victory. Cleveland now leads 3-0 and can close out the series in Sunday's Game 4 in Boston.

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    Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

  • Spurs outlast Clippers in very intense Game 2, even series at 1-1

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    When the first-round series of the 2015 NBA playoffs were set last week, everyone pointed to the matchup between the West's No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers and No. 6 San Antonio Spurs as the marquee event of the postseason's first few weeks. After only two games, it has not disappointed.

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    The Spurs bounced back from a rough Game 1 to defeat the Clippers 111-107 in overtime in Wednesday night's Game 2 at Staples Center. The Tim Duncan-era Spurs are now 8-0 in Game 2 of the first round after losing Game 1 in the same the series. This particular Game 2 was a terrific, very intense contest that speaks to the high level of play in this series and which only built up our anticipation for the rest of it, starting with Friday's Game 3 in San Antonio.

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  • Grizzlies stifle Blazers again, take entirely deserved 2-0 lead

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The Portland Trail Blazers were left without any clear answers after a 100-86 loss in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Game 2 appeared to offer no clarity in another dominant win for the hosts.

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    For the second consecutive game, the Grizzlies controlled the game at both ends and cruised to a 97-82 victory at FedEx Forum. Memphis has now taken a 2-0 lead in the series that seems more commanding than a mere numerical advantage. The Grizzlies have dictated the terms of both games, taken away what the Blazers do best, and created a scenario in which it is very hard to imagine them losing this series. Portland will have to hope a return home to the Moda Center brings improvement, because as of now they look to be heading for a quick exit from the postseason.

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  • Rockets dunk Mavericks into submission, grab 2-0 lead

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    At first glance, a 12-point road loss to the Western Conference's No. 2 seed should not suggest that a team is in crisis. But the Dallas Mavericks' 111-99 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of their first-round series was no ordinary game.

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    To be more specific, the fourth quarter saw the Rockets pummel the Mavericks into submission with a barrage of alley-oops and dunks keyed by an unlikely player — veteran forward Josh Smith. With MVP candidate James Harden struggling to shoot with consistency, Smith found Dwight Howard for several alley-oops and looked like his old dynamic self from his Atlanta Hawks heyday. Up just one point entering the period, Houston ended up with a 30-19 final-quarter advantage that looked far more dominant than the margin suggests. The Mavericks are now in a 2-0 hole and face many questions about their interior defense, a terrible performance from Dirk Nowitzki, and an apparent benching of Rajon Rondo.

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  • Wall and Beal star as Wizards handle Raptors, head to DC with 2-0 lead

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Paul Pierce announced himself as a major factor in the Washington Wizards' first-round playoff series by antagonizing the Toronto Raptors before and during an overtime Game 1 win at the Air Canada Centre. Pierce is still an unpopular figure, but Torontonians will find no shortage of targets for their ire after a rough Game 2 on Tuesday night.

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    Young backcourt stars John Wall and Bradley Beal excelled as the Wizards cruised to a 117-106 win behind several big runs and a relatively weak effort from the host Raptors. Washington now heads back to the Verizon Center for Friday's Game 3 with a 2-0 lead and as many as three home games (plus two more visits back to Toronto) in which to grab two more wins and close out the series. The Raptors are in very big trouble and may now have played their last game at home this season.

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  • Warriors grind out Game 2 win over Pelicans, take command of series

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

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    The Golden State Warriors cruised to 67 wins this regular season, causing some pundits to wonder if they would be able transcend adversity in a tight playoff game. Monday's Game 2 of their first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans will not end that conversation, but it does suggest that the West's No. 1 seed can find plenty of ways to win when they aren't lighting up the scoreboard.

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    On the other side, the Warriors managed to get by despite struggles from their own MVP candidate. Curry didn't score in the final 17 minutes and contributed primarily with drives and the near-constant threat that comes with his mere presence. Meanwhile, Thompson picked up the scoring load and went 6-of-8 from the field to score 14 of his team-high 26 in the fourth quarter.

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