Eric Freeman

  • Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 points in a quarter

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Western Conference is full of deserving All-Star guard candidates, to the point where many terrific players will be left off the list through no fault of their own. Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, averaging 21.9 ppg for the NBA's best team, is one of those guys. If he doesn't make it with that resume, then you know the conference is stacked.

    You can now forget about that possibility. In one quarter of Friday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, Thompson ensured that he will end up in the All-Star Game. Because he scored 37 points in the third quarter to set an NBA record.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Yes, you read that correctly. After the Kings opened the half on a 7-0 run to take a 58-56 lead, Thompson redefined "on fire" by hitting all 13 of his field-goal attempts, including nine three-pointers. Perhaps most remarkably, Thompson set the mark by shooting only two free throws to finish off his scoring with four seconds remaining in the period. Everyone knew he was getting the ball and they just couldn't stop him. The video does not lie:

  • James Harden drains buzzer-beater winner, Rockets hold off Suns

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Houston Rockets rested on the verge of blowing a big fourth-quarter lead to the host Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Then the NBA's leading scorer reminded everyone of his genius.

    With a little more than six minutes remaining in regulation, the Rockets led the Suns 102-86, a sizable margin that appeared very difficult to surmount given the momentum and state of the game. All Phoenix did to respond was reel off 14-4 run over more than 3 1/2 minutes to make it a contest again, ultimately tying the game up on an old-fashioned three-point-play lay-up from forward Markieff Morris with just 16 seconds remaining.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    The Rockets had one possession to grab back a win and avoid what projected as a trying overtime. Not surprisingly, they gave the ball to James Harden in isolation against P.J. Tucker. The resulting play was downright filthy:

    Before his buzzer-beater, Harden had an arguably more impressive highlight (out of context, at least) when he sent Eric Bledsoe sprawling with a Eurostep in transition:

    - - - - - - -

  • Kent Bazemore is dunked-on and dunker as Hawks set franchise-record win streak

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Pretty much everything is going right for the Atlanta Hawks these days. The Eastern Conference leaders entered Friday night's home game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 14-game winning streak, matching a franchise record set during the 1993-94 season. Something special is happening with this team, and it's worth appreciating it for as long as it lasts.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Things are going so well, in fact, that it's easy to assume that the team will bounce back from any in-game embarrassment with a run or highlight of their own. That's exactly what happened to reserve guard Kent Bazemore in the second quarter on Friday. In the midst of an uncharacteristically ineffective offensive performance for Atlanta, Bazemore attempted to catch a surging Kevin Durant as the reigning MVP dribbled up the court in transition. All that hustle just allowed him to end up on the wrong end of a posterization:

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Shocker: Gregg Popovich doesn't care for All-Star PR campaigns

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich long ago established an identity as a no-nonsense, basketball-focused leader with little time for the sideshows of NBA fame. Even when increased media attention would benefit his team, Pop and the Spurs have eschewed the spotlight for privacy. It seems to suit them just fine.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Sometimes, though, the basketball world encroaches on the Spurs' bubble. Now that the starters have been announced for February's All-Star Game in New York City, it's time for the league's head coaches to pick each conference's reserves. Many teams have gone all out to promote their top players for the honor. You will be shocked to learn that Popovich does not pay much attention to these PR materials. From Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express News:

    Pop cares not for your cute All-Star campaigns: "For those who sent me something, I just want them to know it immediately went in the trash"

  • DeAndre Jordan crushes Brook Lopez on the alley-oop

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Brook Lopez has had a rough go of it lately with the Brooklyn Nets, serving at the center of various trade rumors and reports that the franchise has soured on their max-deal big man's capacity for stardom. Given that context, what Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan did to Lopez in Thursday night's game at Staples Center probably qualifies as overkill.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    A little more than halfway through the second quarter, Chris Paul teed up a perfect alley-oop pass for Jordan, who finished on an earthbound Lopez with the trademark power we've seen many times before. Take a look:

    Lopez's teammate Mirza Teletovic effectively summed up everyone's reaction:

    Here's the moment where DeAndre Jordan inhaled the soul of Brook Lopez pic.twitter.com/GxqFErlra9

    Better luck next time, Brook. Wherever you may be.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Ricky Rubio's ankle injury is worse than previously thought

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The Minnesota Timberwolves were never in line for a particularly great season in 2014-15, but things got a lot tougher for them when point guard Ricky Rubio went down with a high ankle sprain way back on November 7. While initial prognoses had Rubio out for no more than six weeks, he has already missed roughly 2 1/2 months and has shown no signs of an imminent return. Clearly, his health has not improved at the expected rate, and the Wolves' desire for a high draft pick does not seem to be what's keeping Rubio on the sidelines.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    The team confirmed as much on Wednesday night. It appears that Rubio suffered a much more serious injury than the already concerning high ankle sprain. Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press has more:

    - - - - - - -

  • Steph Curry, LeBron James lead 2015 NBA All-Star Game starters

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The starters for the NBA's midwinter classic have been set. As announced on a TNT special prior to Thursday night's games, the league has revealed the starters for the 2015 All-Star Game, set to be played on February 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The set of 10 players features a mix of longtime selections, up-and-coming superstars, and even one brand-new All-Star face.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Golden State Warriors point guard and MVP favorite Stephen Curry led all vote-getters, inching ahead of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in the final days of voting after trailing in all previously announced returns during the process. Curry has helped a loaded Warriors roster to the NBA's best record at 34-6 and led the voting in just his second All-Star appearance after being voted in last season. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will coach the West All-Stars, becoming the first rookie coach to do so since Larry Bird of the Indiana Pacers served on the East sidelines in 1998.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Kobe Bryant injured his shoulder, then decided to play left-handed

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Kobe Bryant's toughness is not and never really has been in question. The Los Angeles Lakers icon has played injured on many occasions, often appearing to sacrifice his long-term health for a better chance at regular-season wins. If there were any remaining questions about his tolerance for pain, Kobe answered them in April 2013 after he shot two free throws a few seconds after snapping his Achilles' tendon against the Golden State Warriors. Normal players would not even contemplate continuing, even in a dead-ball situation.

    That well-established reputation both does and doesn't explain Kobe's decision to play hurt during Wednesday night's Lakers game at New Orleans. With a few minutes left in the third quarter, Kobe went up for a dunk and finished. On his way up the court, though, he grabbed his right shoulder and left the game soon after.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Westbrook lays in the OT winner in Durant's D.C. homecoming

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    All eyes were on Kevin Durant for the Oklahoma City Thunder's visit to Washington on Wednesday to face the Wizards at the Verizon Center. The D.C.-area native has been heavily rumored as a potential acquisition of his hometown team when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2016, and both the Wizards and their fans did not shy away from trying to appeal to Durant in his lone trip to town this season. Even with the Wizards playing like a contender to win the East, everyone seems to be focused on bringing Durant back home in 18 months.

    KD performed very well through all the attention, but it was his Thunder co-star who grabbed the spotlight in the final seconds of a tight, back-and-forth game. With mere seconds on the clock and the score tied at 103-103 in overtime, Russell Westbrook darted through the Washington defense and finished at the rim with ease to give his team a two-point lead with just 0.8 seconds remaining. Take a look:

    Others just went with the more typical signs:

    Montrose Christian Middle School playing at halftime of the #WizThunder game! pic.twitter.com/6rdgkSDAxb

  • Hey, Kyle Korver dunked for the first time in two seasons

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Atlanta Hawks wing Kyle Korver is having a remarkable season as a shooter, hitting on more than 50 percent of his shots from the field, 50 percent of his three-pointers, and 90 percent of his free throws. There has been exactly one 50/50/90 players in the modern era — Steve Kerr was the last one as a reserve guard for the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — which effectively means that Korver is in line for the greatest shooting season in NBA history. Those current marks and the Hawks' conference-leading form have given him a solid chance at making his first All-Star team at 33 years old, which is both very impressive and surprising even if Korver does not end up making the squad. The man deserves some attention.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Yet all that seems secondary to what Korver did in the second quarter of Wednesday night's game vs. the Indiana Pacers. For the first time in two season, Kyle Korver dunked:

    - - - - - - -