Eric Freeman

  • Warriors take thrilling Game 7 vs. Thunder to reach NBA Finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 10 hrs ago

    The Golden State Warriors entered the Western Conference finals looking to reach a second straight NBA Finals that would help cement their status as one of the greatest teams of all time. After a 3-1 start for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 73-win juggernaut faced three straight elimination games to keep their dream season alive. They will now enter a highly anticipated Finals rematch with the East champion Cleveland Cavaliers having proved their ability to overcome adversity, defy extreme odds, and continue to win with the sort of three-point shooting that the sport has never seen before.

    The Warriors are now the first team to go down 3-1 in the conference finals and come back to make the NBA Finals since the Boston Celtics in 1981. If they go on to win the championship, this unlikely series victory will only add to their legend.

    ... but Curry answered back with this buzzer-beater to make it 48-42, a manageable deficit for Golden State despite the postseason-low total at the half:

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  • LeBron and Kyrie carry Cavs past Raptors, into 2nd straight Finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    It took a little longer than most expected, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have clinched their second-straight trip to the NBA Finals. The Cavs beat the Toronto Raptors 113-87 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night, reversing unexpected road losses in Games 3 and 4 to go along with three blowout wins in Cleveland. The Cavaliers await either the Golden State Warriors or Oklahoma City Thunder and will attempt to claim the first championship in franchise history and first major title for Cleveland since 1964 when the finals begin on Thursday.

    Not surprisingly, LeBron James was the star of the night for the Cavaliers. The franchise icon scored 33 points (13-of-22 FG, 3-of-6 3FG), grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out six assists, and blocked three shots in a commanding performance, ensuring that his team would not have to return home for a Game 7 on Sunday. LeBron had not scored 30 points in 13 prior games this postseason, the longest such drought to open a playoffs in his career. He had previously waited no longer than the third game of the postseason to score 30.

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  • Okafor, Noel rumors show that the Sixers' 'Process' is truly over

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The end of "The Process" for the Philadelphia 76ers was always sure to claim several victims beyond its leader, ex-general manager Sam Hinkie. The new regime headed by Bryan Colangelo plans to win sooner rather than later, and that will mean selling off current and future considerations for new players. Indefinite future draft picks do not have livelihoods to change, but the players now on the roster do.

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    It appears that Colangelo could start to rebuild the team by trading away one of its highest-potential players. According to a report from Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, centers Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are on the trading block in an attempt to bring in backcourt help or another top draft pick:

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  • Curry, Warriors outlast Thunder, will play at least 1 more game

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder's stunning blowout wins in Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals inspired a number of questions about the record-setting Golden State Warriors. Was unanimous MVP Stephen Curry too hurt to make a big impact? Did their 73-win regular season obscure problems against more athletic, taller teams? And would Monday's Game 5 at Oracle Arena serve as the extremely disappointing final chapter to a season that until recently looked set to become one of the greatest in NBA history?

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    Every game of this series is now the biggest game of the NBA season. Game 6 is appointment viewing for any basketball fan.

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  • Kermit Washington indicted for embezzling charitable donations

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Retired NBA veteran Kermit Washington now faces the possibility of decades in prison. As revealed in an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Washington has been charged with embezzling roughly $500,000 in charitable donations meant to benefit children in Africa. Washington was arrested Monday in Los Angeles, but the federal charges were filed Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Maria Sudekum of the Associated Press has more:

    BuzzFeed's Tasneem Nashrulla provides the details on the charges:

    Prosecutors' investigation of Washington began with a related look into pirated software. It has also involved NFL great and Hall of Famer Ron Mix, now a lawyer who plead guilty Monday to paying Washington $155,000 for clients referrals issued as charitable donations to Project Contact Africa.

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  • Thunder overwhelm Warriors again, move within a win of NBA Finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

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    It took 96 games for the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors to lose two games in a row. As impressive as that accomplishment is, the team with the most wins in regular-season history now has to take three in a row to avoid elimination from the postseason.

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    It is difficult to exaggerate how good the OKC defense has been over the last two games of this series. The Thunder's evisceration of the Spurs was somewhat logical given their advanced age and relatively thin backcourt depth, but the Warriors have inspired rapturous praise throughout the last two seasons with an offensive attack that no team has been able to solve. With Kevin Durant serving as their elite defensive tone-setter, the Thunder have managed to pressure the Warriors' elite guards on the perimeter and adjust to virtually every pass and shot to allow very few easy buckets and open looks.

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  • Dwane Casey was a habitual line-stepper in the Raptors' Game 4 win

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    The conference finals obviously feature a great deal of intensity from all participants, enough so that many often let their emotions carry them over the bounds of typical NBA standards and practices. Draymond Green's kick to Steven Adams stands out as perhaps the worst possible such scenario (if you think it was intentional, at least), but more often these cases don't become so controversial. They're just an accepted thing when these players have so much on the line.

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    Sometimes the coaches get involved, too. That's what occurred with Toronto Raptors head honcho Dwane Casey on a few notable possessions late in Monday night's critical Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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  • Raptors salvage pride in Game 3, hand Cavs their 1st playoff loss

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    The first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals confirmed what most observers thought entering the series — that the Cleveland Cavaliers are far superior to the Toronto Raptors and every other team in the conference. Cleveland took a 2-0 lead in the series by a combined 50 points, extended their playoff winning streak against the East to 17 games, and essentially made their participation in the NBA Finals a formality. Meanwhile, the Raptors looked overwhelmed and overmatched, a conference finalist more by default than by merit.

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    Biyombo's effort and toughness inside obviously had the practical effects of ending and extending many possessions, but he also sent a message that the Raptors would not be easily eliminated despite the tenor of the first two games. Others scored more, but Biyombo's night is the best evidence of why the Raptors won this game.

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  • LeBron flopped hard on an inadvertent swing from his teammate

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    NBA fans love to point out when a player flops after minimal contact, but in most cases the offending party at least has the excuse of exaggerating to call attention to a foul that might not get whistled otherwise. LeBron James technically flopped to sell such contact in Saturday's Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 between his Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors. It just came from a teammate, not a Raptor.

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    With 43 seconds remaining in the first half, Raptors center Bismack Biyombo fouled Kyrie Irving in transition. Cavs big man and Toronto native Tristan Thompson took exception to the foul and approached Biyombo, who was then accompanied by Raptors guard Cory Joseph. LeBron and DeMarre Carroll joined the minor face-off soon after, and it looked as if the whole thing would end rather quickly with a technical or two to end any further escalation.

    Rob Perez of Fox Sports came up with the best explanation — the return of Lance Stephenson:

    Let no one ever claim to LeBron will not do whatever it takes to win.

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  • Curry's 3rd quarter burst puts away OKC for series-tying blowout

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 12 days ago

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder's surprising Western Conference Finals Game 1 victory on Monday stood out as an example of a team finding its best form at the right time, but it also found the history-making Golden State Warriors making uncharacteristic and frequently baffling mistakes. A team known for its late-game poise made a habit of taking bad shots and seemed intent on seeking out daggers even when down. It was far cry from what NBA fans saw over and over during their 73-win regular season and already in the playoffs, when the Warriors appeared only to improve during winning time.

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    The identity of Wednesday's biggest difference maker should not come as a surprise. Stephen Curry followed up his disappointing Game 1 with a suitably MVP-like performance in Game 2, scoring a team-high 28 points on 9-of-15 from the field, 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-5 from the line.

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