Eric Freeman

  • Paul and Griffin help Clippers pull away from Spurs for big Game 1 win

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 22 hrs ago

    The 2015 playoff series between the West's No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers and No. 6 San Antonio Spurs has been tabbed by nearly all observers as the most competitive of the first round, with one of two contenders going home after just a few weeks. That expectation played out over the first half and much of the third quarter of Sunday's Game 1 at Staples Center before one team pulled away for a major opening-game victory.

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

    After playing each other to a standstill for roughly 30 minutes, the Clippers used a 20-7 run over roughly five minutes of the third quarter to open up a double-digit lead and take Game 1 by the eventual score of 107-92. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were tremendous for the Clippers while the Spurs shot poorly nearly across the board.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • Blake Griffin posterizes Aron Baynes twice in Clippers-Spurs Game 1

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin has said that he started dunking less in the regular season so that he could conserve his energy for the playoffs. In his first game of the 2015 playoffs, Griffin suggested that he has plenty of energy in reserve to dunk until the Clippers' season ends.

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

    With just over four minutes left in the third quarter of Sunday's Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs, Chris Paul found Griffin with a perfect wraparound pass out of the pick-and-roll. Griffin took the pass near the paint and quickly elevated over big man Aron Baynes for a vicious posterization. Check it out here:

    But Griffin wasn't going to settle for a single dunk. Roughly three minutes later, Griffin used a spin move to gain separation and dunked again on the late-coming Baynes:

    Blake Griffin: "I just want to be aggressive....now is not the time for self-preservation."

    - - - - - - -

  • Grizzlies dominate Blazers in one-sided Game 1 win

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Both the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers entered Game 1 of their first-round series with several key players hobbled or coming back from injuries. If Sunday's result is any indication, then Memphis is heading into the rest of the series in far better shape.

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

    Memphis didn't get out to the greatest start, but they defined the game from the outset to lay the foundation for the impressiveness to come. The score was just 14-9 in favor of the Grizzlies with 2:48 remaining in the first quarter, a mark of the ways in which the hosts inflicted their grit-and-grind style on the action. It did not present an especially positive scenario for the Blazers, a team that thrives when it scores and balances touches for LaMarcus Aldridge with open looks from the outside.

    - - - - - - -

    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!

  • Warriors fend off late Pelicans charge, take Game 1

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The best team of the NBA regular season won its playoff opener, although not without a bit of a late scare. After dominating the No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans for three quarters, the Golden State Warriors saw a massive lead dwindle to just a few points in the final minutes of Game 1 in their first-round series. The Warriors held on for a 106-99 win, but the Pelicans' comeback was instructive for both squads.

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

    Game 1 started ideally for the West's No. 1 seed — the Warriors got out to a huge early lead to the delight of the raucous Oracle Arena crowd. With the league's best defense and second-best offense (by efficiency, at least), Golden State got out to a 28-13 lead after one quarter by depending on their usual strengths, an attack with multiple outside threats and fluid, switching defense. The Pelicans scored better in the second quarter but still entered the halftime break at a big 59-41 deficit.

    - - - - - - -

  • Wizards let Raptors back in, but win Game 1 in OT behind Paul Pierce

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Discussions of the first-round series between the East's No. 4 Toronto Raptors and No. 5 Washington Wizards have focused on which team has '"it." It's arguable that neither team did in Saturday's Game 1 at the Air Canada Centre, but the Wizards escaped a fourth-quarter rally from the Raptors to come away with a 93-86 overtime win.

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

    The drama started before Game 1 even tipped off. Veteran wing Paul Pierce had caused controversy earlier in the week when he declared that the Raptors didn't have "it" — that ineffable quality — in a wide-ranging and very honest article by Jackie MacMullan for ESPN.com.

     

    If nothing else, Pierce proved that he has a few game-changing performances left in him.

    - - - - - - -

    Follow @FreemanEric

  • BDL's 2014-15 NBA Playoff Previews: Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    How They Got Here

    • Chicago : The Bulls entered the season with legitimate hopes of making the NBA Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan's second retirement. Derrick Rose was returning from his second major knee injury in what seemed to be good health, Pau Gasol had signed as a free agent to add a second scoring option, lauded rookie Nikola Mirotic finally came over from Spain, and Jimmy Butler appeared ready to make a leap to stardom. Those expectations all played out to plan over the first few months. While Rose did not appear to have his pre-injury burst, he showed enough flashes to suggest that he could return to some approximation of his best days. Otherwise, Butler played like an All-Star (and became one), Gasol added another dimension to the offense (if at the expense of some of their defensive prowess), and the Cleveland Cavaliers struggled to open up opportunities for other teams. An 8-9 January suggested their were issues with the Bulls' setup, but there was hope that they could round into form by the postseason.

    Head to Head

    Likely Starting Lineups

    Key Matchups

    How Chicago Could Win

    How Milwaukee Could Win

    Prediction: Bulls in 5.

    EASTERN CONFERENCE

     

  • BDL's 2014-15 NBA Playoff Previews: Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    How They Got Here

    • Golden State : Pegged as a mid-level playoff team and dark-horse contender entering the season, the Warriors merely had the best regular season in franchise history and arguably one of the best for any team ever. Their 67 wins are tied for the sixth-most all-time, while their average point differential of plus-10.1 beat the next closest team by 3.5 points per game. Only seven other teams have ever topped plus-10 over a full season, and only one of those didn't win the title. The postseason operates differently than the regular season, but they're not so far away as to keep the Warriors from entering the playoffs as favorites to win the whole thing. It doesn't hurt that they have homecourt advantage throughout and lost just two games at Oracle Arena all season.

    According to Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowksi, finishing eighth saved the jobs of head coach Monty Williams and general manager Dell Demps:

    Ownership gave GM Dell Demps and Monty Williams preseason mandate to make playoffs to keep jobs, w/ no allowance for injuries. They made it.

    Head to Head

    Likely Starting Lineups

    Key Matchups

    How Golden State Could Win

    How New Orleans Could Win

    EASTERN CONFERENCE

  • Nets nab East's No. 8 spot, but were Pacers the greater success?

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Congratulations are due to the Brooklyn Nets, the final team to clinch a berth in the 2015 NBA postseason. After defeating the Orlando Magic 101-88 at Barclays Center and improving their record to 38-44, the Nets watched the Indiana Pacers fall to the Memphis Grizzlies 95-83 at FedEx Forum to draw the teams even in the standings. The Nets held the tiebreaker advantage due to a 2-1 victory in the season series and will now move on to the playoffs for the third time in three seasons in Brooklyn.

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

    On-lookers could be forgiven for fearing the worst, but it turns out that George was diagnosed with a sore left calf and deemed questionable to return. It's worth keeping an eye on his status in coming days, although it now seems like a relatively minor ailment heading into a long offseason. George also seemed to be in good spirits after the game:

    - - - - - - -

  • The first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs is set

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    After six months and 82 games each for 30 teams, the field and seeds of the 2015 NBA Playoffs are in place. Need to know which teams are facing off and when they play? Check out our list of the matchups and schedules for the first round.

    WESTERN CONFERENCE

    No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans

    The Warriors sprinted to a franchise-best regular season and homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs with the deepest roster in the league, an MVP candidate Stephen Curry, and a point differential that only a handful of teams in history have ever matched. Steve Kerr has never coached in a playoff series and no player on the roster has appeared in the NBA Finals, but this squad is the favorite to come out of the West in June.

    New Orleans exceeded expectations behind a historically great season from 22-year-old superstar Anthony Davis and a strong finish to overtake the Oklahoma City Thunder for the West's final playoff spot. They will be considerable underdogs, but Davis's first playoff series could prove meaningful as a step toward greater success in the future.

    No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

    EASTERN CONFERENCE

    * if necessary

    - - - - - - -

  • NBA Playoff Picture: One night remains with so much left to decide

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The final day of the NBA regular season is upon us, nearly six months since the San Antonio Spurs received their 2014 title rings on opening night. However, we're not especially close to figuring out the eight first-round playoff series set to begin this weekend. Only one matchup has been set — the East's No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. the No. 7 Boston Celtics, who beat the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night to clinch that seed.

    As such, Wednesday's 14-game slate involves many different seeding scenarios dependent on a number of possible results. It's easiest to break things down by conference first and team second, so let's start with the East, where things are a little easier to follow.

    1. Atlanta Hawks

    2. Cleveland Cavaliers

    3. Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors

    4. Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls

    5. Washington Wizards

    6. Milwaukee Bucks

    7. Boston Celtics

    7. Dallas Mavericks