Eric Freeman

  • LeBron, Cavs survive Hawks in OT, now one win away from NBA Finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 26 mins ago

    Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals will not be remembered as an especially well played example of NBA basketball. Over 53 minutes, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks handed each other many opportunities to win, with either team only intermittently taking advantage. The Hawks saw their best player ejected under controversial circumstances. Each team came into the game without an All-Star. For these and many more reasons, these squads offered decidedly less than what we hope to see from title contenders.

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    LeBron made a defensive impact on the next play by challenging a Teague lay-up and forcing a miss too hard off the glass. At the other end, he put up this lay-in for a three-point lead:

    With one possession left to keep themselves out of a 3-0 hole, the Hawks ended up going to an unlikely option. Third-string point guard Shelvin Mack, who had played all of 47 minutes this postseason prior to Game 4, missed two tough threes to seal the result:

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  • Horford ejected from Cavaliers-Hawks Game 3 for elbowing Dellavedova

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 hrs ago

    Already having lost both of their opening home games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Atlanta Hawks suffered another major blow late in the second quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at Quicken Loans Arena.

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    With 34 seconds remaining in the first half, Hawks All-Star center Al Horford struck Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova with an elbow after the two tangled and tussled for a rebound. Replays showed that Dellavedova had fallen into Horford's leg, thereby risking injury, and Horford appears to have retaliated for what he perceived as a dirty play.

    Dellavedova was handed a technical foul (although not clearly for his fall), but Horford received a flagrant-2 foul, triggering an automatic ejection. Take a look at the incident here:

    The NBA explained the call on Twitter:

    Explanation (1/3): 34.3 seconds left/Q2: Horford threw an unnecessary and excessive forearm/elbow to Dellavedova, making contact.....

    Explanation (2/3): 34.3 seconds left/Q2: ... Above the shoulders, therefore a Flagrant 2 foul was called on Horford...

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  • Warriors escape Rockets with final defensive stand, narrowly go up 2-0

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Stephen Curry and James Harden were the NBA's top two MVP candidates throughout the NBA season, leading their teams to the two best records in the Western Conference with countless examples of their offensive genius. While Curry ended up with the award, the ongoing conference finals have allowed these superstars to battle each other again. After two games, they and the rest of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets have not disappointed at all.

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    Observers can nitpick Harden's decision to pass off to Dwight Howard, which allowed the Warriors a chance to get better defensive possession. Harden certainly didn't seem pleased with the outcome after the final buzzer:

     

    Yet the Warriors make a habit of punishing opponent mistakes no matter their rarity. These two games have been extremely competitive and decided by just five combined points, but the Warriors still hold a 2-0 advantage and will head to Houston knowing that a split puts them in extremely good position to win the series. If only by virtue of the math, they hold the upper hand.

  • Cavs pull away from Hawks with big 2nd-half run, grab Game 1 of East finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers entered Wednesday's first contest of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Atlanta Hawks having never won a road Game 1 in 14 tries for the franchise and eight for their superstar. While the Cavs entered this series as favorites, they were going to need a special performance to change their history. It came from an unlikely source in their 97-89 win.

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    Kyrie Irving confirms he aggravated his left knee injury. Says it's the most frustrating stretch of his career but does plan to play Game 2

    It's safe to say that the Hawks are not happy to have lost reserve wing Thabo Sefolosha to a broken leg allegedly suffered at the hands of the NYPD. They could really use him right now.

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  • Check out the final possessions of the last 16 NBA Finals in all their glory

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Every postseason participant dreams of winning a title, but the four teams still alive in the 2015 NBA Playoffs are now close enough to entertain the notion with a greater degree of seriousness. In a few weeks one of them will see all that hard work and success culminate in official recognition of their status as the best basketball team in the world. The final buzzer of that clinching victory can be a cathartic moment, an instant in which a lifetime of effort all becomes worth it.

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    There's a nice mix of plays here, from defensive stands to garbage time nonsense in which star players appear to have been on the bench for at least five minutes. When the final buzzer sounds, home fans may erupt in joy or away fans may politely applaud and/or shuffle out quietly. The common thread is that one of the teams looks like they just won the lottery. (Dirk Nowitzki's reaction to winning the lottery is apparently to leave whatever room he's in at that moment.)

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  • Stephen Curry's daughter Riley took over his post-game press conference

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Golden State Warriors point guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry is usually worthy of all the acclaim he gets. That certainly seemed to be the case after Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, in which Curry went off for a game-high 34 points to lead the Warriors over the Houston Rockets. It was a typical Curry performance made all the more important given it came in the franchise's first conference finals appearance in 39 years.

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    Over several minutes, the youngest Curry tried to speak into the mic, crawled under the table, poked her head out from under the table, waved in several directions, and generally did everything you would expect from a totally great two-year-old girl. Take a look:

    And here's a still, if you prefer it:

    A picture truly is worth a thousand words pic.twitter.com/6tVYoWG85I

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  • Warriors eke out 110-106 win over Rockets in Game 1 of West finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Golden State Warriors coasted to four double-digit wins over the Houston Rockets to sweep them this regular season. The West's No. 1 seed picked up another victory over Houston in Tuesday's Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Oracle Arena, but it was significantly more difficult than any of those prior matchups.

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    Despite falling behind by 15 points in the second quarter, the Warriors closed the first half on a 25-6 run and controlled the second half as Stephen Curry scored 21 of his game-high 34 points (13-of-22 FG, 6-of-11 3FG) after the break. James Harden kept the Rockets close in the fourth quarter with a masterful showing, but a late comeback fell short as the Warriors took Game 1, 110-106. Houston will take a lot of positives from this performance, although an injury to star center Dwight Howard's left knee could change the dynamic of this series moving forward.

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  • BDL's 2014-15 NBA Playoff Previews: Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    • Golden State : After a season of near-constant highs, the Warriors finally experienced real adversity in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies. After dispatching the Grizzlies with ease in Game 1, Golden State faltered in Game 2 thanks to the reintroduction of the injured Mike Conley and a classic grit-and-grind performance in which Memphis made the best team of the regular season look very uncomfortable. Things got even worse in Game 3, and for a time it looked as if the Warriors did not have the mettle to make the necessary adjustments and persevere through challenges to exploit is apparent advantages.

    Head to Head

    Likely Starting Lineups

    Key Matchups

    How Golden State Could Win

    How Houston Could Win

    Prediction: Warriors in five.

  • Paul Pierce considers retirement after Wizards' crushing Game 6 elimination

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 8 days ago

    It is safe to say that Paul Pierce and the Washington Wizards were eliminated from the 2015 postseason under crushing circumstances. Pierce looked to have knocked down a buzzer-beater three-pointer to put Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks into overtime, only for referees to review the play and deem that the ball had not left his hands before the clock showed all zeroes. A difference of a split-second turned a thrilling comeback into one of the worst possible ways to finish out the season.

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    For Pierce himself, the dramatic moment may end up as the last play of a Hall of Fame career. After the Wizards' loss, Pierce was not shy about discussing his future in or out of the NBA. From Adam Kilgore for The Washington Post:

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  • Curry's 62-foot buzzer-beater propels Warriors over Grizzlies, into West finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    The Golden State Warriors were in some trouble. After falling behind by double digits early in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals at FedExForum, the Memphis Grizzlies came through with a very strong third-quarter to cut the margin to as little as one point. In the final seconds of the period, they held the ball down 73-68 with a chance to cut the deficit to one possession.

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    Then, like so many teams this season, they fell victim to the greatness of NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Andre Iguodala blocked a three-point attempt from Jeff Green (on a play that easily could have been whistled for a foul) and Curry positioned perfectly for a buzzer-beating heave. He made it look surprisingly easy:

    Those tremendous three points from 62 feet away gave Golden State a 76-68 lead heading into the fourth quarter, where they eventually built a 15-point lead on their way to a series-ending 108-95 victory. They have now moved on to the conference finals for the first time since 1976.

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