Eric Freeman

  • Rockets use incredible 1st quarter, Harden's 45 to avoid Warriors sweep

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 hrs ago

    The Houston Rockets needed a terrific performance to bounce back from a Game 3 blowout loss and extend their season. A 45-point first quarter certainly qualified as a pretty good foundation for their eventual128-115 win.

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    In tying a playoff record for first-quarter points, the Rockets put forward their highest-scoring period of the season and finished the opening 12 minutes with a 23-point lead. The Warriors made a valiant effort to come back and had to deal with a scary fall and lengthy absence for MVP Stephen Curry, but James Harden scored 33 of his 45 points in the second half to answer every Golden State run and seal the win. The bad news for Houston is that they still have to win three straight, including two in Oakland, to move on to the NBA Finals.

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  • Stephen Curry falls to floor, leaves Warriors-Rockets Game 4 with head contusion

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 9 hrs ago

    The Golden State Warriors came into Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals looking to finish off a sweep over the Houston Rockets. A scary incident in the second quarter brought much greater concerns to the franchise and the NBA as a whole.

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    With 5:52 remaining in the second quarter, Warriors superstar and NBA MVP Stephen Curry jumped to challenge a forthcoming lay-up attempt from Rockets wing Trevor Ariza. However, Ariza stayed on the floor, causing Curry to fall on his back and then to the floor at an odd angle. Curry could not get his hands out to break his fall and appeared to hit his head on the hardwood.

    He stayed down for several minutes as medical staff brought out a stretcher, but Curry was thankfully able to walk off under his own power despite appearing quite dazed.

    You can watch video of the incident here:

    Curry's injury came with the Rockets up 55-36 after a dominant 45-point first quarter. He has been the best player in the series, if not the entire postseason, and scored 40 points in Golden State's Game 3 blowout win.

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  • Looking ahead to Game 4: Warriors at Rockets

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Previously on "The Warriors and the Rockets" ...

    I mean, what didn't happen in the Golden State Warriors' Game 3 evisceration of the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center? After two hyper-competitive games in which the Rockets may have come away with a 2-0 lead against any other team, the Warriors traveled to hostile territory and handed their opponents one of the most thorough beatdowns of the postseason so far, a 115-80 blowout in which they reestablished their status as title favorites. Houston went home with confidence that it could extend the series — it now looks likely that they will head out on summer vacation fairly soon.

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    Three Things to Look for in Game 4

    Houston's resilience

    The Warriors' will

    Is there any way to defend Stephen Curry?

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day 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 layup and forcing a miss too hard off the glass. At the other end, he put up this lay-in for a three-point lead:

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 6 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 6 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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