Eric Freeman

  • Lakers announce Luke Walton has been hired as head coach

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 hrs ago

    The Los Angeles Lakers have their new head coach, and he's a face familiar to the fan base.

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    The Lakers announced Friday night that Golden State Warriors lead assistant coach Luke Walton has reached an agreement with the franchise to become its next head coach. Walton will replace Byron Scott, who had two team options remaining on a four-year deal and was told he would not return last weekend. The Warriors gave the Lakers permission to meet with Walton following the conclusion of their first-round series with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

    From the announcement:

    His Warriors colleagues also issued a congratulatory statement (via David Aldridge):

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  • Hawks eliminate punchless Celtics in Game 6, move on to face Cavs

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Atlanta Hawks entered this postseason ranked first in the NBA in points allowed per possession since December 15. Their first-round series with the Boston Celtics confirmed that defensive excellence over six games, with Thursday night's clinching 104-92 win at TD Garden serving as perhaps the most impressive performance of the bunch.

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    Boston's offensive struggles carried over from Game 5 and represented something like a worst-case scenario for a team so heavily dependent on All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas for scoring and shot creation. The path to shutting down the Celtics is well known, but the Hawks deserve lots of credit for executing it very well. That includes closing out on shooters and denial at the rim, success evidenced by 12 blocked shots (including 10 in the first three quarters).

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  • Blazers stumble early, surge late for 3-2 lead on hurting Clippers

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Los Angeles Clippers had about as negative an experience as a playoff team can in Monday's Game 4 at the Portland Trail Blazers, losing to fall into a 2-2 series tie and seeing stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin succumb to serious injuries. Considered favorites in this first-round series and a strong contender to defeat the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors in the next round just a few hours prior, the Clippers instead were forced to face harsh new realities and the likelihood of an early exit.

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    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 eliminate Rockets, advance to 2nd round in breezy blowout

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

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    Few doubts remained over the Golden State Warriors' ability to defeat the Houston Rockets without Stephen Curry before Wednesday's Game 5 in Oakland. The presumptive back-to-back MVP played just 39 minutes while active for two games before spraining the MCL in his right knee before halftime of Game 4, and the Warriors have had little trouble handling the rudderless Rockets in all but one of their matchups this series. There are questions as to how far Golden State can go without the league's leading scorer, but Houston provided little resistance.

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    Then again, Harden committed seven turnovers that gave Golden State some key transition opportunities. As ever, the overall quality of his game depended on factors well beyond his scoring.

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  • Hawks clobber Celtics in Game 5 despite major early scoring woes

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

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    The final score of the Atlanta Hawks' series-tilting 110-83 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of their series suggests that the game was one-sided and the result was rarely in doubt. Yet the margin of victory does not communicate the depths of the Celtics' disappointing performance in this pivotal game, because they very easily could have taken control of the contest early and moved towards a blowout of their own. Instead, they head home down 3-2 and face elimination in Game 6 at TD Garden on Thursday night.

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    Millsap's lay-in opened the floodgates, though, and the Hawks encountered little resistance from that point forward. It started a run of 11 made field goals in a row (including five three-pointers) for a 28-10 run that turned the aforementioned 10-point deficit into an eight-point halftime lead.

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  • Blazers take Game 4, even series against suddenly hurting Clippers

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    When news of Stephen Curry's knee injury broke on Monday afternoon, many analysts tabbed the Los Angeles Clippers as new favorites to move on to the Western Conference Finals. Instead, the team finished the day with major questions about their ability to get out of the first round.

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    Severities and recovery timetables are not yet known, but head coach Doc Rivers seems like someone who is prepared to move forward without both players for Wednesday's Game 5 at Staples Center:

    Doc Rivers says Chris Paul & Blake Griffin will be evaluated tmrw. Said it "doesn't look great" for Paul or Griffin. Says "50/50" on Griffin

    Aminu's night is more commonly associated with stars — he had a game-high 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting (including 6-of-10 from deep) with 10 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks:

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  • Chris Paul fractures hand in Clippers-Blazers Game 4, ruled out

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The NBA has seen its second injury to an All-NBA point guard in as many days. One day after presumptive Golden State Warriors superstar back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry sprained the MCL in his right knee, Los Angeles Clippers leader Chris Paul left Monday night's Game 4 of his team's series against the Portland Trail Blazers with what was later diagnosed as a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand. In other words, he broke his hand.

    Paul appeared to suffer the injury while defending the Blazers' Gerald Henderson on a shot blocked by DeAndre Jordan with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter. Take a look here:

    Paul left the game with 6:07 remaining in the third quarter and went to the locker room for evaluation. The diagnosis was announced early in the fourth quarter, and the Clippers went on to lose 98-84 as the Blazers tied the series at 2-2.

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  • Westbrook's superstar play leads OKC by Dallas, on to San Antonio

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a curious statement before Monday night's Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder when he declared that do-everything superstar Russell Westbrook is not a superstar. While it's not clear if Cuban has a very high threshold for the league's elite or just wanted to get people to talk him, few sane basketball viewers would quibble with the point that Westbrook is the kind of dominant player who makes massive contributions to his team's success. It seemed beyond odd to diminish the accomplishments of the guy who's been the best player in this first-round series.

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    KD also made it clear that he thinks Cuban is out of his depth when it comes assessing the NBA's best:

    Kevin Durant on Mark Cuban: "He's an idiot. He's an idiot. That's what we have to say about that."

    Russ & KD ethered Charlie Villanueva pic.twitter.com/xVsQqKS7pe

  • Can the Warriors survive two weeks without Stephen Curry?

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The first major story of the 2016 NBA Playoffs arrived Monday with the news that Golden State Warriors guard and presumptive back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry will miss at least two weeks with MCL sprain of his right knee, as first reported by The Vertical. The overwhelming championship favorites and 73-game winners will now be without the league's top offensive weapon for parts of two series and could even enter the Western Conference Finals as underdogs.

    The question is not just what the Warriors will look like without Curry, but whether his absence will doom a season that looked set to crown them as one of (if not the!) greatest teams in NBA history.

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    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!

  • Dame and CJ play like stars again, Blazers win Game 3 vs. Clippers

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    It's fair to see that Portland Trail Blazers star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum did not play to their full capabilities in the first two games of their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. The high-scoring duo both made no more than one-third of their field goal attempts in the two losses at Staples Center, combining to average 31.5 points per game, more than 14 fewer than their regular-season average. Given how much credit the duo has received for Portland's surprising success, it's not surprising that the No. 5 struggled to score with consistency in L.A.

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    McCollum was excellent, as well, putting up 27 on 11-of-22 shooting, including eight points in the fourth quarter.

    Mason Plumlee is the first Blazers player to grab 20 rebounds in a playoff game since Sam Bowie (4/20/1985 vs. Mavericks)

    Yes, Sam Bowie did positive things in his career. Don't let the Michael Jordan legends fool you.