Eric Freeman

  • Jamal Crawford's huge 4th quarter leads Clips to win

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 11 hrs ago

    Los Angeles Clippers reserve scorer Jamal Crawford came into Monday night's home game vs. the Denver Nuggets in a poor run of form. Crawford hadn't shot 50 percent or better from the field since January 10 (for seven consecutive games), an issue for a player known for his ability to heat up quickly. The Clippers had performed well over that stretch (winning five of seven), but they had missed production from their best bench scorer.

    After the Nuggets game, Crawford's run of sub-50-percent-shooting games sits at eight in a row. But it's safe to say that no one cares after a fourth quarter performance that essentially won his team the game. With 21 of his 23 points in the final period, Crawford helped the Clippers overcome a 10-point deficit and extended their winning streak to five straight wins.

    Yet Crawford's most impressive play of the night was an assist, not a basket. With 1:23 remaining and the score tied at 94-94, he saved a risky pass from Chris Paul with a behind-the-back dish right to Matt Barnes for an easy lay-in:

    Maybe Jordan will record an album if Crawford does something similar the next time out.

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  • DeAndre Jordan follows up 3 straight blocks with a reverse alley-oop

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 12 hrs ago

    Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is known as one of the NBA's surest highlight producers, a guy who will put up at least a few big-time dunks every month. It's part of his reputation now, to the point where each individual play doesn't really come as a surprise even as it wows crowds.

    Sometimes, though, Jordan comes up with enough high-impact plays in a short period of time to remind us all that he can still be totally overwhelming. From the 1:00 to 0:21 marks of the second quarter, the big man had blocks on three straight shots and a reverse dunk on an alley-oop at the other end. Take a look at the full sequence here:

    If you're scoring at home, that's a block of Ty Lawson, a block of Kenneth Faried on the rebound, a Blake Griffin dunk to break up our all-DeAndre-all-the-time show, a block of Wilson Chandler on the next Nuggets possession, and a reverse dunk off a lob from Griffin. Not too shabby.

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  • Byron Scott really wants Lakers rookies to take care of their fake babies

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 14 hrs ago

    Professional sports teams have evolved in many ways, from how teams manage player rest to the introduction of new strategies and tactics on the field of play. In one area, though, teams and athletes have stayed decidedly old-fashioned — the hazing and shaming of rookies in a public forum. Each individual team settles on its own method of embarrassment, but it's a safe bet that everyone will do something to demean rookies. Shame has never been so hilarious!

    The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten in on the act this season, forcing rookies to push children's baby dolls around in strollers. Take a look at Tarik Black and Jordan Clarkson taking care of their fake offspring here:

    Rookie Duties pic.twitter.com/1z4SEgScl0

    In isolation, this hazing is not especially notable — plenty of teams will do similar things over the course of the season. What makes the Lakers different is that head coach Byron Scott, not a veteran player, seems to be the driving force behind the efforts. From Kurt Helin for ProBasketballTalk:

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  • Scott Brooks sometimes has the Thunder practice at the wrong positions

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 17 hrs ago

    Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks has been a figure of some debate during his time with the team, having led a very young squad from the lottery to the NBA Finals and also suffering criticism for an often stagnant offense that doesn't amplify the strengths of a very talented core. With the Thunder currently in 10th in the Western Conference and Kevin Durant set to become a free agent in the summer of 2016, Brooks is under much more pressure than usual to succeed. His job could be in the balance.

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    It's a bit interesting, then, that he's taking an atypical approach in the team's practices. On occasion, Brooks has players run through plays in the wrong positions. From Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:

    In other words, the problem here is a common one — the difficulty of implementing a sound idea that it becomes more than just an idea. Unfortunately for Brooks, an NBA coach needs to do both.

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  • Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 points in a quarter

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The Western Conference is full of deserving All-Star guard candidates, to the point where many terrific players will be left off the list through no fault of their own. Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson, averaging 21.9 ppg for the NBA's best team, is one of those guys. If he doesn't make it with that resume, then you know the conference is stacked.

    You can now forget about that possibility. In one quarter of Friday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, Thompson ensured that he will end up in the All-Star Game. Because he scored 37 points in the third quarter to set an NBA record.

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    Yes, you read that correctly. After the Kings opened the half on a 7-0 run to take a 58-56 lead, Thompson redefined "on fire" by hitting all 13 of his field-goal attempts, including nine three-pointers. Perhaps most remarkably, Thompson set the mark by shooting only two free throws to finish off his scoring with four seconds remaining in the period. Everyone knew he was getting the ball and they just couldn't stop him. The video does not lie:

  • James Harden drains buzzer-beater winner, Rockets hold off Suns

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The Houston Rockets rested on the verge of blowing a big fourth-quarter lead to the host Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Then the NBA's leading scorer reminded everyone of his genius.

    With a little more than six minutes remaining in regulation, the Rockets led the Suns 102-86, a sizable margin that appeared very difficult to surmount given the momentum and state of the game. All Phoenix did to respond was reel off 14-4 run over more than 3 1/2 minutes to make it a contest again, ultimately tying the game up on an old-fashioned three-point-play lay-up from forward Markieff Morris with just 16 seconds remaining.

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    The Rockets had one possession to grab back a win and avoid what projected as a trying overtime. Not surprisingly, they gave the ball to James Harden in isolation against P.J. Tucker. The resulting play was downright filthy:

    Before his buzzer-beater, Harden had an arguably more impressive highlight (out of context, at least) when he sent Eric Bledsoe sprawling with a Eurostep in transition:

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  • Kent Bazemore is dunked-on and dunker as Hawks set franchise-record win streak

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Pretty much everything is going right for the Atlanta Hawks these days. The Eastern Conference leaders entered Friday night's home game vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 14-game winning streak, matching a franchise record set during the 1993-94 season. Something special is happening with this team, and it's worth appreciating it for as long as it lasts.

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    Things are going so well, in fact, that it's easy to assume that the team will bounce back from any in-game embarrassment with a run or highlight of their own. That's exactly what happened to reserve guard Kent Bazemore in the second quarter on Friday. In the midst of an uncharacteristically ineffective offensive performance for Atlanta, Bazemore attempted to catch a surging Kevin Durant as the reigning MVP dribbled up the court in transition. All that hustle just allowed him to end up on the wrong end of a posterization:

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  • Shocker: Gregg Popovich doesn't care for All-Star PR campaigns

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich long ago established an identity as a no-nonsense, basketball-focused leader with little time for the sideshows of NBA fame. Even when increased media attention would benefit his team, Pop and the Spurs have eschewed the spotlight for privacy. It seems to suit them just fine.

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    Sometimes, though, the basketball world encroaches on the Spurs' bubble. Now that the starters have been announced for February's All-Star Game in New York City, it's time for the league's head coaches to pick each conference's reserves. Many teams have gone all out to promote their top players for the honor. You will be shocked to learn that Popovich does not pay much attention to these PR materials. From Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express News:

    Pop cares not for your cute All-Star campaigns: "For those who sent me something, I just want them to know it immediately went in the trash"

  • DeAndre Jordan crushes Brook Lopez on the alley-oop

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Brook Lopez has had a rough go of it lately with the Brooklyn Nets, serving at the center of various trade rumors and reports that the franchise has soured on their max-deal big man's capacity for stardom. Given that context, what Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan did to Lopez in Thursday night's game at Staples Center probably qualifies as overkill.

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    A little more than halfway through the second quarter, Chris Paul teed up a perfect alley-oop pass for Jordan, who finished on an earthbound Lopez with the trademark power we've seen many times before. Take a look:

    Lopez's teammate Mirza Teletovic effectively summed up everyone's reaction:

    Here's the moment where DeAndre Jordan inhaled the soul of Brook Lopez pic.twitter.com/GxqFErlra9

    Better luck next time, Brook. Wherever you may be.

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  • Ricky Rubio's ankle injury is worse than previously thought

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The Minnesota Timberwolves were never in line for a particularly great season in 2014-15, but things got a lot tougher for them when point guard Ricky Rubio went down with a high ankle sprain way back on November 7. While initial prognoses had Rubio out for no more than six weeks, he has already missed roughly 2 1/2 months and has shown no signs of an imminent return. Clearly, his health has not improved at the expected rate, and the Wolves' desire for a high draft pick does not seem to be what's keeping Rubio on the sidelines.

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    The team confirmed as much on Wednesday night. It appears that Rubio suffered a much more serious injury than the already concerning high ankle sprain. Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press has more:

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