Eric Freeman

  • Kevin Durant goes down with right ankle sprain vs. Warriors

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The Oklahoma City Thunder have been a resurgent unit since the returns of both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. After a loss in Durant's season opener Dec. 2 against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Thunder had rattled off seven straight wins to enter Thursday night's game against the West-leading Golden State Warriors with a 12-13 record and just out of a playoff spot. The turnaround has been a reminder that OKC is a legitimate title contender when fully healthy.

    However, a stroke of bad luck right before halftime of Thursday's game could derail that resurgence. On the final possession of the half, Durant drove to the basket looking for a buzzer-beater before colliding with the defending Marreese Speights. Durant was called for a charge on the play, but the real damage came as his right foot — the same one with the stress fracture that kept Durant out of the season's first 17 games — came down on Speights. Durant turned his ankle in the process, fell to the ground and left the game. Take a look:

    Durant also spoke to reporters after the Thunder's 114-109 loss:

  • How does Rajon Rondo fit with the Dallas Mavericks?

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The first big NBA trade of the season is upon us. As reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Dallas Mavericks have obtained point guard Rajon Rondo and rookie forward Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics in exchange for big man Brandan Wright, forward Jae Crowder, point guard Jameer Nelson, a 2015 first-round pick, and a future second-round pick. It's a deal with many repercussions — for the West's playoff picture, the futures of several players who have thrived in Dallas, the growing gap between the two conferences, and a player who can be one of the best point guards in the NBA when in the right situation.

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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!

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  • Brandon Jennings passed up an easy lay-up to miss a jumper

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Jennings has never been known as a guy who picks his spots. From his first games as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2009, Jennings has stood out as someone who would not avoid taking a shot just because it wasn't sensible. In fact, he often seems to seek out the most difficult ones.

    Yet none of that history could have prepared us for a choice Jennings made in the third quarter of Wednesday's game between the Pistons and visiting Dallas Mavericks. With the defense caught ball-watching, Jennings made a very nice cut towards the basket from the weak side. Caron Butler found him with a pass for what seemed like an easy lay-up ... except Jennings decided that wasn't tough enough and dribbled out for a fallaway jumper:

    The official play-by-play lists this miss as a 20-footer, which seems both factually wrong and spiritually accurate. If a very long two is the least efficient shot a player can take, then a mid-range jumper taken in lieu of a very easy lay-up is definitely a 20-footer.

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  • Grizzlies outlast Spurs in 3OT after several big shots

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs have one of the best on-court rivalries in the NBA, dating back to the former's upset of the top-seeded latter in the first round of the 2011 playoffs through a 2013 conference finals in which the Spurs outplayed the Grizzlies in pretty much every way imaginable. When these teams get together, fans can be sure they'll see a hard-fought contest with two veteran squads. Yet Wednesday's matchup in San Antonio involved a few more surprises than usual.

    After go-ahead three-pointer from Danny Green, the Grizzlies entered the final possession of regulation at a 92-89 disadvantage with 2.5 seconds on the clock. Solid inbounds defense forced Courtney Lee to pass the ball to center Marc Gasol, who was immediately pressured by Manu Ginobili to several feet beyond the three-point arc. Gasol, who had missed all three of his long-range attempts this season and gone just 7-of-49 in his career prior to this shot, ducked under Ginobili's raised arms and launched a desperation leaner. His prayer was answered:

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  • Drake introduces the Raptors, comes up with some ridiculous nicknames

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Many NBA franchises boast famous fans, but few have formalized the connection as strenuously as the Toronto Raptors and musical artist Drake. The Toronto native has not been shy about his fandom and gladly took on the official title of "global ambassador" for the franchise prior to last season. The relationship has taken many forms, but the most noticeable has been the annual "Drake Night" for a home game at Air Canada Centre, a big old party during which Drake essentially takes over as many in-arena responsibilities as he can.

    This season's Drake Night took place on Wednesday night vs. the Brooklyn Nets, and Aubrey Graham himself did the starting lineup intros for the second year in a row. He acquitted himself pretty well:

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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!

  • Kings honor Peja Stojakovic with jersey retirement ceremony

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    It has been a controversial week for the Sacramento Kings, but Tuesday night served as an opportunity for celebration. At halftime of the team's home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the franchise honored three-time All-Star Peja Stojakovic, the team's small forward from 1998 to 2006, by retiring his No. 16 jersey. The short ceremony afforded the 37-year-old Stojakovic an opportunity to thank the fans, the coach and general manager who gave him his chance to excel, and the ownership group that invited him to accept this honor.

    You can watch that speech here. Keep an eye out for attending former teammates Vlade Divac, Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson, Scot Pollard, and Brad Miller:

    Stojakovic joined the Kings for the 1998-99 season, two years after the Kings made him the 14th-overall pick in a loaded 1996 draft. Like many rookies, the 6-10 Serb struggled in that lockout season but improved as a key bench player in his sophomore campaign. But Stojakovic really broke out when he entered the starting lineup in 2000-01, averaging 20.1 points on 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc and finishing second to Tracy McGrady in Most Improved Player voting.

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  • Heat-Nets delayed 31 minutes due to Barclays Center's leaky roof

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Basketball games are supposed to be largely unaffected by the elements, but the truth is that nature often intrudes on the NBA's plans. Apart from the fact that serious storms can block various modes of transportation, we sometimes see the power go out, or air-conditioners malfunction, or even small animals get onto or around the court. We are only safe until we discover otherwise.

    The Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat found that out under unfortunate circumstances during Tuesday night's game at Barclays Center. After a Luol Deng three-pointer with 1:47 left in the first quarter, referees stopped the game due to a leak in the roof. As water dropped onto the court, various arena staff attempted to protect the court and get to the bottom of the problem:

    The game was delayed for a lengthy 31 minutes before the leak was stopped. Arena officials eventually explained the problem:

    Tonight's delay was caused by a water leak due to the installation of our new green roof. We've taken all necessary steps to rectify.

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  • Andre Miller's follow dunk attempt didn't go so well

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Washington Wizards point guard Andre Miller has a sterling reputation as a floor leader, a crafty veteran who knows how to manipulate defenses and make the right passes to the right guys at the right times. What the 38-year-old Miller definitely doesn't have is above-average athleticism. He survives via the old-man game and its various tricks. Nothing about Miller is overwhelming — he just finds a way to make things work.

    That profile means that it's usually a bad idea when Miller does anything that requires little more than athleticism — like, say, following a missed shot with a dunk attempt on the rebound. But that's exactly what he did in the second quarter of Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The results were predictably hilarious:

    I'd wish Miller better luck next time, but there might not be a next time. Nor should there be.

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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!

  • Khris Middleton's bouncing buzzer-beater 3 lifts Bucks over Suns

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Milwaukee Bucks have been impressive enough this season to have graduated from an early surprise team to genuine challengers for a postseason berth with the ability to surprise a favorite in the opening round. Yet if the basketball world has agreed to take the Bucks seriously, then it's also true that we're just starting to understand what makes them exciting and watchable. This young team isn't just getting better — they're also a lot of fun.

    Monday night's road contest against the Phoenix Suns served as another case for the Bucks' case as a League Pass must-watch. After falling behind 26-14 in the first quarter, Milwaukee battled back over the next three periods. Down 94-93 with 3.5 seconds left following a go-ahead jumper from Suns forward Markieff Morris, the Bucks didn't get their ideal shot out of a timeout. It didn't matter, though, because Khris Middleton got a fortuitous bounce at the buzzer:

    The Suns might have doubled over in agony after the shot because they just can't seem to catch a break. They've now lost six games in a row, five of which have come by six points or less, and have fallen into ninth in the West at 12-14.

  • Official Lakers Twitter tries to put positive spin on worst half ever

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The 2014-15 Los Angeles Lakers are not very good, but for the first two months of the season the franchise and its fans could at least look forward to the iconic Kobe Bryant's pursuit of several major milestones and records. However, after Sunday's passing of Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list, Kobe doesn't have any more marks in his imminent future. In other words, the Lakers are going to have to find other sources of positivity as the team slouches its way towards the lottery.

    Their first effort did not go very well. Monday's road game against the Indiana Pacers went very poorly, with the Lakers shooting a paltry 16.3 percent from the field on their way to a 60-27 halftime deficit, the franchise's worst first half since moving to Los Angeles in 1960. It would seem very difficult to find any silver lining to such a mess, but the team's official Twitter account did its best:

    Young outhustles the defense for a fast-break layup, but the Lakers still trail big, 35-17.

    Nick Young has a team-high seven points, but not much else is going well, as the Lakers trail, 56-17, with 5:58 left in the half.

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