Eric Freeman

  • Blazers force OT with buzzer-beating tip-in, beat Grizzlies

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 13 hrs ago

    The All-Star break usually allows teams fluctuating between the bottom and middle thirds of the NBA to determine if they should push for a playoff berth or think about what's best for their future (which, yes, sometimes involves tanking). Most preseason expectations would have put the Portland Trail Blazers squarely in the latter camp, at least if they hadn't already firmly established themselves as lottery participants. Yet Portland has been one of the pleasant surprises of this season, playing well enough to establish themselves as a true contender for a postseason spot ahead of several teams that were supposed to take serious leaps forward.

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    C.J. McCollum scored the first six points of overtime (of his 21 total) to give Portland a head start, although the Grizzlies cut it to 108-106 with only 59 seconds left. A few fruitless possessions allowed Memphis a transition opportunity following a Zach Randolph board with only 13 ticks on the clock. Unfortunately for the hosts, they couldn't convert two opportunities to tie it up:

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  • BDL's Most Interesting Power Rankings: Goodbye NFL, hello Warriors

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Let's face it — the best and most powerful teams in the NBA don't really change from week to week. A handful of results in the middle of winter can only mean so much to a franchise's championship hopes. What does shift regularly, though, is how much interest a squad can hold over the course of a season. Every Monday, BDL's Most Interesting Power Rankings track the teams most worthy of your attention.

    THE TOP 15

    This week's results made reaching those lofty goals seem considerably more likely. Wins over the Knicks and Wizards were no less exciting for being rather predictable — 11 Curry three-pointers in the latter helped, of course. The big matchup of the week was obviously Saturday's victory over the Thunder at Oracle Arena, which showed that they are just as capable of grinding out a win in crunch time against a contender as they are at decimating them from the opening tip until the final buzzer.

    Plus, who isn't ready to rock out to "Fields of Gold" during the halftime show?

    THE BOTTOM FIVE

  • Kevin Durant works as credentialed photographer at Super Bowl 50

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Super Bowl Sunday is typically considered a quiet day for the NBA, but one of its biggest stars put in an honest day of work for this year's game between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. One day after dropping a tight game to the Golden State Warriors and honorary Panther #KeepPounding drummer Stephen Curry in nearby Oakland, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant served as a credentialed photographer on the Super Bowl 50 sidelines at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

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    Take a look here:

    Last night, @KDTrey5 was shooting the lights out of Oracle. Tonight, he's shooting #SB50 for the Players' Tribune. pic.twitter.com/FrZe039F5G

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  • Reggie Jackson's 3s save the day after Pistons blow 27-point lead

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The opening stretch of Thursday's nationally televised game between the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons looked like a particularly fitting start to a rather sleepy pre-Super Bowl slate for the league. The Pistons out-scored the visiting Knicks by 12 in each of the first two quarters to lead by as many as 27 in the second quarter and 50-36 at halftime, looking well on their way to a blowout win. Viewers could be forgiven for deciding to change the channel.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    If they did, though, then they missed the sort of exciting NBA finish that can arise from even the least enticing beginnings. Down 70-52 at the midway point of the third, the Knicks allowed just eight points over rest of the quarter to get the lead to 78-71 at the buzzer. They then slowly cut into the remaining margin in the fourth, eventually taking their first lead of the night at 97-95 on a Robin Lopez lay-in with 2:14 on the clock.

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  • Zach LaVine, Andre Drummond headline 2016 dunk contest field

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The run-up 2016 dunk contest at All-Star Saturday Night in Toronto figures to be dominated by the player who eclipsed the field last year in Brooklyn. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine will defend his 2015 title at the Verizon Slam Dunk at the Air Canada Centre on February 13. The full list of contestants was released on TNT's "Inside the NBA" prior to Thursday night's slate of nationally televised games, although Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com reported the participants on Wednesday night.

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    Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond is the dunk contest's lone participating All-Star. Known more for his powerful slams than acrobatics, the double-double machine will try to join Dwight Howard as the only centers to win the event (although many will tell you JaVale McGee should have beaten Blake Griffin in 2011).

     

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  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar oddly called Dirk Nowitzki 'a one-trick pony'

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Past NBA greats tend to rate their eras as better than all others, but the Hall of Fame-type talents tend to treat each other with a significant deal of respect and praise. There are exceptions, to be sure, but the all-time greats know what it takes to reach such a high level. They typically don't nit-pick each other.

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    It's notable, then, that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar opted to minimize Dirk Nowitzki's impact on the game in a recent public appearance. Interviewed by economist and writer Tyler Cowen as part of the "Conversations with Tyler" series at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in the nation's capital, the NBA's all-time leading scorer fielded an audience question regarding how Dirk's fadeaway jumper compares to his sky hook. You can watch the answer in this video at the 1:15:00 mark or read a transcription after the clip (both via Mavs Moneyball):

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  • Kobe's season-high 38 helps Lakers avoid franchise-record skid

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    The Los Angeles Lakers came into Tuesday night's game at Staples Center needing a win to avoid setting a new franchise record for consecutive losses. They relied on the man they've called upon so many times for the better part of two decades.

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    Kobe Bryant set a season high with 38 points, including seven three-pointers (on 11 attempts), to keep the Lakers from dropping their 11th game in a row with a 119-115 win. Another loss would have broken the previous record of 10 set during Magic Johnson's illustrious tenure as head coach in 1994. Instead, the Los Angeles crowd was treated to Kobe's first seven-triple performance since 2008 and the NBA's first 38-point game by a 37-year-old since Reggie Miller in 2005.

    Bryant's points were also important — he scored the Lakers' final eight, including six free throws to ice the win. But this vintage pull-up jumper with 26 seconds remaining was a lot prettier.

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  • Rajon Rondo has his best outside shooting night ever as Kings win

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    Rajon Rondo has had a very good career despite (or maybe because of) the fact that he's a point guard who can't shoot. Lacking a skill considered necessary for perimeter players has freed up Rondo to embrace every aspect of his creativity in the half-court. That ingenuity often takes the form of the baffling — say, giving up on an open lay-up for a pass to the perimeter — but it's hard to say Rondo would be any better if he made more normal decisions. He succeeds in large part because he finds his own unique way to get things done.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    This output is almost certainly an oddity, because Rondo had only even attempted four threes in 25 of his previous 618 games. Let's just enjoy the video and take the performance for what it is.

    Rondo picked up 19 points on 6-of-10 overall, serving as one of five Kings in double figures. Rudy Gay led the way with a key 32 points on a night that saw All-Star DeMarcus Cousins sit out with an ankle sprain. The Kings are now 1 1/2 games back of the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers for the West's final playoff spot.

  • Derrick Rose hits go-ahead 3, preemptively bows as Jazz get OT win

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    Hitting a go-ahead shot in crunch time is a really big deal, especially when it comes after 47 minutes of mostly poor play. Nevertheless, it's usually not a good idea to treat that clutch moment like a triumph when the game is not yet won.

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    Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose found that out the hard way on Monday night against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. With the score tied 90-90 with 28 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Jimmy Butler drove to the hoop and created an open three for Rose, who was just 5-of-18 from the field and 0-of-3 from deep up to that point. He was understandably excited about hitting the very important jumper, enough so that he followed it with a bow:

    It turned out to be a premature celebration. The Bulls fouled Gordon Hayward on the next possession, and it looked like a good move when the Jazz wing split his pair. Unfortunately, the missed second ended up in the hands of Chris Johnson. Utah called a timeout off the offensive rebound, which set up this very difficult lay-in for Hayward:

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  • LeBron had a chase-down block on his own breakaway dunk

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 10 days ago

    LeBron James has two signature highlights — the contest-ready breakaway dunk and the chase-down block. He's done them often enough that YouTube has several full compilation videos for each play. These abilities are part of why he's one of the most entertaining players in NBA history.

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    One play in the third quarter of Friday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons saw James pull off both highlights on the same play. Roughly halfway through the period, LeBron chased down his own breakaway dunk attempt:

    All credit to Zach Harper of CBSSports.com for noting this strange self-rejection.

    If you just watch the highlights from this one, you'd probably think that LeBron had a rough night. The second quarter saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope swat away what looked like an open transition jumper:

    Kyrie Irving was stellar, too, with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting: