Eric Freeman

  • Joel Embiid dunks through the legs, still isn't playing for Sixers

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 hr ago

    It is not bold to claim that the Philadelphia 76ers need better players. The NBA's most tank-happy franchise entered Friday's home game against the Utah Jazz with a 13-48, just one win ahead (or behind?) of the 12-48 New York Knicks for the worst record in the league. Among the players now on the roster, it's arguable that big man Nerlens Noel is the only one who factors into the Sixers' long-term plans. General manager Sam Hinkie has collected numerous assets and drafted several highly regarded prospects now unable to suit up in red, white, and blue, but the product on the court still looks very lacking.

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    While Embiid isn't playing in real games, he has been participating in Philadelphia's practices. When he has, he's been pretty impressive. Enough so, in fact, that the Sixers tweeted out this video of Embiid going through his legs for a dunk in Friday's warmups:

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  • Blazers' Wesley Matthews leaves game with left ankle injury

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 20 hrs ago

    The Portland Trail Blazers may be facing the loss of one of their key players for the rest of the regular season and beyond. Shooting guard Wesley Matthews, a pending free agent and the franchise's career leader in made three-pointers, suffered an apparent left leg injury with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter of Thursday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks. While the Blazers have not yet released a diagnosis, the early indications are not good.

    (UPDATE: Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Matthews suffered a torn left Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the season.)

    Matthews went down while catching the ball and attempting to drive to the basket in transition. Replays show his left leg buckling as he planted it, without any other contact, after which he fell to the ground in pain. Matthews immediately grabbed the area around his left ankle and heel. He attempted to get up a few seconds later before lying down on his back and putting his hands over his heads. You can watch the scene here:

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  • Craig Sager returns to TNT action, receives warm welcome back

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    One of the most beloved figures in the NBA has returned to the sidelines. If his fashion choices are any evidence, then TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager hasn't missed a beat in his absence from broadcasts.

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    Sager is back in action after almost 11 months away while receiving treatments for acute leukemia. His son and fellow broadcaster Craig Sager II announced early last week that Sager would return for March 5's game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

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    Sager's next big moment came during his between-quarters interview with OKC head coach Scott Brooks:

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  • Atlanta Hawks unveil Dominique Wilkins statue outside Philips Arena

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Human Highlight Film has now entered a new artistic medium. The Atlanta Hawks unveiled a new statue of Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins on Thursday, paying tribute to one of the best players of his generation and most entertaining players in the history of the sport. The statue will be placed outside of Philips Arena and continues the Hawks' efforts to deepen their roots in Atlanta and with the community as a whole.

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    Charles Odum of the Associated Press has more details on the ceremony and statue:

    You can also take a look at a few more photos of the statue here:

    Congrats @DWilkins21 !! Bout time Go @ATLHawks !!! pic.twitter.com/jGDNDcUveL

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  • Gerald Green recreates socks-only dunk from 2008 contest

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Although he officially retired from the competition last season, Phoenix Suns wing Gerald Green remains one of the greatest dunk contest participants of all time. Green won in 2007, but his greatest moment undoubtedly occurred a year later when he unleashed a dunk known as "The Birthday Cake," in which he blew out the candle on a cupcake perched on top of the rim. Better yet, it did not appear to be anyone's birthday.

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    Green had another pretty special dunk in that competition that didn't translate quite so well to television. For his fourth attempt, Green took off his shoes for a through-the-legs slam. As anyone who has ever set foot on a basketball court in just socks knows, this is really, really difficult:

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  • Sorry, contenders, Ray Allen is not returning to the NBA this season

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The NBA's contenders will have to look for shooters elsewhere. Future Hall of Famer Ray Allen, the league's all-time leader in made 3-pointers, will not play this season. The 39-year-old Allen announced his decision through his agent, Jim Tanner of Tandem Media and Entertainment.

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    Here are the relevant quotes from the press release:

    Allen had been mentioned as a potential late addition to contending teams since the regular season began this fall. At various points, that group of potential suitors has included the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. These teams generally appeared to have given up on bringing Allen back to the league by February's trade deadline, but the official news will end speculation for now.

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  • Otto Porter loses Tony Snell on defense, just stands still and stares

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    There is an old basketball truism that defenders should not be caught ball-watching on defense. The idea is pretty simple — when guys focus on the ball, they lose sight of other offensive players and allow them to get open shots. Anyone with any experience in basketball does not need an example to prove the point.

    Newcomers, though, could stand to learn a lot from the mistake Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter made in the final seconds of Tuesday night's game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Then again, merely stating that Porter got caught ball-watching does not communicate the hilarity of whatever caused him to allow Tony Snell to get open.

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    Let's take a look on Vine, too, because a play this silly benefits from endless viewings:

    Porter is not going to live this moment down any time soon. The brilliant folks at The Wizznutzz have already turned him into a meme:

    new trend: OTTOING u jus stand on a lonely street corner in akimbo position waiting for the asteroid pic.twitter.com/7I6LFRQihX

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  • Josh Smith shooshes crowd, fails as Hawks storm back to beat Rockets

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Houston Rockets forward Josh Smith has heard a lot of criticism over the past few years that he takes too many three-pointers. Those comments are accurate — Smith hasn't topped 31 percent from long range since 2010-11 — but it's easy to see how he may have grown tired of the naysayers after several years. He probably gets the gist at this point.

    We can understand, then, why Smith may have chosen to respond to the haters during the Rockets' visit to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. After hitting his first triple of the game with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter, the former Hawk put his finger to his lips to quiet down the booing crowd.

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    But Smith didn't stop there. He did the same thing after his second three-pointer put the Rockets up 84-72 with 11:03 left in regulation:

    Despite what would be understandable embarrassment, Smith did not try to walk back his actions. If anything, he doubled down on them. From Kevin Arnovitz for ESPN.com:

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  • Chris Paul hits the dagger over Kevin Garnett, Clips beat Wolves

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Kevin Garnett may be 38 years old, but he remains one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA. When KG needs to switch onto a guard, it's a fair bet that he will be able to stick on the ballhandler and force a tough shot. Not being the defensive force he used to be does not mean that he can't make an impact.

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    Sometimes, though, Garnett's excellent defense is not enough, which the Minnesota Timberwolves learned in Monday night's game vs. the Los Angeles Clippers at Target Center. With under a minute remaining and the Clippers up 106-103, Garnett switched onto Chris Paul after a pick from DeAndre Jordan. As he has so many times in his career, he stuck with one of the league's best ballhandlers. But Paul made several moves to get just enough space and altered his shot to make sure it would not be blocked:

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  • Jarrett Jack's game-winner allows Nets to fend off Warriors

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Enough has gone right for the Golden State Warriors this season that fans can be forgiven for expecting them to pull out an unlikely comeback victory. Down 108-99 to the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center with 3:29 left in regulation, the Warriors went on a 9-0 run over more than two minutes to tie the game on a Stephen Curry jumper (to give him eight points in the run alone) with just 1:08 on the clock. Given the Warriors' performance this season, it seemed as if they were headed for a victory on the sixth and final game of their Eastern Conference road trip.

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    It was not to be. After a Golden State turnover, the Nets called on former Warrior Jarrett Jack to create their final shot with the shot clock turned off. The defense from Curry was quality, but Jack got the better of him with this pull-up jumper:

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