Eric Freeman

  • James Harden scores 51 to lead Rockets over Kings, Cousins

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 hr ago

    The Houston Rockets are having a tough time, at least for a team with one of the four best records in the NBA. With starting guard and defensive heartbeat Patrick Beverley out for the season and center Dwight Howard just getting back into form following two months on the bench, a team with reasonable expectations of a championship has had to recalibrate itself with just two weeks left until the start of the postseason. The Rockets are in an unenviable position despite their excellent record.

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    Harden wasn't the only star to come up with a huge statistical game. Fellow All-Star and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins put up one of the most complete games for a big man in recent history with 24 points (11-of-25 FG), 21 rebounds, 10 assists, six blocks, and three steals in 39 minutes.

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  • Russell Westbrook has his eye on an NBA award, but not the one you think

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 hrs ago

    While his candidacy has fallen off a bit in recent weeks, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook remains one of the contenders for this NBA season's MVP award. However, when asked about his chances of winning the trophy roughly two weeks ago, Westbrook showed no interest, instead calling it meaningless to his goals and declaring a reporter to be the true MVP frontrunner. In all, it was one of Westbrook's more endearing media moments of the season.

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    Yet it's possible that Westbrook was merely avoiding the cold hard truth — that he is in fact intensely focused on another individual award that would bring him personal glory. In a terrific new profile of the enigmatic guard for Sports Illustrated, Lee Jenkins reveals Westbrook's real aim:

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  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: Brooklyn begins to separate from a crowded field

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 22 hrs ago

    With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds.

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    Stuck with the Nets: Among the four squads vying for the East's eighth and final playoff spot, the Brooklyn Nets stand out as the team that most needs to reach the postseason to avoid a crushingly disappointing season. Perhaps it should be no surprise, then, that they are in the best form of any of those contenders.

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    Brooklyn continued their ascent to mediocrity on Tuesday with a very important home game with the Indiana Pacers, the conference's 10th-place team that still could have swapped spots with the Nets with a win. Yet the hosts controlled the game most of the way and iced the game with this Joe Johnson three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining in regulation:

    Wednesday's Most Important Games

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  • Kevin Durant likes the idea of spending his whole career with one team

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    Kevin Durant is out for the year due to ongoing foot issues, but he remains near the center of the NBA universe. With just one more season remaining on his contract until the 26-year-old superstar becomes an unrestricted free agent during the largest salary-cap increase ever, many teams and interested observers are keeping an eye on everything KD says or does for potential insight into his pending decision. Every statement counts when so much is at stake.

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    These words should serve as a positive sign for Thunder fans, because it is clear that Durant looks at his experience with the franchise as a good one and would like to keep the relationship going past his retirement. A player would not say such things if he had one foot out the door.

  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: Raptors soar past Rockets

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds.

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    A Raptors Resurgence?: While the Toronto Raptors have already clinched the Atlantic Division and are still very much in play for the No. 3 seed in the East, the team has been in a slump for more than a month. Since beating the Atlanta Hawks on February 20, Toronto had lost 10 straight to opponents over .500 during a 6-13 stretch overall. Despite their still-impressive record, they've looked like a squad that could be upset in the first round.

    It's just one game, but the Raptors' 99-96 home win over the Houston Rockets on Monday may represent a change in fortune. DeMar DeRozan was the biggest reason for the victory, in part because of this tough jumper to put Toronto up three points with 18 seconds remaining in regulation:

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  • Andrew Wiggins dunks on Rudy Gobert twice, fears no man

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The NBA's year-end awards identify some of key players in any given season, from the most valuable to the most improved to the most productive rookie. Yet these accolades don't always communicate what certain players mean to the league on a nightly basis. For instance, take two of this season's frontrunners — likely Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins and highly regarded Most Improved Player candidate Rudy Gobert. Both young men have made statements as top players for lottery-bound teams, but they have arguably received more attention for standing out as must-watch, highly ready performers. They are budding stars who already lead the league in internet attention.

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    It's fitting, then, that Wiggins and Gobert were involved in one of the season's top dunks during the second quarter of Monday night's game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz at the Target Center.

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  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: Warriors come out, play, clinch top seed

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds.

    [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit]

    Wonderful Warriors: With a 108-95 win at the Milwaukee Bucks, the Golden State Warriors have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and will have homecourt advantage in every playoff series at least until the NBA Finals. The team's 60th win also broke a franchise record for victories previously set in 1975-76, the last time they finished with the conference's best record.

    MVP candidate Steph Curry led the way with 25 points on 8-of-13 FG and 6-of-9 3FG, drawing to within 25 of his record for most triples in a single season. That mark is in sight with nine games left, but it's unclear how much Curry will play with the team's regular season goals already met.

    Sunday's Most Important Games

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  • NBA, Pacers issue joint statement against Indiana 'religious freedom' law

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The state of Indiana and its governor Mike Pence have received substantial criticism over this week for the passage and signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that keeps state and local government from prohibiting individuals and businesses from expressing strongly held religious beliefs. Critics believe that the measure provides cover for discrimination against and denial of service to LGBT individuals in practice, among other concerns. Many individual organizations have spoken out against the measure, including the Indianapolis-headquartered NCAA, which will also hold the Men's Basketball Final Four in the city next weekend. President Mark Emmert clearly expressed his displeasure with the law on Thursday, reiterating its commitment to welcoming all people to its tournaments and events.

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  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: The East goes through Atlanta

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    With just a few weeks remaining until the NBA postseason, every night can impact the standings. NBA Playoff Picture keeps you up to date on all the most important news for all 16 berths and seeds.

    [DraftKings: FREE entry to huge cash Fantasy Basketball Contest with first deposit]

    With 10 games left to play, Coach of the Year favorite Mike Budenholzer will need to find a balance between resting key players and getting the team into championship shape in advance of the postseason. The good news for the Hawks is that they should be fine in the opening round regardless of how they fare in games 73 through 82. Sometimes it pays to play in the East.

    Notorious billionaire entrepreneur, tech guru, and outspoken owner Mark Cuban brought Ellis into the spotlight for other reasons, though. After one non-call, Cuban took to Twitter to complain about his leading scorer's inability to get to the free-throw line:

    It's criminal how Monta doesn't get callsPushed.Hit in face.Hit on arm.Im tired of turning in calls.Fans need to post video to wake NBA up.

    Saturday's Most Important Games

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  • John Wall saves Wizards in regulation, seals 2OT win over Hornets

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Washington Wizards have had a disappointing second half of the season, but the continued strong play of John Wall has been a saving grace. Although not without his share of stinkers, the All-Star point guard has played up to his reputation and kept the Wizards within shouting distance of homecourt advantage in the first round. Even when the Wizards eventually lose, Wall usually does his part.

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    Wall kept Washington in another game Friday night, although this time it ended with a victory. Down 96-94 to the Charlotte Hornets with seconds on the clock, the Wizards got the ball to Wall off the inbounds pass and saw him send the game to overtime for the second consecutive game with a pull-up jumper:

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