Eric Freeman

  • Like
  • Follow
Author

Eric Freeman is a contributor to Ball Don't Lie. As a lifetime fan of the Golden State Warriors, he has learned not to set high expectations for his favorite teams. Eric is also a co-founder of The Classical. He lives in San Francisco.

  • Jimmy Butler's 53 lead Bulls' comeback over Sixers in OT win

    All-Star guard Jimmy Butler has taken over as the Chicago Bulls' leading star early this NBA season. If there were any remaining doubt about his importance to the team, he erased it in Thursday's visit to the Philadelphia 76ers.

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

    Butler set a new career-high and matched Stephen Curry's NBA season-high scoring output of 53 points (15-of-30 FG, 21-of-25 FT) in Chicago's 115-111 overtime win. The Bulls trailed by as many as 24 points midway through the second quarter before taking back control against the team with the league's worst record. The Bulls also trailed by 10 early in the fourth before Butler and E'Twaun Moore (who scored seven of his 14 in overtime) took over to capture the win.

    Butler's outburst ranks as just one of his notable scoring performances this season, including a franchise-record 40-point second half against the Toronto Raptors a few weeks ago. He already has seven 30-point games this season —

    Read More »from Jimmy Butler's 53 lead Bulls' comeback over Sixers in OT win
  • Nerlens Noel left the opening tip for a bathroom break

    Imagine, if you will, that an NBA game is like a very long meeting at your own office. Despite its long length, there are still opportunities for employees to take care of their personal business, whether in the restroom or responding to a family issue. Most employers won't freak out about such matters, because they come up during the course of everyday life.

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

    Yet most employees shouldn't have to run the bathroom in the first few minutes of that meeting. And that's why it's fairly notable that Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel had to leave for the locker room right before the opening tip of Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bulls at Wells Fargo Center.

    Players leave when nature calls fairly often during games, but we usually don't see it before the opening tip. Noel either appears to have planned poorly or eaten something that didn't agree with him. The Sixers described his ailment as "light nausea"

    Read More »from Nerlens Noel left the opening tip for a bathroom break
  • Prigioni gets 8 steals in 15 minutes, is some kind of master thief

    NBA role players rarely get to make a big statement in the box score. A big statistical performance for an eighth or ninth man might involve 10 points, 3-of-4 shooting from the field, or a mix of three assists and four rebounds. These players' contributions are not always covered by these stats and may come in key moments more than they do over the course of a full game.

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

    Occasionally, though, the role player's typical contributions get so bizarrely blown out of proportion that they stick out in the box score even more than the gaudy stats of stars. That's exactly what happened for Pablo Prigioni of the Los Angeles Clippers in Wednesday night's 104-90 win against the Miami Heat at Staples Center. The 38-year-old point guard played only 15 minutes but picked up a stunning eight steals. Here's a look at all of them:

    No other player in Basketball Reference's game archives (back to 1985-86) has ever finished a game

    Read More »from Prigioni gets 8 steals in 15 minutes, is some kind of master thief
  • Green-less Warriors fail in comeback to Nuggets, fall to 36-3

    The Golden State Warriors spent two games without Stephen Curry in late December, splitting the pair in a respectable but clearly shorthanded showing without one of the best players in the NBA. Wednesday saw Golden State play its first game of the season without the rested Draymond Green, and the result proved once again that Curry and Green are Nos. 1 and 1A when it comes to assessing the most important players on the league's best team.

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

    The Warriors fell 112-110 to the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center, bringing the defending champions' record to 36-3. Despite serious second-half struggles, the Warriors had two chances to go ahead in the final seconds of regulation. Trailing 109-102 with all of a minute remaining, scored five points in 23 seconds (including a 33-footer from Curry) to set up a key defensive possession. That ended with an Andre Iguodala block of Danilo

    Read More »from Green-less Warriors fail in comeback to Nuggets, fall to 36-3
  • Westbrook, Villanueva ejected for separate incidents in OKC-Dallas

    The Dallas Mavericks entered Wednesday night's game at the Oklahoma City Thunder shorthanded after opting to rest four starters following Tuesday's overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. A poor decision by veteran forward Charlie Villanueva left them without a fill-in starter by the end of the first half, but that incident eventually played a part in the Thunder losing a much bigger name just a few minutes later.

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

    With 5:16 remaining in the second quarter, Westbrook and Dallas guard J.J. Barea got tangled on a post-up as the former went up for a shot attempt. Westbrook took exception to Barea's contact and pushed him on the way down (either as retaliation or to gain separation), which started a minor kerfuffle. The incident may have died down fairly quickly if not for the actions of Villanueva, who grabbed at Westbrook's throat (and arguably did the same to Serge Ibaka) as an unnecessary bit of escalation. Take

    Read More »from Westbrook, Villanueva ejected for separate incidents in OKC-Dallas
  • LeBron dunk, Kyrie dagger push Cavs streak to 8 in OT win vs. Mavs

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are overwhelming favorites to win the East in large part due to the wealth of talent on their roster. Whereas other teams must rely on executing intricate game plans with a relatively slim margin of error, the Cavs can rest assured knowing that amazing individual performances can often bail them out of difficult situations. It's not all they need to win a title, but it certainly helps.

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

    LeBron James and Kyrie Irving showed why that advantage matters on one play each late in Tuesday night's game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The first found the Cavs down 95-93 with just 28 seconds remaining in regulation. That changed when the Mavericks left LeBron James with a clear lane to the basket:

    James wanted a trip to the free throw line, as well, but he had to settle for one of the best crunch-time dunks you'll ever see. Iman Shumpert stripped Dirk Nowitzki at the

    Read More »from LeBron dunk, Kyrie dagger push Cavs streak to 8 in OT win vs. Mavs
  • The Atlanta Hawks have a really, really intense Uno circle

    Jeff Teague deals Chris Bosh the basketball equivalent of a Draw Four. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)Jeff Teague deals Chris Bosh the basketball equivalent of a Draw Four. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)NBA players spend a lot of time together needing to kill time. That occurs most commonly on the team plane, where flights can stretch for hours. Teammates can pass the time sleeping, watching movies, or playing card games like bourré with teammates. But very few have picked up a game most often played by bored and families and pre-adolescent children.

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

    Enter a fairly group of Atlanta Hawks, who have apparently embraced the card game Uno as an airplane pastime. According to a new feature from Scott Caciolla of The New York Times, the Uno circle takes the game seriously enough to banish members for missing games and adjust the rules to encourage more action:

    It all started innocently enough when Jeff Teague, the team’s starting point guard, brought a deck of Uno cards on a trip last season. He gradually recruited several teammates — Bazemore, center Al Horford and guards Kyle Korver and Dennis Schroder — to start
    Read More »from The Atlanta Hawks have a really, really intense Uno circle
  • Warriors hold off Heat, Curry stars despite rare negative night

    It takes a player of Stephen Curry's caliber to look good in a game that ranks as his worst of the season by at least one metric. Yet that's exactly what the NBA's early MVP favorite did in his 38 minutes during Monday's 111-103 victory over the Miami Heat at Oracle Arena.

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

    Curry scored nine of his game-high 31 points (11-of-27 FG, 4-of-11 3FG) in the final five minutes, including a dagger three with 26 seconds remaining, to fend off the impressive Heat in what was a tight game for most of its runtime. Yet Curry also fell below an important threshold for the first time this season by finishing with a minus-3 for his first negative plus-minus of the 2015-16 season so far. Curry had previously broken even in the Warriors' December 12 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the team's first of the season.

    It bears mention that plus-minus is often a vague indicator of a player's performance, particularly when it covers only one

    Read More »from Warriors hold off Heat, Curry stars despite rare negative night
  • Kobe misses late, Lakers come up just short again vs. Thunder

    Who knew the Los Angeles Lakers could be so fun? One day after erasing a 27-point deficit against the Sacramento Kings before falling just short of a win, the 8-29 Lakers hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center and played the team with the NBA's fourth-best record about as well as could reasonably be expected of a group on the second night of a back-to-back against a far superior opponent. It ended in a third-consecutive loss, but at least the Lakers gave the people the Staples Center crowd its money's worth.

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

    Much of the credit should go to Louis Williams, who put up 23 of his career-high 44 points (12-of-25 FG, 15-of-15 FT) in the fourth quarter to help the Lakers keep pace with the Thunder. With Thursday's star D'Angelo Russell limited to just eight minutes due to the ankle sprain he suffered late against the Kings, Williams took over the Lakers offense early in the fourth and proved responsible for

    Read More »from Kobe misses late, Lakers come up just short again vs. Thunder
  • Curry's amazing alley-oop highlights Warriors blowout of Blazers

    The Golden State Warriors took control of their Friday night game at the Portland Trail Blazers well before the final few minutes of the third quarter. A 38-point first quarter helped stake the visitors a 74-52 lead that saw the NBA's best offense playing near its peak. Portland made a run to start the second half that cut the deficit to 13 points, but Golden State was still up 16 when Brandon Rush grabbed a rebound just inside the 8:00 mark.

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

    I mention these circumstances only to note that the run-up to this Stephen Curry pass was not particularly dramatic. It's the kind of highlight that stands on its own, like a fantastic poster-dunk. Anyway, just watch it:

    Yes, that's a no-look, over-the-shoulder alley-oop to Andrew Bogut, who somehow anticipated it because there's no reason not to plan for everything when playing next to the reigning MVP. The Warriors dominated in a 128-108 win, but fans could be forgiven

    Read More »from Curry's amazing alley-oop highlights Warriors blowout of Blazers

Pagination

(3,069 Stories)