Eric Freeman

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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.

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

    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.

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

    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.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:

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

    Mar 28, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts with guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Warriors beat the Bucks 108-95. (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)Mar 28, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reacts with guard Stephen Curry (30) in the fourth quarter during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Warriors beat the Bucks 108-95. (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)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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    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.

    The Bucks' loss dropped them to 2 1/2

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

    Mar 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers fans celebrate the Pacers' victory during a game against the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Chicago 98-84. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)Mar 6, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers fans celebrate the Pacers' victory during a game against the Chicago Bulls at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Chicago 98-84. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

    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.

    The NBA has now joined the NCAA with a statement of its own. In a joint press release issued Saturday, the NBA, Indiana Pacers, WNBA, and Indiana Fever made it clear that they will

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  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: The East goes through Atlanta

    DeMarre Carroll has reason to smile. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)DeMarre Carroll has reason to smile. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)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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    Hail to the Hawks: The Atlanta Hawks' 99-86 win over the Miami Heat combined with the Cleveland Cavaliers' 106-98 loss to the Brooklyn Nets to clinch the No. 1 seed for the Hawks (on 2 Chainz Night, no less!). The result has seemingly been a foregone conclusion since Atlanta took control of the conference several months ago, but it's a meaningful accomplishment nonetheless for a squad that barely made it into the postseason last season and was tapped by some (including me) as a lottery participant this October. Starting forwards DeMarre Carroll (24 points) and Paul Millsap (21 points) both shot 8-of-12 from the field to lead the Hawks.

    With 10 games left to play, Coach of the Year favorite Mike Budenholzer

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

    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:

    The teams each scored five points in the first extra period, but the Wizards gained some separation in the second OT. Wall came up big again with five seconds remaining to give his team a three-point lead on

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  • Stephen Curry goes for 38 as Warriors crush Grizzlies

    Mar 27, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) attempts a shot in the second half against Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes (12) at FedExForum. Warriors defeated the Grizzlies 107-84. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)Mar 27, 2015; Memphis, TN, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) attempts a shot in the second half against Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes (12) at FedExForum. Warriors defeated the Grizzlies 107-84. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)Conventional NBA wisdom says that a team that has not made the conference since 1976, is led by a head coach who had never served on any staff prior to this season, and boasts zero players with any NBA Finals appearances does not have the experience to win a title. It could be worth remembering that there's a first time for everything, though, because the Golden State Warriors are playing well enough to buck those trends.

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    The NBA-best Warriors improved their record to 59-13 on Friday with a 107-84 beatdown of the West's second-place Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. The win ties the franchise record for wins set in 1975-76 and breaks the previous record for road wins with 25. Golden State has now won eight in a row and 13 of their last 14 contests, moving to within a single win of clinching homecourt advantage until the NBA Finals in the process. With a four-game lead on the Atlanta Hawks, they're also

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  • Longtime NBA announcer and NCAA star Hot Rod Hundley dies at 80

    Rod Hundley, one of the greatest players in West Virginia Mountaineers history and a fixture in the NBA for nearly 50 years, has died at 80 years old. The first-overall pick in the 1957 NBA Draft, known by his nickname "Hot Rod," made two All-Star teams as a member of the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers before moving to the broadcast booth, where he served as the longtime television and radio play-by-play man of the New Orleans and Utah Jazz.

    Current West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins tweeted the news on Friday night:

    The Jazz began a long social media tribute to the franchise legend with this tweet:

    More comments have come from many former colleagues, players, friends,

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  • NBA Playoff Picture Update: What's at stake in Friday's big matchups?

    Dec 16, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) is defended by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) at FedExForum. Grizzlies defeated the Warriors 105-98. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)Dec 16, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) is defended by Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) at FedExForum. Grizzlies defeated the Warriors 105-98. (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)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]

    Thursday's lone game was a notable one for the playoff picture, with the Milwaukee Bucks beating the Indiana Pacers 111-107 to maintain their hold on sixth place and send the losers into a virtual three-way tie for ninth place in the East. Nevertheless, a single result is not going to change the postseason landscape too much. With that in mind, we've decided to eschew an in-depth breakdown on the Bucks win and turn our attention to a heavy 13-game Friday with several games of note. Read on for a look at the biggest matchups and how they could impact the standings.

    Golden State Warriors at Memphis Grizzlies, 8 p.m. ET: A matchup between the top two teams in the league's best conference would be notable no

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  • Rockets outlast Pelicans in Dwight Howard's slight return to action

    Mar 25, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Rockets defeated the Pelicans 95-93. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)Mar 25, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) is defended by New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the second half of a game at the Smoothie King Center. The Rockets defeated the Pelicans 95-93. (Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)The Houston Rockets made it very clear that Dwight Howard's return to the court in Wednesday's visit to the New Orleans Pelicans would not find the eight-time All-Star pushing the limits of the sore right knee that had kept him out since January 23. Based on that expectation, Howard's first game back was a success, even if it provided few opportunities to judge his current level of play.

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

    Howard started and played his as-expected 16 minutes in the Rockets' 95-93 victory over the Pelicans, logging four points (2-of-3 FG), seven rebounds (all defensive), two assists, a block, and four fouls in a clearly secondary role. The mere fact that he played in a real NBA game is good news for the Rockets as they jockey for seeding and prepare for the playoffs, but this game also served as a reminder that Howard is not at his typical star level and may not be at any point again this season.

    That's not necessarily a

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  • George Hill's winning lay-up snaps Pacers' 6-game losing streak

    The fight for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference has been one of the tightest races in the NBA this season, with positions changing seemingly every day as several teams attempt to become humongous underdogs to the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers in the opening round of the postseason. A strong second half has allowed the Indiana Pacers to become one of those squads, although a three-game losing streak had sent them from a potential upset pick to a team just trying to claw its way back into the top eight in the standings. The Pacers entered Wednesday night's road game against the Washington Wizards — themselves in the midst of a four-game losing streak — needing a win to keep up with the competition.

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    Indiana got that streak-snapping victory, although not without some drama. Down 76-70 after three quarters, the visitors performed well in the final period to grab a 101-98 lead

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