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.

  • Referee Courtney Kirkland apologizes to Deron Williams for call: 'My bad' (Video)

    It is commonly believed that NBA referees provide make-up calls when they realize that they have made a mistake during a previous play. The idea is that, in a sport that has proven very difficult to officiate, a ref can admit when a foul has been called in error or an out-of-bounds decision has been issued incorrectly. At the same time, no one actually acknowledges the make-up call as such — it's just an implicit correction.

    Referee Courtney Kirkland apparently does not believe in apologizing for bad calls with more bad calls. In fact, he's willing to admit his mistakes right out in the open. In the final minute of the first half of Monday night's game between the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans, Kirkland whistled Nets point guard Deron Williams for a foul on Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans. Unfortunately, the call was late and didn't seem based on much contact. So Kirkland did something remarkable — he just told Williams he was wrong.

    Of course, a verbal apology doesn't really

    Read More »from Referee Courtney Kirkland apologizes to Deron Williams for call: 'My bad' (Video)
  • Kevin Durant makes Darrell Arthur look silly with unreal dribbling display (Video)

    We have essentially run out of new compliments for Oklahoma City Thunder uber-star Kevin Durant. In a season that figures to earn the 25-year-old his first MVP award, Durant has elevated his game to new levels, carried a title contender for long stretches both with and without co-star Russell Westbrook, and has arguably made basketball more fun to watch than anyone else in the world over the past few months. The kid has skills.

    Yet these explanations cannot communicate everything amazing about Durant's play. Take, for instance, this incredible highlight from Monday night's 117-96 win against the visiting Denver Nuggets. In the final minute of the first quarter, KD sized up Denver forward Darrell Arthur and unleashed a torrent of dribbling moves on his way to an and-one finish. Check it out below:

    Durant finished with 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting – a quality performance that won't stand out as one of his better nights. Still, this highlight is up there with the best plays we've seen

    Read More »from Kevin Durant makes Darrell Arthur look silly with unreal dribbling display (Video)
  • Kevin Garnett says there's no exact timetable for his return to the Nets

    For the past few weeks, the Brooklyn Nets have been without the services of veteran big man Kevin Garnett, out since February 27 with a hurt back. After planning on returning for March 10's home game against the Toronto Raptors before becoming a late scratch, it's unclear exactly when Garnett will return to the court. While the Nets have performed quite well in his absence with an 8-2 record, it figures that Brooklyn wants KG back as soon as possible.

    Unfortunately, that return date remains uncertain. Speaking to reporters for the first time in three weeks on Thursday, Garnett said that there's no timetable for his recovery. From Tim Bontemps for the New York Post:

    “Very [frustrating],” Garnett said following Thursday’s practice at the Nets’ practice facility. “But it’s a world in which I haven’t been a part of. I’d like to think that I’ve been known for my strong back and shoulders, but it is what it is, and I’m just trying to be a student of all of it, but at the same time being

    Read More »from Kevin Garnett says there's no exact timetable for his return to the Nets
  • Kevin Love scores late OT winner to put Wolves over Mavericks (Video)

    As we head into the final weeks of the NBA regular season, the most interesting battle in the standings -- apart from the race for top lottery odds between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers -- appears to be the battle for the final few playoff spots in the Western Conference. With the Dallas Mavericks (7th), Memphis Grizzlies (8th), and Phoenix Suns (9th) all entering Wednesday's games within 2 1/2 games of each other, a few wins and losses here and there could change the postseason picture substantially.

    On Wednesday night, the Mavs found themselves in a fight against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, a team holding out hope for playoff berth at four games back of Phoenix. After playing to a standstill in regulation, the Mavs took a 122-121 lead on a Dirk Nowitzki basket with 33 seconds left in regulation. On the next possession, the Wolves got the ball to star power forward Kevin Love, who went to work.

     

    As the video shows, guard Devin Harris picked up Love on a switch,

    Read More »from Kevin Love scores late OT winner to put Wolves over Mavericks (Video)
  • Knicks fans welcome Phil Jackson to MSG with standing ovation (Video)

    The marriage between the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson is becoming more and more real. After Tuesday's introductory press conference, the team's new president attended tonight's game at Madison Square Garden vs. the East-leading Indiana Pacers. Despite a strong early performance from the home team, it's safe to say that Jackson was the star of the night.

    During a first-quarter timeout, Jackson was introduced to the crowd. They reacted with a standing ovation, which you can watch below:

    For a few days, at least, it looks like Jackson and the Knicks are a good fit. In an interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters, Jackson expressed his desire to retain All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony this summer, and Melo has said several times that he looks forward to learning from the 13-time NBA champion. There would appear to be a foundation for a working relationship here, if not total stability.

    The big question, of course, is how long that scenario will last. Throughout the James Dolan era in New

    Read More »from Knicks fans welcome Phil Jackson to MSG with standing ovation (Video)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers security stops a fan's court-storming before it even starts

    Kyrie Irving searches the crowd for invading fans (AP Photo/Tony Dejak).

    The security crew for Cleveland Cavaliers home games at Quicken Loans Arena has had its fair share of run-ins with court-rushing fans over the past two seasons. In March 2013, an enterprising young man rushed the court to tell LeBron James to return to Cleveland as a free agent. This December, another fan told current Cavs star Kyrie Irving not to leave town. And just two weeks ago, another fan approached Kyrie before getting taken down by security. Apparently the crew is getting better at stopping fans before anything too dangerous can happen.

    They're getting so good, in fact, that the latest planned court-storming was stopped before it could even start.

    At around 7:55 local time, a fan sitting courtside tweeted that he would go on the court if he received 1000 retweets. He even added photos to prove it.

    As you can see, the tweet received some attention. It got close enough that

    Read More »from Cleveland Cavaliers security stops a fan's court-storming before it even starts
  • LeBron James says he needs to re-adjust to playing with Dwyane Wade

    When LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2010 to form the Miami Heat's Big Three, it was assumed that it would take the star trio some time to figure out how to play with each other. While that process took longer than many expected, they (and particularly James and Wade) settled on a system and hierarchy that has helped them to two consecutive NBA titles. Whatever difficulties presented themselves at the start, the Heat got through them and thrived.

    This season, however, has presented new challenges. With the Heat set on conserving the aging Wade for the postseason, the team has sat him in various situations, including the second game of back-to-backs, on his way to playing in 48 of 65 games. Due to those planned absences, LeBron has had to move between playing with and without Wade with foreseeable but nonetheless irregular patterns.

    James remains the most talented player in the NBA, but it appears that he has had to adjust to playing with and without Wade. This past

    Read More »from LeBron James says he needs to re-adjust to playing with Dwyane Wade
  • Paul George dunks on Henry Sims to punctuate Pacers win over Sixers (Video)

    A matchup between the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers would figure to be a one-sided affair. The former, despite a recent drop in form, has been one of the best teams in the NBA throughout the season and currently holds the best record in the East. The latter came into the season with a profoundly lacking roster and is currently battling the Milwaukee Bucks for the right to 25 percent odds of winning the draft lottery.

    It was something of a surprise, then, to see the Sixers stay so close for so much of Monday night's game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. With 2:00 remaining in regulation, Indiana held just an 88-85 lead, close enough to give Philadelphia hope of breaking their 20-game losing streak.

    It was not to be -- Indiana apparently caught wind of the situation and went on a 9-2 run on their way to a 99-90 win. Along the way, star wing Paul George punctuated the victory with this emphatic dunk on Henry Sims.

    George finished with 24 points on some peculiar shooting stats (4-of-14

    Read More »from Paul George dunks on Henry Sims to punctuate Pacers win over Sixers (Video)
  • Sixers GM Sam Hinkie drove Evan Turner to the airport after his trade to the Pacers

    The trade deadline can be a trying and anxious time for NBA players. As rumors swirl, these athletes must consider the possibility that their lives will change drastically over the course of a few hours. For those who actually are dealt, the move brings with it a number of responsibilities and tasks, including but not limited to finding a place to live and figuring out how to fit a PS4 into a carry-on bag.

    In the rush to get everything done, it figures that the traded player probably doesn't want to think extra-hard about getting a ride to the airport to join his new teammates. Luckily, when Evan Turner was traded from the lowly Philadelphia 76ers to the East-leading Indiana Pacers on deadline day nearly one month ago, he didn't have to look far for a driver. That's because the man who traded him offered one. From John Gonzalez for CSNPhilly.com (via EOB):

    There’s an old joke about volunteering to drive an unwanted player to the airport just to get him out of town. Except when the

    Read More »from Sixers GM Sam Hinkie drove Evan Turner to the airport after his trade to the Pacers
  • Check out the Cleveland Cavaliers' awesome 3D floor projection system (Video)

    Cavs owner Dan Gilbert tells all Cavs fans to put on their 3D glasses (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports).

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have suffered a downright horrible season in 2013-14, going from postseason hopefuls to 10th-place outsiders working through some serious organizational issues. This season hasn't gone nearly as well as planned, even if they technically retain a chance at one of the downtrodden East's final playoff berths.

    Yet every cloud has a silver lining, and last week the Cavs brought us one of the coolest visual experiences seen in the NBA this year. As part of the franchise's celebration and jersey retirement ceremony for beloved center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the team unveiled a new 3D projection system for the court at Quicken Loans Arena. The result is pretty incredible (via All Ball via Deadspin):

    The display has several aspects of typical video board packages, like highlights from this year's team and days of franchise past, but the experience is totally different. The 3D projection is reminiscent of some of material from the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi

    Read More »from Check out the Cleveland Cavaliers' awesome 3D floor projection system (Video)

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