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.

  • Curry's ankle injury creates concern in Warriors' Game 1 blowout

    The record-setting Golden State Warriors pursuit of a second-straight NBA championship started off very well with a convincing 104-78 blowout of the No. 8 seed Houston Rockets in Game 1 of their first-round series Saturday afternoon at Oracle Arena. The win seemed to confirm everything analysts predicted heading into the series — that the Rockets wouldn't be able to stop the Warriors in transition, that Houston could not match Golden State's focus, and that a 73-win team just has too much for a massive disappointment that stumbled to a 41-41 season.

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    Yet Warriors fans can be forgiven for feeling a little uneasy in the wake of the victory. Presumptive back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry played just three minutes in the second half after tweaking his right ankle. Curry appeard to hurt himself at first on a shot attempt near the Warriors bench with a few minutes remaining in the second quarter. He appeared to be in more

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  • BDL’s 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks

    One of the wackier NBA regular seasons in history is over, for better or worse, and the two-month playoff run is set to begin. With the first round upon us, the minds at Ball Don't Lie decided to preview each series. Here's our look at the No. 3 Oklahoma City Thunder and No. 6 Dallas Mavericks.

    How They Got Here

    • Oklahoma City: The Thunder's season started with a mixture of hope and pressure thanks to the introduction of new head coach Billy Donovan and the return of Kevin Durant from foot injuries that limited him throughout the 2014-15 season. With Durant set to become an unrestricted free agent this forthcoming offseason, the conventional wisdom was that the Thunder needed to prove themselves as a tactically diverse team with the ability to beat the likes of the Warriors and Spurs in many different ways.

    It didn't work out as planned, although that wasn't necessarily a problem for OKC. Donovan's Thunder look a lot like Scott Brooks's Thunder — the offense relies heavily on Durant

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  • BDL's 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets

    One of the wackier NBA regular seasons in history is over, for better or worse, and the two-month playoff run is set to begin. With the first round upon us, the minds at Ball Don't Lie decided to preview each series. Here's our look at the top-seeded Golden State Warriors and No. 8 Houston Rockets.

    How They Got Here

    • Golden State: Perhaps you've heard that the Warriors won 73 games, a new single-season record. There were plenty of other milestones along the way — a record 24-0 start, a record 54-game home winning streak, winning at least 65 games in consecutive seasons for the second time in history, becoming the first team with at least 65 wins to improve on that total, and avoiding back-to-back losses for the first time in NBA history.

    Yet the records don't communicate half of what was amazing these Warriors. Returning from what many (including me) considered a charmed championship season, Golden State became a better team despite (or maybe due to) dealing with more adversity than

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  • Warriors reach 73 wins in blowout to set new single-season record

    The biggest story of the NBA's regular season has reached its resolution. It ends with the Golden State Warriors holding a 73-9 record, a new league record for wins in a single season.

    The Warriors defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 at Oracle Arena on Wednesday to end the season on a four-game winning streak that puts them one win ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the new mark. If the Warriors can repeat as champions, they will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest teams in NBA history and will be considered a budding dynasty.

    Stephen Curry put on a show in the Warrior's record-setting win. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)Stephen Curry put on a show in the Warrior's record-setting win. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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    This final win concludes a thrilling regular season for Golden State in which they dominated the NBA landscape. They started the season with a record 24 victories in a row, continued a home winning streak that ended with an all-time high 54 straight at Oracle Arena, became the second team to win 70 games in one season and 65 games in consecutive seasons (and the only one

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  • The 2016 NBA Playoffs bracket is set

    The 82-game schedule has come to close. All the seeds are set, and it's now time for the NBA's postseason.

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    Look below for a brief guide to every first-round series, including records, seeds, and some brief notes on where each squad stands.

    No. 1 Golden State Warriors (73-9) vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets (41-41)

    The Warriors will be huge favorites against Dwight Howard and the Rockets. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)The Warriors will be huge favorites against Dwight Howard and the Rockets. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    The Warriors enter the postseason as favorites to repeat as champions. Because, you know, they won 73 games this season. No matter the matchup, Golden State will be the top draw in every round of this postseason. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and the rest of the bunch make for appointment viewing.

    The Rockets were the biggest disappointment in the NBA this season even after salvaging a playoff berth in the final week. James Harden remains one of the best scorers in the sport, but inconsistency of effort and defense make it difficult to put much faith in Houston moving forward. They have the

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  • NBA Playoff Picture: The scenarios at stake on season's final day

    The Heat have a chance to clinch the No. 3 seed with a win on Wednesday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)The Heat have a chance to clinch the No. 3 seed with a win on Wednesday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)It's finally here. Nearly six months since the season tipped off in late October, the last night of the 2015-2016 NBA regular season will commence on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. While the day's big stories are clearly the Warriors' chance at 73 wins and Kobe Bryant's final game, there are plenty of games with potential impact on the postseason's participants and seeds. With that in mind, this installment of the Playoff Picture will focus primarily on all the scenarios at play on Wednesday rather than Tuesday's result.

    However, we should briefly run through the three games that mattered on Tuesday.

    Heat 99, Pistons 93: The most important game of the night saw the Heat put themselves in position to clinch the East's No. 3 seed with a win in their season finale. The teams played to a 50-50 standstill through the first half, but the Heat pulled it out in the second half behind 25 points from Joe Johnson (10-of-15 FG in full Iso Joe mode). The Pistons shot just 40.7 percent from the field,

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  • NBA Playoff Picture: Mavs make it, Jazz get blues, Cavs grab No. 1

    J.J. Barea and the Dallas Mavericks will live to play another week. (Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)J.J. Barea and the Dallas Mavericks will live to play another week. (Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)With just a few days left in the NBA's regular season, several games per night make a big difference in the fights for playoff berths and seeding. This post catches you up on everything that matters to these races.

    The ayes of Texas: Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, who clinched a playoff berth for the 15th time in 16 seasons Monday with a clutch 101-92 road win over the Utah Jazz. The Mavs can finish no worse than the No. 7 seed and could rise as high as No. 5 with a win in the finale and season-closing losses from the Memphis Grizzlies (twice) and Portland Trail Blazers (once). Wherever they end up, this season stands as a good one following this summer's DeAndre Jordan fiasco and number of injuries to a veteran-laden roster.

    The clinching victory was a picture of consistency. Dallas out-scored Utah in all four quarter, though without outright dominance — three by just two, and the other by three. That steadiness helped the Mavs get to as many as 15 halfway through the

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  • NBA Playoff Picture: Pistons clinch, Jazz blow a big opportunity

    With less than a week left in the NBA's regular season, several games per night make a big difference in the fights for playoff berths and seeding. This post catches you up on everything that matters to these races.

    GAMES THAT MATTERED A LOT

    Detroit is back: Congratulations to the Detroit Pistons, who locked up their first playoff berth since 2009 and eliminated the Washington Wizards with a 112-99 win at the Palace. The Pistons will enter the postseason with one of the final two seeds in the East, a meaningful accomplishment given the competition throughout the conference this season and the relatively quick progress they have seen in Stan Van Gundy's second year as head coach.

    Washington rested John Wall for the second straight game, and Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson took full advantage with a dominant 39 points (14-of-20 FG) and nine assists in 34 minutes. The Wizards were in it until late and managed to tie at 92-92 with 8:33 remaining in regulation, but the Pistons never

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  • NBA Playoff Picture: Bulls, Rockets nearly out of disappointments

    If you can't beat 'em ... (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)If you can't beat 'em ... (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)With less than a week left in the NBA's regular season, several games per night make a big difference in the fights for playoff berths and seeding. This post catches you up on everything that matters to these races.

    GAMES THAT MATTERED A LOT

    Bulls on parade Priceline, looking for reasonably priced vacation packages: After Tuesday's dispiriting 16-point loss to the injury-ravaged Memphis Grizzlies, the Chicago Bulls entered Thursday's meeting with the Miami Heat needing to turn in one of their best efforts of the season to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. In keeping with a season-long theme, though, they just couldn't finish the job.

    Despite digging in and holding Miami under 40 percent shooting through the first two quarters to take a six-point lead into halftime, the Bulls just couldn't hold the Heat down after intermission, giving up 66 second-half points on 55.1 percent shooting in a game they absolutely had to have. Dwyane Wade scored 15 of his 21 points in the third and fourth

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  • Warriors Wins Watch: No. 70 clinches West, keeps hope for 73 alive

    The Golden State Warriors inspired rare doubt on Tuesday night after suffering an overtime loss to the lottery-bound Minnesota Timberwolves. While no 69-9 team can truly be in crisis, dropping a second home game in three tries in the midst of a string of sub-optimal performances made the Warriors look anything like a team ready to set a new single-season record for wins. Were they tired? Had the pursuit of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' record finally gotten to them? Were they better off resting key players for the postseason and dropping the pursuit of 73 victories?

    Those questions may still persist for many fans and analysis, but they'll be a lot less prominent following Thursday's 112-101 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors became the second team in NBA history to reach 70 wins by seizing control of the game early, adjusting their tactics from their March loss in San Antonio, and generally looking like a group good enough

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