Blog Posts by Eric Freeman

  • Mike Conley leaves with apparent face injury as Grizzlies take 3-0 lead

    The Memphis Grizzlies achieved a great deal on Saturday night with a 115-109 win at the Portland Trail Blazers, opening up a 3-0 lead in their first-round NBA playoff series with a chance to complete the sweep on Tuesday. But it might have come at a cost.

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    Already nursing a limiting foot injury, star point guard Mike Conley left Game 3 with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter, shortly after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Blazers guard C.J. McCollum. You can take a look at the play here:

    Conley went back to the locker room for attention and tests before being taken to a local medical center for further evaluation. ESPN cameras caught Conley holding a bloody towel to his face after his removal from the game:

    Grizzlies TV sideline reporter Rob

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  • Stephen Curry puts up 39 to lead Warriors sweep of Pelicans

    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 25: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2015 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty ImagesNEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 25: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots against the New Orleans Pelicans during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2015 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty ImagesThe best team of the NBA's regular season has moved on to the next round. After a thrilling and improbable comeback victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 3 on Thursday, the Golden State Warriors opened Saturday's Game 4 with arguably their finest stretch of the postseason. A sizable halftime lead turned into a blowout before the Pelicans made a slight fourth-quarter comeback in the hope of keeping their season alive, but the Warriors made enough plays late to finish off the sweep with a 109-98 win.

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    Golden State's early offensive onslaught began with a 31-point first quarter that included a combined 27 points from Stephen Curry (14) and Draymond Green (13). The former has unsurprisingly been the team's offensive star of the series, but the latter has received attention primarily for his defense on New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis. Yet Green frustrated Davis in other ways in Game 4, knocking down three

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  • Kawhi, Spurs throttle Clippers in Game 3, take 2-1 series lead

    SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 24: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a shot against the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at the AT&T Center on April 24, 2015 in San Antonio, TexasSAN ANTONIO - APRIL 24: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs goes up for a shot against the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at the AT&T Center on April 24, 2015 in San Antonio, TexasThe first-round matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs is still the only series in the NBA playoffs in which both teams have wins. But it looked a whole lot less competitive in Friday night's Game 3 at the AT&T Center.

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

    After topping the Clippers in an overtime thriller to even the series in Game 2, the Spurs returned home and completely dominated the visitors in a wire-to-wire 100-73 win. San Antonio led by double digits for the final 22:30 and held a vaunted Clippers offense to several season and franchise playoff lows. Kawhi Leonard, who received his Defensive Player of the Year trophy in a pregame ceremony, scored a career playoff-high 32 points to lead the defending champs.

    The game started well for the Spurs, who scored 25 points in the opening 10 minutes behind a strong start from Leonard. However, that stretch was rare for a relatively low-scoring first half in which both teams

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  • Paul Pierce buries Raptors again, Wizards hold on for 3-0 lead

    The Toronto Raptors entered Friday's Game 3 of their first-round series with the Washington Wizards down 2-0 and in clear desperation mode. For much of the game, they looked like the team that wanted it more. But that's often not enough when the opponent has nearly every playmaker on the floor.

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    Despite a late effort from the Raptors, the Wizards held on for a 106-99 win to move within one win of a four-game sweep. The dagger came from a familiar source — veteran forward Paul Pierce, hero of Game 1 and established Toronto antagonist. A Kyle Lowry three-pointer with 40 seconds left drew the Raptors to within 102-99, giving the Wizards one possession to put the game away or to allow the visitors a chance at sending it to overtime. With the shot clock winding down, Washington star John Wall found Pierce on the perimeter for a look at a three-pointer. The attempt was a bit awkward, but the result was just fine:

    After

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  • Warriors finish late 20-point comeback with tying Curry 3, win shocker in OT

    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 23: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a three point shot during Game Three in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on April 23, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 23: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a three point shot during Game Three in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on April 23, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)Never count out the Golden State Warriors. Down 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter and 17 with 6:00 remaining in regulation, the Warriors fought back to tie the New Orleans Pelicans in the final seconds to send Game 3 of their first-round series to overtime. Golden State continued its strong play in the opening minutes of the extra period and held on during a late New Orleans push to come away with a shocking 123-119 win at the Smoothie King Center, opening up a 3-0 lead in the series. Given the form of this loss, it's an open question as to how much energy or will the Pelicans can muster when they face elimination in Saturday's Game 4.

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

    The marquee moment of the game took place on the Warriors' final possession of regulation. Anthony Davis split a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to give the Pelicans a 108-105 lead, or small enough to give the Warriors a chance at the tie.

    In case you

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  • Warriors storm back from 20 down, tie game on Curry 3, win shocker in OT

    NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 23:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a three point shot during Game Three in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on April 23, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 23: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a three point shot during Game Three in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on April 23, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)Never count out the Golden State Warriors. Down 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter and 17 with 6:00 remaining in regulation, the Warriors stormed back to tie the New Orleans Pelicans in the final seconds to send Game 3 of their first-round series to overtime. Golden State continued their strong play in the opening minutes of the extra period and held on during a late New Orleans push come away with a shocking 123-119 win at the Smoothie King Center, opening up a 3-0 lead in the series. Given the form of this loss, it's an open question as to how much energy or will the Pelicans can muster when they face elimination in Saturday's Game 4.

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

    The marquee moment of the game took place on the Warriors' final possession of regulation. Anthony Davis split a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining to give the Pelicans a 108-105 lead, or small enough to give the Warriors a chance at the tie.

    In case you

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  • Cavs hold Celtics at bay again, move within a win of first-round sweep

    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 23:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers takes a shot over Evan Turner #11 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of their game in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)BOSTON, MA - APRIL 23: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers takes a shot over Evan Turner #11 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of their game in the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)The young Boston Celtics have held their own as massive underdogs against the contending Cleveland Cavaliers in their first-round playoff series. Unfortunately, that succession of moral victories still has the Celtics one loss from being swept out of the postseason.

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

    Strong games from LeBron James and Kevin Love helped the Cavs withstand a rough outing from star point guard Kyrie Irving and come away with a 103-95 victory in Game 3 at TD Garden. The Celtics stayed close to the heavily favored Cavs for the third straight game and were within one but once again could not make enough plays late to come away with an upset victory. Cleveland now leads 3-0 and can close out the series in Sunday's Game 4 in Boston.

    Game 3 played out similarly to Games 1 and 2, albeit with some tweaks. After scoring 56 combined points on efficient shooting in the first two games, Kyrie Irving struggled to only 13 points on 3-of-11

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  • Spurs outlast Clippers in very intense Game 2, even series at 1-1

    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots over Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers as Boris Diaw #33 look on during Game Two of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Spurs won 111-107. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots over Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers as Boris Diaw #33 look on during Game Two of the Western Conference quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Spurs won 111-107. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)When the first-round series of the 2015 NBA playoffs were set last week, everyone pointed to the matchup between the West's No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers and No. 6 San Antonio Spurs as the marquee event of the postseason's first few weeks. After only two games, it has not disappointed.

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

    The Spurs bounced back from a rough Game 1 to defeat the Clippers 111-107 in overtime in Wednesday night's Game 2 at Staples Center. The Tim Duncan-era Spurs are now 8-0 in Game 2 of the first round after losing Game 1 in the same the series. This particular Game 2 was a terrific, very intense contest that speaks to the high level of play in this series and which only built up our anticipation for the rest of it, starting with Friday's Game 3 in San Antonio.

    This was a full 53 minutes of play, but let's start with the sequence that most people talked and will continue to talk about in the next few days. The Clippers led 94-92 with the

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  • Grizzlies stifle Blazers again, take entirely deserved 2-0 lead

    MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 22: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trailblazers and Courtney Lee #5 of the Memphis Grizzlies chase a loose ball during the first half of Game Two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 22, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 22: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trailblazers and Courtney Lee #5 of the Memphis Grizzlies chase a loose ball during the first half of Game Two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 22, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)The Portland Trail Blazers were left without any clear answers after a 100-86 loss in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Game 2 appeared to offer no clarity in another dominant win for the hosts.

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

    For the second consecutive game, the Grizzlies controlled the game at both ends and cruised to a 97-82 victory at FedEx Forum. Memphis has now taken a 2-0 lead in the series that seems more commanding than a mere numerical advantage. The Grizzlies have dictated the terms of both games, taken away what the Blazers do best, and created a scenario in which it is very hard to imagine them losing this series. Portland will have to hope a return home to the Moda Center brings improvement, because as of now they look to be heading for a quick exit from the postseason.

    Things started well enough for the Blazers, with several players hitting tough shots to pick up 10 points in the first 2:30 of the

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  • Rockets dunk Mavericks into submission, grab 2-0 lead

    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 21: James Harden #13 high fives Josh Smith #5 of the Houston Rockets after a play against the Dallas Mavericks during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 21: James Harden #13 high fives Josh Smith #5 of the Houston Rockets after a play against the Dallas Mavericks during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)At first glance, a 12-point road loss to the Western Conference's No. 2 seed should not suggest that a team is in crisis. But the Dallas Mavericks' 111-99 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 2 of their first-round series was no ordinary game.

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    To be more specific, the fourth quarter saw the Rockets pummel the Mavericks into submission with a barrage of alley-oops and dunks keyed by an unlikely player — veteran forward Josh Smith. With MVP candidate James Harden struggling to shoot with consistency, Smith found Dwight Howard for several alley-oops and looked like his old dynamic self from his Atlanta Hawks heyday. Up just one point entering the period, Houston ended up with a 30-19 final-quarter advantage that looked far more dominant than the margin suggests. The Mavericks are now in a 2-0 hole and face many questions about their interior defense, a terrible performance from Dirk Nowitzki, and an apparent benching

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