Blog Posts by Eric Freeman

  • BDL's 2015-16 NBA Playoff Previews: Cavaliers vs. Hawks

    LeBron James eyes another conference finals appearance. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)LeBron James eyes another conference finals appearance. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    How They Got Here

    • Cleveland: The Cavaliers arguably looked more like a fully fledged No. 1 seed in the first round against the Detroit Pistons than they did at any point during the regular season. After an up-and-down 57-win campaign in which the conference's best team rarely looked on the level of the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, the Cavs re-affirmed their postseason bona fides in a no-nonsense sweep of the Detroit Pistons. It was a series in which several close games did not challenge the favorite's clear superiority, and Cleveland looks stronger now than they did when they began the playoffs.

    Game 1 was about as good as a five-point win against a heavy underdog can be, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love combining for 80 points and the Pistons getting all sorts of contributions before failing to execute in crunch time. LeBron and Kyrie were the stars, but Love stood out for looking like an essential piece of the offense, a bit of a rarity for the Cavs

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  • The smart analysis said that the Western Conference Semifinals between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder would be the most competitive series of the postseason so far, a matchup between two title-caliber squads with a long history and contrasting styles. Naturally, Game 1 ended up as the most overwhelming blowout of the playoffs so far. The Spurs' 124-92 victory was more brutal than the final score appears and gives the Thunder a great deal to prove in Game 2 and beyond.

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    The rout started very early. Kawhi Leonard finished an emphatic dunk 19 seconds into the game to begin an incredible Spurs quarter that ranks among the most complete performances in playoff history. San Antonio scored 43 points (a franchise playoff record) on 18-of-22 shooting from the field to open up a 23-point lead after one and set the tone for the continued devastation to come. The scoring included 12 fast-break points, 15

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