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BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++
Oct
0

Round-up: Nanterre perfect, Siena can shoot, Neptunas fall in OT

Reigning champions Nanterre maintained their perfect start in France. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena showed they won’t lose many games for lack of shooting and in the VTB United League it was a heartbreaking debut for Lithuania’s Neptunas.

They were the Cinderella story of European Basketball last year but JSF Nanterre has begun the 2013-14 LNB season like seasoned champions. Having won the title as 8th seeds in the playoffs last year, Nanterre now hold a 3-0 record in domestic action on the back of an impressive 85-58 home win over Olympique Antibes. Xavier Corosine led the Euroleague newcomers in scoring with 18 points. Elsewhere in France, Vincent Collet’s Strasbourg topped Elan Chalon 78-68 on the back of 16 points and 8 boards from Alexis Ajinca.

Last year Montepaschi showed there was life after Bo McCalebb. This season they seem intent on proving they can keep on scoring after losing Bobby Brown. The reigning LegaBasket champions had five players in double digits as they rolled to a 97-82 win over Cremona. Spencer Nelson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for Siena while Karl English led all scorers with 22. Milan will have plenty to worry about due to the manner of their 88-80 loss at Brindisi. Milan were wholly dependent on Keith Langford (29 points, 7 rebounds) and David Moss (19 points, 7 rebounds) on offence as a more balanced Brindisi side took the win.

Game Tape focussed on the VTB United League yesterday where CSKA Moscow got off to a winning start with an 80-63 win over VEF Riga. Neptunas, the new arrivals in the league, came close to taking a win in their first outing. The Lithuanian side eventually succumbed to Avomash Mariupol of Kazakhtan in overtime, going down 96-86. Lietuvos Rytas fared better in their opener with a 70-66 win at Novgorod.

Oct
5

Round-up: Siena take Supercoppa, fight in Lithuania, Nanterre and Strasbourg squeeze out wins

Four Euroleague teams returned to domestic action on Tuesday night. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena took the Supercoppa, while there were league wins for JSF Nanterre and Strasbourg IG in France. Lietuvos Rytas also won in the LKL but their victory at Juventus was marred by a brawl.

After a one and done display in the Euroleague qualifiers, Cimberio Varese looked to get one over on Italian kingpins Montepaschi Siena in the Supercoppa on Tuesday night. The EuroCup outfit managed to hold a one point lead at the break. Aubrey Coleman, 23 points and 7 rebounds, and Achille Polonara, 17 points and 7 rebounds, did the heavy lifting for Varese but they lacked the strength in depth to stay in the contest down the stretch.  Siena bust them open with a big final quarter. That 29-19 final frame turned a competitive clash into a comfortable 81-66 victory for the Italian champions. Joshua Coleman led Siena in scoring with 18 points and picked up 4 boards while Daniel Hackett had 14 points and 6 rebounds.

There was no drama on the scoreboard, although plenty on the floor, as Lietuvos Rytas blew out Juventus in the LKL. Fresh off their success in the Euroleague qualifiers, the Vilnius club stormed to a 15 point lead by the end of the first quarter and the gap had grown to 47-27 by half-time. Dirk Bauermann’s side eventually secured a 92-67 road win but not before this went down…

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Sep
0

France beat Lithuania 80-66 to finally lift their first EuroBasket title

After being carried into the final by Tony Parker on Friday night, the rest of the French team stood tall as a second quarter run sparked their charge to the title.

Were it not for the golden generation of Spanish talent, this likely wouldn’t be Tony Parker’s first EuroBasket title. Were it not for Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Alexis Ajinca, he likely would have suffered a second defeat at the final hurdle.

Parker was a one man army against Spain in the semi final but that was never going to suffice against Lithuania. The breadth of options at Lithuania’s disposal meant there was no way a solo show would suffice. After so-so or worse games against Spain, the rest of the French line up showed up when it mattered most.
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Sep
5

EuroBasket: It all comes down to this

After 11 games and ups and downs, France and Lithuania enter Sunday’s EuroBasket 2013 final with a clean slate. The only thing that matters is who is in front when the final buzzer sounds.

Key man: Tony Parker He is the tournament’s top scorer and unquestionably its biggest star. Whatever else happens in Ljubjana today, you can bet your house that Tony Parker will get buckets and lots of them today. It’s not the array of honours he’s won with the San Antonio Spurs that makes him a marked man today. Parker has done enough in the blue jersey of France to make the continent aware of what he can do. Lithuania will be tempted to overload on Parker but given nobody has been able to stop him so far, there’s a more important area to focus in stifling the French offence.
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Jun
4

Cinderella story in France as no. 8 seed JSF Nanterre wins LNB title, 2013-14 Euroleague spot (theoretically)

Nanterre celebrates winBallinEurope’s favorite European domestic-league champion this season? It’s gotta be JSF Nanterre, yesterday’s crowning of whom as French LNB kings has surely guaranteed who will be the underdog of all underdogs for the 2013-14 Euroleague season.

Backing into the playoffs on a three-game losing streak to squeak in by dint of tiebreaker with a regular-season record of 15-15, Nanterre proceeded to 7-1 in the tournament, sweeping top seeds Gravelines Dunkerque and defending champions Elan Chalon before winning a concluding game four in the best-of-five championship series against Strasbourg, 83-77.

In yesterday’s final match, Ohio State alum David Lighty again led the way for Nanterre, with this third 20-plus point game of the playoffs, notching 21 to top-score for the upstarts – but perhaps the most kudos should go to coach Pascal Donadieu, who faced Team France/Strasbourg’s Vincent Collet with the pragmatic attitude that got his team through the playoffs: Against Gravelines, [the game plan] was to neutralize [Dwight] Buycks. Against Chalon, [Blake] Schilb; and against Strasbourg, [Alexis] Ajinça.”

Indeed, in game four, Ajinça’s influence was limited to just 12 points and six rebounds, both below his season averages.

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Apr
3

France’s Livio Jean-Charles leads World Team to 112-98 shootout win, first back-to-back victory since 1999 [Highlights]

Those squeezing in viewings of the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit game between NBA playoff matches yesterday not only saw quite the shootout featuring world-class talent but also a bit of history: In upping their all-time record to 5-11 against Team USA with the 112-98 win, the World Select Team earned their second back-to-back win ever in the competition and first repeat since 1999.

The big news individually speaking was ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne’s Livio Jean-Charles, who overshadowed his more headline-grabbing teammate Andrew Wiggins of Canada, with a huge 27 points and 13 rebounds. (For the record on this day, Jean-Charles is currently projected as a #36 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft over at Draft Express; surely this guy’s stock will be rising before the Day…) Team World overcame fierce performances from prospective Duke Blue Devil Jabari Parker (22 points) and Kentucky Wildcat-to-be Julius Randle (19 points, eight rebounds).

But without further ado – To the highlight clips!

Oregon Live put together a “top 15 plays of the game” clip for your debate perusal – No, one second thought, BiE’ll go with “debate”. How did Rondaé Hollis-Jefferson’s insane pickpocket steal of and follow-up jam on Mouhammadou Jaiteh only land at no. 10, for example? For another, how did Randle’s reverse baseline dunk get beaten by Dante Exum’s circusy and-one? In any case, see for yourselves…

Here’s a more styled game-highlight compilation put together by BallisLife which puts the emphasis on the individual, showing how the showcase features of the ‘Summit…

And major props to the always excellent Euroleague Adventures, for their excellent job video-recording *everything* in the leadup to the game. A couple samples from their post-game work run below – there’s Jean-Charles described (correctly) and the should’ve-been-game MVP, followed by Team Russia/Triumph Lyubertsy’s Sergey Karasev on “Being a Sharp Shooter”. BiE seriously urges you to check out ELA’s massive cache of clips from the Nike Hoop Summit as well – right here.

Congratulations again to the World Select Team on the victory; we’ll leave with a Tweet, perhaps a suggestion for success to future Nike Hoop Summit squads: Maybe it’s all about the bonding…

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Mar
1

How do you say “Shaqtin’ a fool” in French?

France’s Pro B league doesn’t get much media attention in the US and after the latest segment of “Shaqtin’ A Fool,” they won’t be hankering for another clip to appear on NBA TV. Check out Shaq’s no. 5 choice for the televised wall of shame, as SPO Rouen Basket head coach Sciarra Laurent applies a unique trap defense against Maritime Boulogne, only to get a “T” for his efforts – and sadly, an “L” for his team.

Feb
1

Harlem Shake spreads to NIJT Belgrade tournament: Alba Berlin, INSEP players succumb

Aaaaand here’s another for the collection. After the Nike International Junior Tournament in Belgrade closed yesterday, two of the tourney’s youth teams added to the phenomenon overtaking European basketball clubs daily, namely the irresistible urge to perform the Harlem Shake. Without further ado, here are the Alba Berlin and INSEP ballers succumbing to the craze.

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Feb
9

Mickael Gelabale completes comeback to NBA, gets first start since 2007

Mickael GelabaleAbout five years ago, Mickaël Gelabale went down to a knee injury playing for the Seattle Supersonics. The following season, he played D-League ball. Just last month he was with Valencia BC, latest stop in 3½ seasons in Europe. Surely no one reckoned he’d be starting in the big league ever again, even when the injury-riddled Minnesota Timberwolves signed him to the first of two 10-day contracts.

No one, perhaps, except for Gelabale himself, who never gave up on the dream. As the Team France player told the Minneapolis Tribune after his signing with the Wolves in mid-January: “I [was] always thinking like that. When I was in France, I was thinking to come back. I was in Russia thinking about it. I was in Spain thinking about it.” (Actually, he omitted Croatia and Belgium there…)

Thought became reality last night for Gelabale against the San Antonio Spurs in a nicely international-flavored NBA matchup: Even with Andrei Kirilenko and Manu Ginobili not suiting up, Tony Parker, Tiago Splitter, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw, Alexey Shved, Nikola Pekovic and of course Ricky represented the non-American rolls.

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Sep
5

Euroleague qualifiers: New-look Unics Kazan passes by Ratiopharm Ulm, Le Mans Sarthe Ds up to advance

Don’t look now, but the Russians are coming. Or maybe that should be: The Russians Are Coming! Unics Kazan looked just great in disposing of Ratiopharm Ulm last night, 91-73, in the Euroleague Qualifying Round.

Team Greece’s Ian Vougioukas was good for 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting as again and again the new-look Kazan made him the end-user of some brilliant ball movement. Returning guard Terrell Lyday was a serious facilitator, getting 21 points himself including 5-of-8 on threes while dishing four assists; fellow returnee Petr Samolylenko found the shooter five times in 22½ minutes – while not taking a shot. Off-season acquisitions Chuck Eidson and Mire Chatman combined for 23 points and eight assists, demonstrating remarkable incorporation into Aco Petrovic’s offense.

Already BiE has BC Khimki and CSKA Moscow penciled in for the 2013 Euroleague quarterfinals; by demonstrating themselves the class of the play-in tournament, Unics Kazan could make BiE believe they’ll make noise in a potentially vulnerable Group A – and are we destined to see two Russian teams in London in May?

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