March Madness ended on Monday. On Tuesday Dario Saric, having just signed a new agent, delivered a triple-double with perfect timing to get the attention of NBA scouts. His 20 points, 13 board, and 10 assists in Cibona’s 96-70 Croatian Cup semi-final win over KK Zagreb. Super Dario certainly knows when to pick his moment.
Also, admittedly, possibly the only Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever. It’s so good we briefly considered forgiving Lipko, then we remembered that we hate Lipko.
Yannick Noah was at the Bulls win over the Heat to cheer on his son and Team France star Joakim. As is wont to happen during NBA broadcasts, he was interviewed during the action at his seat in the stands. The former French Open champion never took his eye off the action and stopped the interview so he could go crazy over Joakim’s play.
Anyone from this side of the pond always knew the Bulls centre inherited a big chunk of his intensity from his dad, now American hoops fans know first-hand.
After a week off due to Cup Week, the Dish returns with a packed sched. From the Hall of Fame to the Rising Stars and a big slate of Euroleague action, it’s been a busy week in European hoops but I’ve got one question: What about Rudy?
The most hated man in European basketball may be considering a switch back to the NBA. Rudy Fernandez, a man who would wear ‘Everybody hate me’ on his back if Euroleague ever considered nickname jerseys, is being looked at by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Losing Rudy would be bad for ball over here for many reasons. He is a top tier talent in Euroleague and that’s enough in and of itself but that’s not why I’m concerned. The sheer unreasonable hate of Rudy is almost soothing. Heck even Greens and Reds can come to agree on one thing: “Fucking Rudy”. We can lose such a symbol of unity. Fortunately, Fernandez would need to be nuts to go back to the NBA. Yes it’s the best league in the world but why leave a starting job with a big salary to fight for minutes?
One man happy to fight for minutes Stateside is BiE cult favourite Pero Antic. The Macedonia big man was meant to play for Team Hill in the Rising Stars challenge but injury prevented him from playing and was instead replaced by Miles Plumlee. Jonas Valanciunas started for Team Hill and had 4 points, 2 boards, and 2 assists in his 19 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 9 points, grabbed 2 boards, and dished 2 dimes, as Team Hill took a 142-136 victory over Team Webber.
With three Europeans selected for this Sunday’s NBA All Star game, BiE pays tribute to Joakim Noah, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tony Parker.
It was hardly a shock when no Europeans got selected for the starting line-ups of this year’s NBA All Star game but with three players from the continent making the reserves, including two from France, there’s plenty of interest in Sunday’s action from this side of the pond. Here are your three European 2014 NBA All Stars.
Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs
Season stats: 17.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 6.2 APG 30.9 MPG
Number of All Star selections: 6
Last year was Tony Time as Parker led his Spurs back to the NBA Finals and then finally tasted EuroBasket glory in Slovenia. This has been another stellar season for the point guard who just keeps getting it done for Greg Popovich.
With all three Europeans in Friday’s NBA Rising Stars game being selected by Grant Hill for his team to go up against Chris Webber’s selection, BiE pays tribute to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pero Antic, and Jonas Valanciunas.
No need to divide your loyalties this Friday night. If you are European and watching the NBA Rising Stars game, there’s only one possible team to root for. All three Europeans have been selected to play for Team Hill. Here’s a look at all three of them.
Pero Antic – Atlanta Hawks
Season stats: 5.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 15.5 MPG
The Macedonian big man was a cult favourite in Europe and nothing has changed since moving to the NBA where, at 31, he is the oldest man in this year’s Rising Stars line-up. Antic started slowly but a few double digit explosions have secured Antic’s place in this game.
Luol Deng is no longer a Bull but he wasn’t going to be at the end of the season anyway. The move to Cleveland gives the Great Britain international more control over his future.
Two words. Two words give Luol Deng reason to be happy with his situation: Kyrie Irving. Deng has gone from being a player who would get dumped by Chicago in the summer to one with far more influence come the end of the season.
The Cavaliers know they made a meal and then some of their efforts to keep LeBron James happy but they never gave him a bona fide second option to work with. In acquiring Deng, effectively on a rental, and cashing in some picks in the process they are sending a message to Irving that they won’t err the same way with the point guard. This isn’t exactly putting Pippen with Jordan but it serves a role almost as vital, in spite if the talent disparity. The Cavs took a punt on Andrew Bynum, it didn’t work, so they moved fast to ensure their star didn’t get needy.
In the process they gave Deng, an All Star a few seasons back, the one thing he really lacked this summer. A home option. The Team GB star was going to be an attractive option in the free agent market but he would be going up against a market loaded with top end talent. Now Deng will enter the summer, irrespective of how Cleveland’s season ends, knowing there’s at least one team in greater need of him than he is of their courtship. The Cavs zre desperate not to make the mistakes they made with LeBron with Irving. They are also desperate not to look desperate.
This is a situation where it behooves the Cavs to make Luol Deng happy quickly because the sooner he gets locked down, the lower the risk of Irving getting angsty. It’s about the long game with Irving. The Cavs don’t want to give him a reason to ever be needy, to ever be demanding. Take care of business, get your house in order, and keep it that way. That is how your maintain control in a front office, by never giving a player reasons to want it. For examples of how to best succeed with this strategy see Spurs, San Antonio.
Everyone’s trying to call which way this trade went. Deng is the only certifiable winner here but long-term, the shuffling of assets may actually benefit both the Cavs and the Bulls. For Britain’s best baller, that’s at most a secondary concern.
Dennis Rodman is doing something stupid. Matt Cooper isn’t being very smart by joining him. The same can be said for most of the party in Pyongyang for a basketball exhibition. Craig Hodges however is a big outlier. How does a man of such strong political will make such an awful choice?
Most of the gang of Dennis Rodman’s buddies playing hoops in Pyongyang read like a list of guys likely to go to Pyongyang with the Worm for a payday. Vin Baker, Kenny Anderson, and Cliff ‘totally open about making a porno with my wife’ Robinson are just the characters you’d expect to get caught in something like this. The game is being covered by Irish journalist Matt Cooper, who presents drivetime current affairs show The Last Word and fronts TV3’s live GAA coverage. Cooper’s involvement has caught some scrutiny in the Irish media today but given that all news is local, the man about whom we should be asking the most questions is subject to the fewest.
Craig Hodges had a pretty good career for a lifelong NBA back-up. He won the All Star 3-point contest three times, a feat matched only by Larry Bird, and was runner-up twice. He won the NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1991 and 1992. It was that latter win that brought to light something that mattered more than basketball to Hodges. The three-point ace was passionate about the treatment of African Americans. It was an issue he cared deeply for, one he was willing to put his career on the line for. This is a man who backed up his beliefs with actions.
When the Bulls visited the White House after winning the NBA Championship in 1992, Hodges used it as an opportunity for political activism. Wearing a dashiki, he criticized President George HW Bush’s treatment of minorities in America. Hodges never played in the NBA again. Hodges would go on to publicly criticize Michael Jordan for not using his position in the spotlight to do more for African Americans. This was a man who cared about the treatment of others. A man who recognised the influence those in the spotlight could use to cast light and draw attention to those who need it.
So what the hell is Craig Hodges doing in Pyongyang?
The Raptors ruined Kobe’s comeback party but the road ahead for Jonas and co. is long and miserable.
Thank you Terrence Ross for setting the tone. The Raptors ruined Kobe Bryant’s comeback party with a 106-94 win in the Staples Center. Your reward, Mr Ross, is increased minutes and touches. Actually to all you Raps out there, congratulations you’ll be seeing a lot more of the ball and the opposition. Woj broke the news shortly before tip that Rudy Gay, the under-performing but still pretty useful star of the Raps, was being traded to Sacramento. That’s going to see a lot of pressure humped on the younger stars in Toronto’s line-up. Jonas Valanciunas is going to become a bigger part of the offence because everyone is. Last night’s 6 points and 5 boards outing wasn’t exactly typical Jonas but he’s going to have to fight harder now for his scores. On the upside, losing Gay’s contract makes the re-build in Toronto that bit easier especially as the move was made before 19 December. That makes further flipping more straight-forward later in the season.
Andrea Bargnani went 1 of 7 for just 2 points in 22 minutes as the Knicks got routed at home by the Celtics 114-73. Boston burst out the gates to lead 34-11 at the end of the first and the Knicks never looked like making a game of it.
Jonas Jerebko has 12 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals in 21 minutes for the Pistons as Detroit fell 110-95 to the visiting Heat. Gigi Datome got 8 minutes but failed to make an impact for Detroit.
Omri Casspi got 6 points and 6 boards for the Rockets in 23 minutes of action as they downed the Magic 98-88. Donatas Montiejunas grabbed 2 boards in his 4 minutes on the floor.
It was a reasonably quiet night for Serge Ibaka as he scored 13 points and grabbed 3 rebounds as the Thunder rolled past the Pacers 118-94. Thabo Sefolosha scored 4 points and had 2 boards in the contest for OKC.