First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++

Marcelinho Huertas one-legged buzzer beater to beat Valencia

Well that was one of the most dramatic finishes in a while. Barcelona beat Valencia 77-75 to progress to the ACB Finals but they needed an incredible floater to take the final W. Enter Marce…

The win gave Barcelona a 3-2 series win. The Blaugrana now progress to take on reigning champions Real Madrid in the ACB Finals.


ACB: Barcelona survive, Gran Canaria top Baskonia

Real Madrid’s season doesn’t get under way until Monday night but the opening weekend of Liga Endesa almost saw a huge upset as their arch-rivals Barcelona squeezed out a win over Valencia.

The contrasting fortunes of Barcelona in Euroleague and ACB was one of the most bizarre stories of the 2012-13 season. Barcelona were untouchable in Euroleague for most of the season but faltered early and often in domestic action. The first round of play in Spain almost saw the Blaugrana fall at home but they just about got over the line with a 76-75 win over Valenica. Justin Doellman carried the load for the visitors with 25 points and 3 rebounds while Rafa Martinez scored 17 points, including 7 from the foul line. Barcelona’s back court had no trouble creating, with Marcelinho Huertas and Juan Carlos Navarro each chipping in 4 assists, but they leaned heavily on their front court for points. Kostas Papanikolaou had 14 points in his ACB debut for Barcelona, after winning back to back Euroleague titles with Olympiacos, while Maciej Lampe had 12 points and 6 rebounds. NBA draft prospect Mario Hezonja saw 2 minutes of action for Barcelona, scoring 3 points.

It took overtime but Gran Canaria eventually recorded an upset at Saski Baskonia. The islanders got off to a hot start on the road, leading by 11 at the half but a 24-13 third frame for Baskonia leveled matters. With the sides inseparable at the end of regulation, Gran Canaria eventually took the win 99-96. Nacho Martin scored 22 points and picked up 6 boards for the victors and he was ably assisted by former Notre Dame star Ben Hansbrough who had 15 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Baskonia’s Lamont Hamilton led all scorers with 23 while Fernando San Emeterio had 18 points and 3 assists.

It was a rough road trip for Estudiantes to kick off the season. Unicaja Malaga swept the Madrid team aside 97-78. Jayson Granger had 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists for Malaga, with Zoran Dragic scoring 16 points for the victors. Domas Sabonis, son of Arvydas, had a quiet but efficient day for Malaga with 6 points on 2 of 3 shooting and 3 rebounds. Andres Miso was top scorer for Estudiantes with 23.

The final game of the opening round takes place later today as defending champions Real Madrid play host to Valladolid.


Real Madrid tops FC Barcelona for first Spanish title since 2007; Reyes MVP, Jasikevicius with flashback performance

BallinEurope sends out congratulations this morning to Real Madrid, which closed out a most successful season by taking the decisive game five of the Liga Endesa championship series, 79-71, in yet another “El Clasico”-level thriller. The title represents Los Blancos’ first ACB championship since 2006-07; though title is Real’s sole trophy this season, the win plus a Euroleague runner-up bid has to add up to the club’s finest run since Juan Antonio Corbalán was running point in the early to mid-1980s.

Felipe Reyes was named MVP of the Liga Endesa finals; Reyes turned in yet another efficient performance in game five, contributing 14 points and drawing a whopping seven personal fouls in under 21 minutes of playing time.

Reyes’ show (not to mention the actual win) overshadowed an incredible individual game from Sarunas Jasikevicius, as the old guy played like he’d tapped into his personal 2005. After going just 191 seconds in Madrid’s game four loss, Jasikevicius constantly got/created easy open looks in his under-19 minutes for a huge 23 points on 6-of-9 overall shooting and 8-of-8 from the line.

Unfortunately for the Blaugrana, aside from Joe Ingles’ excellent night, Barcelona shooters could managed just 7-of-33 success overall, including an 0-of-11 mark beyond the arc. (On the other hand, Saras and Ingles did make for one heckuva highlight clip…)

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Crisis in Spain: Player strike averted, ACB playoffs to continue as planned

Phew, that was close…

Typically, it’s a bad sign when a sports page follows up a headline story with a photo like this:

(image courtesy

However, good news from Spain is the order of the day today, as ACB officials have announced that at least a temporary agreement is in place to avert a player strike scheduled to begin today which would have halted the Spanish League’s basketball playoffs from continuing further.

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The book on Ryan Richards in NBA Summer League – plus monster dunk

A shout out this morning to Britain-based HoopsFix and “hardworking 6’5” 187 lb. versatile small forward” Peter Grumble for tipping BallinEurope off to a big play from Ryan Richards, currently competing for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Summer League.

For more on Richards, click below the break, but now, the clip.

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“What has happened here?” The best Euro-centric buzzer-beaters of 2011-12

In clearing out the virtual desk of 2011-12 basketball season stuff, BallinEurope today presents this compilation of the year’s top Euro-centric buzzer-beaters. The requirements to make the list were two: the primary player in the buzzer-beater most be of European nationality or the shot must take place in a game featuring European teams; and the buzzer-beater must take place at the end of a quarter, i.e. no shot-clock buzzer-beaters considered.

Greater weight was given in consideration to the relative importance of the win earned with the highlight shot. Keeping one’s team alive is more important than YouTube glory, after all.

And on with the list. Firstly, honorable mentions go to:

Travis Diener for Banco di Sardegna Sassari against Fabi Shoes Montegranaro on April 15. Sassari would go on to win in overtime, 79-77, and continue in a successful season which had them ultimately placing fourth in the Serie A. Unfortunately for the purposes of this post, not quite a buzzer-beater.

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FC Barcelona tops Real Madrid, 73-69, to take Spanish title; MVP Lorbek, Mickeal, Vazquez lead way

Congratulations this morning go out to FC Barcelona, winners of the fifth and final game in the Liga Endesa championship, 73-69, over Real Madrid. In yet another cliffhanger, Los Blancos “died with their boots on” as the official league writeup would have it, while the Blaugrana were led by Pete Mickeal (17 points, nine rebounds, 23 performance index rating), Frán Vazquez (16 points, eight boards, four blocked shots) and prospective San Antonio Spur/series MVP Erazem Lorbek (10 points, six rebounds).

Highlights and extrapolated game report follow.

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FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: Stats, highlights heading into El Clasico game five

What is the Mickeal Difference?

Tomorrow night will see game five of a series that has lived up to its billing as another “El Clasico.” After dramatic moments aplenty (yes, there will be clips), Real Madrid will head to the Palau Blaugrana for a decisive showdown with longtime rivals FC Barcelona.

The folks over at Liga Endesa headquarters have crunched a few numbers, sprinkling the results with a dash of numerology, on the first four games of the series. Stat geeks out there may want to consider the following.

• The 81-Point Threshold and the 29 Rule
In this series, at least 81 has proven to win in this series; game one and four, Barcelona won 81-80 and 81-75, respectively. More compelling is the “29 Rule” in this series, i.e. the first team to 29 points wins the given match. It should be noted, however, that both Barcelona in game one and Real in game two would have to come back in the fourth quarter after getting overtaken at 29.

• The Navarro Factor
Once again, as goes Juan Carlos Navarro, so goes FC Barcelona. A marked contrast colors Navarro’s numbers when comparing the Barça wins to losses. One indication of defeat early on tomorrow night: Barcelona’s dependence of his three-point shooting. In the first three games, Barcelona went an uncharacteristically awful 18-of-69 (26%) as Navarro was just 6-of-18 – including 4-of-9 in the game one win. Game four? Barcelona went 10-of-20 while Juan Carlos did more facilitating and took only one shot from beyond the arc.

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Readying for El Clásico: A look at nine series’ worth of FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Navarro knows: 10th finals matchup of Real vs. Barca

With just hours to go before the Liga Endesa championship series pitting FC Barcelona against Real Madrid in what they just had to call “El Clásico,” Spain-based Blog de Basket today takes a look at some of the great matchups for all the Spanish marbles these two have had over the years; the 2012 confrontation will mark the 10th between the two with Barca holding the slight 5-4 advantage.

Extrapolation from the Blog piece – plus lots of YouTubes, natch – follow.

These battles started in 1984, in a series ending in forfeit. After Barcelona’s Mike Davis tangled with Real’s Juanma Iturriaga and Fernando Martin resulting in an on-court altercation, league officials handed out suspensions. Iturriaga was given a reprimand only, while Davis, arguably the victim in the scuffle, received the longest suspension. Barca players were a no-show for game three in protest.

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Nando de Colo “Waiting for” contract offer, expects Spurs’ call later

Possible 2012-13 backcourt combo for Spurs?

Today’s edition of France-based L’Equipe has a brief bit on Les Bleus/Valencia guard Nando de Colo with regard to his immediate future. De Colo was selected by the San Antonio Spurs at no. 53 overall in the 2009 draft and, now that the Valencia BC season has ended at the hands of FC Barcelona, the man they call “Aladdin” awaits word from Texas.

“I’m waiting patiently,” De Colo told L’Equipe. “Some clubs are always interested in competition and hopefully will be fixed in June. The Spurs have followed me, come to see me, talked with me. But for now, nothing has been done, no agreement has been [made].

And after that, one supposes all De Colo will be patiently waiting to hear is the status of national teammate Tony Parker’s incipient free-agency bid…

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