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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 +++
Dec
0

Group E: The knowns and the unknowns

The slate is clean for the Top 16. Today and tomorrow we’ll break down what we know about each team in the second phase, what we want to know, and what we think we still won’t know sfter 14 rounds of action. We start with the eight participants.

Fenerbahce Ulker
What we know: This is an Obradovic team. They’ve pulled out wins they would have lost a year ago and show a level of organisation to match their talent.
What we want to know: Can they do enough to get home advantage in the playoffs.
What we won’t know: If home advantage in the last eight will have any real impact in their Final Four hopes.

Olympiacos Piraeus
What we know: Even with heavy losses in the off-season, this is still a team that is built for one-and-done play. They waltzed through the regular season and should make the quarter finals with ease.
What we want to know: How they will manage their roster over the meat of their schedule with an eye to keeping their best players fresh down the stretch.
What we won’t know: Their ability to hold up over a Best-of-5 situation.

EA7 Milano
What we know: Coming second in an awful group has its rewards but there’s a limit given the opponents they face.
What we want to know: The ability of a relatively thin roster to handle a heavy schedule.
What we won’t know: Their chances in LegABasket, yeah they ain’t making the playoffs.

Saski Baskonia
What we know: They have the capacity to force the best out of anyone but not necessarily make the opponent pay.
What we want to know: If the long format will improve their playoff chances.
What we won’t know: If they can mount a serious threat in the playoffs…okay, we’ll know if they don’t make it.

FC Barcelona
What we know: They have scorers and can and wil use them to great effect.
What we want to know: If they can show more innovation in creating opportunties when the going gets tough.
What we won’t know: Their health.

Unicaja Malage
What we know: This remains an intelligent ball club with a veteran style against the relative upstarts of Euroleague.
What we want to know: Will they benefit from playing 9 games of 14 in Spain, significantly reducing travel (naturally applies to Barca and Baskonia too).
What we won’t know: Like Baskonia, if they make the post-season we still won’t be sure how they’ll handle a Best-of-5 situation.

Anadolu Efes
What we know: This team is not as strong as last year’s line-up but has the same functional issues.
What we want to know: If greater organisation in the Top 16 can make up for that drop in overall quality.
What we won’t know: Who they will sign next year to make up for missing out on the playoffs.

Panathinaikos
What we know: They took the thin part of their name by its English meaning this year a large part of the regular season and decided to play fast and loose with their progress.
What we want to know: If they are, in simple terms, the team that started the regular season, the team that finished, or a better version of both.
What we won’t know: What they can do if DDD isn’t there to save them. For the time being at least, he makes them a threat in any situation.

Fearless prediction: To me there are three teams fighting for the top two and three more for the last spot. I’m going Olympiacos and Barcelona in that order with Fener third but it goes to the final game. Panathinaikos to take fourth and, this is the fearless bit, in far more comfortable fashion than anyone expects.

Oct
0

Euroleague thrillers see wins for Lietuvos Rytas and Lokomotiv Kuban



There was high drama in Group D on Thursday night while Anadolu Efes continued a fine start for the Turkish contingent in Euroleague.

A dramatic finish saw Lietuvos Rytas scrape past Panathinaikos 84 – 83 thanks to Renaldas Seibutis sinking a jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining in overtime in the Eurolague Game of the Week. Neither side had more than a 6 point advantage throughout the game, meaning it was all drama from start to finish.

It took a three-pointer 18.8 seconds from the end from Panathinaikos’ Dimitris Diamantidis to sent the game into overtime, but it was Seibutis who was the star of the show, hitting two almost identical jump shots from 5 meters in the final 90 seconds of the extra session. He finished the game with 19 points while his teammate Darius Songaila collected 13 points and 8 rebounds.
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Apr
0

Podcast: Talking 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, NBA flopping with SI’s Ben Golliver; Euroleague quarterfinals analysis; reviewing They Live

Episode #30 of the BallinEurope/heinnews weekly podcast Taking The Charge is now available online and on iTunes.

David Hein and BiE are joined this week by Ben Golliver of SI.com and Blazers Edge; based in Portland, Ben was lucky enough to have attending the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit live and so much time is spent discussing prospects and performance of Livio Jean-Charles, Andrew Wiggins, Dennis Schroder and the rest of the top-quality youth players from that game. (The match in its entirety is still available on YouTube and is embedded directly below.)

Golliver also shares some thoughts on the NBA’s first seasons with “flopping” rules in the books; it seems the man has become something of the expert on the move over there at SI.com, ultimately culminating in the wonderful Floppies awards ranking the 10 most ridiculous dives of the season over there.

Also on our collective mind of course are this week’s Euroleague quarterfinal games five; while Semih Erden and Jamon Lucas were heroic in two Anadolu Efes wins, can the Turkish side continue to neutralize Vassilis Spanoulis’ playmaking ability? And can FC Barcelona produce enough points (like, more than 70) to top the masterful Panathinaikos half-court D?

Finally, our tenuously-related sports movie review of the week focuses on the 1988 cult classic They Live starring professional wrestling all-time great Roddy Piper – one of the great flicks about the Reagan era 80s in America, except with great throwaway lines and comic-book hilarity.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/ into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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Apr
89

Euroleague Bracketology: According to Twitter, the 2013 Euroleague champion will be…

Twitter-Bird-BasketballNow that BallinEurope has posted this website’s Official Euroleague Bracket as well as the only truly unassailable set of predictions, BiE takes stock of a little EL Bracketology from good ol’ Twitter. What sort of conclusions may be drawn from a sample size of 30 tweets (well, 29 plus Sannti’s) hashtagged with #ELbracket? Well…

The clear popular favorites within the sample to win their quarterfinals series are CSKA Moscow (with 93% of tweets liking the Red Army), FC Barcelona and Olympiacos (each with 77% of the “vote”). Surely to no one’s surprise, fandom was divided on the Real Madrid-Maccabi matchup, with Los Blancos liked 19-11 among our group.

Of the 16 possible finals matchups, seven combinations were covered. Again unsurprising was the fact that no one was gutsy enough to gamble on Anadolu Efes Pilsen getting so far, but two brackets with Caja Laboral Baskonia hoisting the trophy were found – and after the way these guys have squeaked in to advance twice this season, who can truly scoff? A final outcome of CSKA defeating Barca was chosen by nearly 33% of those who picked a tournament winner, and 60% predicted CSKA for 2013 Euroleague champions.

And some of BallinEurope’s favorite brackets were…

● In the category of “Best Presentation of a Euroleague Bracket” which BiE just made up, the winner is JovicaTasevski. Future bracketcrafters, this is your standard.

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Nov
1

Rumor: Anadolu Efes to pay for, transfer Saric to KK Split

Now here’s an encouraging rumor about Dario Saric’s potentially disastrous contract situation: According to Euro-Step, one team which can afford to do so will step up to foot the €550,000 transfer fee demanded by KK Zagreb to release the Croatian wunderkind.

As rumor has it, “Nikola Vujcic is acting as an intermediary” in a deal which would have “Saric sign[ing] with Anadolu Efes before joining KK Split on loan.”

Saric has reportedly been working out with Split for the month he’s been in contract limbo. Originally slated to play for Bilbao Basket of the Liga Endesa this season, the transfer was stopped when the now-second division Zagreb club demanded at least €1 million to win the prospect’s services. FIBA arbitrators ruled that the price would be €550,000.

Hopefully things will work out for The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia, who had been looking at the prospect of a Kanteresque sat-out season as Saric looks to continue moving up his basketball career ladder.

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Sep
Aug
1

Hoop Doctors’ house call: The top 10 game-winners of 2011-12 (plus bonus multilingual clip)

This one goes out by request; BallinEurope buddies the Hoop Doctors have put together their clip of the Top 10 Game-Winning Shots for the 2011-12 season.

European basketball fans will note Team England’s Luol Deng at no. 10 and incoming Anadolu Efes guard Jordan Farmar figuring in at no. 9, but clearly this one should be labeled “game-winners of the 2011-12 *NBA* season”; BiE rectifies the oversight by placing The Continent’s top example – in six languages, no less – below the Doctors’. And for more from last season on this side of the Atlantic, BiE’s playlist can be found here.

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Jul
17

2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Greece

Just one more day (or so, CET) until the heartily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tips off in Venezuela. BallinEurope continues with previews of the four European qualifiers with an assessment of Greece, a.k.a. Olympiacos and a bunch of other guys.

Roster: Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Evangelos Mantzaris (Olympiacos); Ioannis Bourousis, Antonis Fotsis (Olimpia Milano); Nikos Zisis (Montepaschi Siena); Nick Calathes, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Ian Vougioukas (Panathinaikos); Dimitrios Mavroeidis, Kostas Vasileiadis (Gescrap Bilbao Basket); and Michael Bramos (Gran Canaria); head coach Ilias Zouros (Anadolu Efes)

Notable no shows: Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos retired from national team play, returning that all-important starting point guard role to Vassilis Spanoulis – not a bad trade off this year … also out are Kostas Koufos (Denver Nuggets) and Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Maccabi Tel Aviv) due to injury.

How they got here: In Eurobasket 2011, a hot start saw Team Greece winning five of the first six games, only to drop three of the final five with losses to Russia, France and Lithuania in the placement game. In the penultimate match, however, Hellas put together its best game of the tournament in topping Serbia, 87-77, to earn a spot in these qualifiers.

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Jun
3

Besiktas 80, Anadolu Efes 76: The BallinEurope review of a triple-crown season

Besiktas introduces Deron Williams: It seems like so long ago...

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, who capped a fascinating whirlwind run last night with an 80-76 victory over Anadolu Efes in game six of the TBL championship series. The Black Eagles may add the trophy to their Turkish Cup and FIBA Eurochallenge title in 2011-12, certainly the most successful – and among the most bizarre – seasons the club has ever experienced.

Beşiktaş’ season, like any power in club hoops, began in the summer. All they did to top last year’s high-profile signing of the ultimately marginal Allen Iverson was ink Deron Williams, a franchise guard at his peak, to the biggest contract in European basketball with an NBA out-clause when the player lockout was to be settled.

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Jun
1

Besiktas 81, Anadolu Efes 55: Hawkins leads, Pops dunks – plus 3D fan vid

Hours before the Boston Celtics were putting the Miami Heat on the brink of elimination, Beşiktaş Milangaz was doing the same to 13-time national champion Anadolu Efes in whupping the Euroleaguers, winning 81-55 at the Black Eagles’ nest.

In short, Beşiktaş destroyed on the boards, beating the disheartened Anadolu 40 to 20 in the stat. David Hawkins put in a monstrous 23 points on 9-of-12 overall shooting, while “Nana Yaw Dwene Mensah Bonsu” (Pops!) contributed a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds including five offensive … ah, let’s just cut to the chase. BallinEurope knows what you want. The game brief will continue in a moment, but now, the YouTube highlight dunk of the night…

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