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Jan
11

Sonny Weems learns Russian, enjoys bathtub with cheerleader while hocking pizza

In a series of advertisements featuring CSKA Moscow players and dance team, Papa John’s hopes to be hocking a lot of pizzas in the big city. The advertising campaign is your fairly standard stuff; a representative sample runs starring Milos Teodosic, Andrey Vorontsevich, the team mascot and Anton Ponkrashov resembling the world’s largest pencil with ramrod-straight party hat on head runs below the break.

But one commercial is particularly worthy of mention. For all those who thought basketball-related advertising in France was weird … check out this episode of Papa John’s pizza parties. In the ad, Sonny Weems demonstrates the only way to get Russian lessons: namely, with one sexy babe as tutor while, um, fully dressed in CSKA gear in a bathtub at a party. Until a teammate spoils the fun that is…

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Dec
0

Here come the Men in Red and Blue!

Dear CSKA Moscow Studios,

BiE was happy to hear that the exciting new cinematic blockbuster from your studios has now entered the production phase. The choices for leads in the “Men in Red and Blue” (or “MiRB” – nice bit of online-centric marketing consciousness shown there, might BiE say) motion picture are intriguing, indeed. Sonny Weems and Viktor Khryapa definitely have that je ne sais quoi-level of star power; BiE likes the idea of Khryapa as an invincible Schwarzeneggeresque action-flick hero for years to come.

But BiE digresses. With MiRB in pre-production, BiE hereby offers his services as songwriter for the soundtrack. My CV is attached … nah, that’s a lie. There is no CV. Let’s say instead that Os Davis is just some guy with a strong willingness to wrap.

Below run the lyrics to the proposed theme song, “Men in Red and Blue.” Thank you. My people will be waiting to hear from your people.

Yours,

Os Davis

“Men in Red and Blue”
© BallinEurope.com, 2012

Here come the Men in Red
(Oooh, in the red and blue)
(Oooh, in the red and blue)
Here come the Men in Red (Red and Blue)
You’re certain to remember

Yeah, yeah, yeah
The good guys dress in red, remember that,
Just in case we ever meet head-to-head and make contact.
We call ourselves the M.I.B.R.
And what we got means we got to go far.
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Jun
39

2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Team Russia

With the lengthily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tipping off in Venezuela on Monday, BallinEurope takes some time this week to catch up on the four European squads in the running for a trip to London and reckon on a brief assessment of each’s chances in the competition. First up is Russia, the Continent’s representative in qualifying group C.

Extended roster: Semen Antonov (BC Nizhny Novgorod); Sergey Bykov, Maxim Grigoryev (Lokomotiv Kuban); Sasha Kaun, Viktor Khryapa, Andrei Kirilenko, Anton Ponkrashov, Alexey Shved, Eugeny Voronov, Andrey Vorontsevich (CSKA Moscow); Sergey Karasev (Triumph Lyubertsy); Timofey Mozgov (Denver Nuggets); Sergey Monya, Vitaly Fridzon, Dmitry Khvostov (BC Khimki Moscow region); and Artem Yakovenko (Unics Kazan); head coach David Blatt (Maccabi Tel Aviv)

How they got here: Last year in Lithuania, the only team that could stop the Russian juggernaut was France. Les Bleus used a single 8-0 run in the third quarter and a career game from Nicolas Batum (19 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks) to squeak past the theretofore undefeated Team Russia in the semifinals.

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Jun
1

The top 10 plays from the Russian PBL in 2011-12 (even some not by CSKA Moscow)

As chosen by online voting, here are the Russian PBL’s top 10 plays of 2011-12. In case you’re wondering, yes, CSKA Moscow is all over this thing with a couple of alley-oops involving Andrey Vorontsevich and a ridiculously effortless longer-than-halfcourt pass from Milos Teodosic to Andrei Kirilenko.

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May
106

The BallinEurope All-American Euroleague team (also all-Russian, -Greek and -former Yugoslavian teams)

Sonny Weems: Lithuania's top import in 2011-12

Now here’s an argument starter for you … with much debate perpetually going on among European basketball fans vis-à-vis the influence of American and/or NBA players on the Euroleague, BiE decided to take a look back at the 2011-12 season in hopes of drawing some comparison on an individual, player-by-player level.

Below, then, runs four all-star squads based on play in this season’s edition of the big league; for convenience and competition’s (rather than geopolitics’) sake, players from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and FYR Macedonia will be virtually suiting up for the “former Yugoslavia” team.

Right, so who wins this tournament…?

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May
6

Who’s to blame? Another look at *that* final Panathinaikos play

BallinEurope bets that Dimitris Diamantidis didn’t sleep too well last night. In handling the ball of the final play in Panathinaikos’ 66-64 Euroleague Final Four loss to CSKA Moscow yesterday, former MVP DD was stifled by the Red Army defense and poor PAO fans could only watch time run out on the Greens’ back-to-back title bid.

Diamantidis also inadvertently helped redeem his CSKA counterpart, Milos Teodosic, an 88-plus percent free-throw shooter who could’ve iced the game with nine seconds remaining but missed both – and this after referees missed a couple of borderline dragging-the-pivot-foot travels as well.

No matter, though. What everyone tweeted about immediately – and DD is surely contemplating today is what exactly happened on that last Panathinaikos possession. To check out how it unfolded, start at about 3:17 in the video below.

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May
3

CSKA Moscow takes VTB United League title; first in history-making triple crown?

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to the 2011-12 VTB United League champions – to the surprise of few, CSKA Moscow.

The Red Army’s 74-62 victory over Unics Kazan in a rematch of last year’s final represents not only its second VTB championship in three seasons of the league’s existence, but the first title in a potentially history-making triple crown. CSKA are big favorites to take the Euroleague title (one sportsbook with typical lines had Moscow at 3/4 odds and second-best FC Barcelona at 13/5) and are *serious* favorites (would you believe odds of 1/28?) in the PBL finals against BC Khimki after going 17-1 in the 2011-12 regular season.

(A note to the hopeful: That one CSKA loss in PBL play this season? Yep, handed to them by Khimki back in December.)

In previous VTB championship-winning seasons, CSKA has managed to herd up an impressive lot of trophies: In 2008-09, the Russian league champs were nipped by Panathinaikos in the Euroleague finals and finished a disappointing third in the Russian Cup tournament after taking the VTB United League Promo Cup. In 2009-10, CSKA enjoyed three titles – a triple crown of sorts – in winning the Russian league and cups along with the VTB title; the Red Army finished third in the EL that year.

Also adding to his CV over the course of the VTB final four tournament was Andrei Kirilenko, who was named tourney MVP.

Official league writeup follows the highlights.

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Mar
42

Team Russia’s first opponent in 2012 Olympic qualifiers: Jetlag (really?)

With months to go before the London Olympic Games, some Russian media sources may already be panicking, based on concerns quoted from Alexey Shved vis-à-vis the FIBA qualifying tournament scheduled for July in Venezuela. The CSKA Moscow guard told Russia-based media service RIA Novosti that “Of course we’ll try. But flying for 15 hours changes your whole schedule. It’s very difficult.

Already, noted Shved, “We’ve had practically no rest since [Eurobasket 2011]. We’ll play out the season, then again training camps and a tournament on the other side of the world.”

The FIBA decision to place the qualifiers in Venezuela was, in Shved’s opinion, “completely mystifying. A long-haul flight, big time difference. Everyone thought that the qualification tournament would be in Lithuania.”

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Oct
4

CSKA Moscow meets the Heat as Euroleague American Tour 2010 tips off

The Russians have landed in Florida and they’re ready: Five days after the defending NBA and Euroleague champions met in Barcelona, a pair of would-be dethroners will meet when the supercharged Miami Heat host CSKA Moscow in the first game of the Euroleague American Tour 2010.

A few connections between players on both sides may be noted, as Lithuanians Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ramunas Siskauskas will be going head-to-head while there’s a minor University of Kansas reunion scheduled with Sasha Kaun and Mario Chalmers representing the Jayhawks out there.

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Sep
22

FIBA World Championship final: What to watch for in USA-Turkey match

And now, the conclusion of the 2010 FIBA World Championship. In hindsight, it looks like a meeting made inevitable by destiny: Hosts Turkey riding their home advantage and deploying its strongest roster since 2001 (if not ever) to meet the world’s basketball public enemy no. 1, Team USA.

Since no one needs reasons to watch this game, BallinEurope will simply enumerate a few things BiE’ll be watching for in tonight’s sure-to-be-stirring FIBA championship – and offers a fearless prediction or two, naturally.

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