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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 +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++
May
3

Flashback to 1995: Real Madrid 73, Olympiacos 61

The last time Real Madrid and Olympiacos met in a Euroleague final? The last time Los Blancos won it all, in fact: 1995. The Euroleague’s official writeup of that year’s playoffs runs below the highlight clip, but more importantly check out the legendary legend Arvydas Sabonis putting in 23 points and grabbing seven boards in his last season before jumping the puddle to join the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA…


Real Madrid vs Olympiakos 73-61 Euroleague 1995…

(Euroleague.net) — In the summer of 1994, Zeljko Obradovic left Joventut due to financial reasons despite having won the European title in Tel Aviv. Real Madrid took the chance to sign the young coach everybody was talking about, owner already of two titles with two different teams: Partizan in 1992 and Joventut. The move proved providential for Madrid, since the Spaniards ended second in their group (9-5), only after Panathinaikos (10-4), and in front of CSKA Moscow and Scavolini, both with 9-5. In the other group, Limoges was first (10-4), Olympiakos second (9-5) Cibona and Buckler Virtus third and fourth (both 8-6). In the quarterfinals, only Real managed to sweep, beating Cibona 2-0, while Panathinaikos (vs. Buckler), Limoges (vs. Scavolini) and Olympiakos (vs. CSKA) each needed three games to advance.

In the Final Four, played again in Zaragoza, Spain, Olympiakos won the Greek semifinal for the second year in a row, while Real Madrid did not have any problems downing Limoges. In the final there were no doubts: Real Madrid was ahead by 10 points at halftime (38-28) and maintained its clear lead until the end, 73-61. Arvydas Sabonis, in his third and last year with Real before going to the NBA, finally won the European title that had escaped him at two previous finals: in 1986 with Zalgiris and in 1992 with Real Madrid. Now, the team which still has the most European titles, had its first title in 15 years.

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May
0

How do you say “buzzer-beater” in Estonian? Tanel Soku shocks TU/Rock with half-courter

Another antagonist has been added to the nightmares of Tartu University/Rock fans: namely, point guard Tanel Soku. Already back-to-back title-holders with nine consecutive wins in Estonian league championship series over Rock, BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn made it 10 last night thanks to Soku’s heroics.

In a back-and-forth game, Rain Veideman was ultimately sent to the free-throw line as Rock held a one-point advantage with about three seconds remaining. Unfortunately for his side, Veideman hit just one of the two FTs to give the challengers a 71-69 lead but leaving Tallinn with no timeouts.
And then this happened.

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May
1

Euroleague Final Four semifinals: Top five plays

Right, then, here’s the big league’s official “best of” clip from last night’s semifinal games, starring Rudy Fernandez, Marcelinho Huertas, Juan Carlos Navarro, Giorgi Shermadini and Nenad Krstic with his only two points in CSKA Moscow’s debacle…

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Apr
12

Euroleague MVP, All-Euroleague first team: The BallinEurope ballot

BallinEurope tries to take the responsibilities of Euroleague media partnership seriously and so spent way too much time deliberating over the vote for this season’s all-Euroeleague team/MVP awards. Having been given through last Friday – and after the result of the Olympiacos-Anadolu Efes game was in – to fill out the ballot, let’s just say BiE stayed up late determining just the right order for submission. One can’t take this stuff too seriously, can one?

Of course, every year, the thoughtful media member must first define “Most Valuable Player” Should this title be taken to mean simply the best player within the given association for the given year? Or perhaps the value of Player X to his *team*, i.e. consideration of how much worse X’s squad would have been without him, is most important – though this contention relies on speculation rather than the fact of accumulated stats.

Questions upon questions: What about the defensive contributions which elude statistical measure? Or those intangibles of leadership that a cagey veteran like Vassilis Spanoulis (or Sarunas Jasikevicius, for seven-minute bursts, for that matter) adds to a successful side? And on this note – How much emphasis and importance should be placed on participation with a winning team? The All-Euroleague first team these days has tended to include five players from Top Four teams, rewarding winning with an individual nod. But wasn’t someone having enough of a banner year to get a Montepaschi Siena or Caja Laboral Baskonia much further into the EL season than expected?

You see the can of worms BiE had opened; it’s like this every year.

Regardless, BiE’s ballot is in and after a subsequent weekend of watching more hoops, an examination of the thinking process. The Euroleague ballot is set in the now-fairly standard format: Media partners may vote for five players, with five points awarded to each voter’s no. 1 choice, four to the no. 2, three to the no. 3, etc. Once again, the ‘League is allowing free voting: Any five players regardless of position may be chosen. (At least that part was easy…)

So here’s how BiE’s ballot looked. Continue Reading…

Apr
5

Block of the year? Nemanja Nedovic denies dunk, defies physics in Lithuania

Time may be running out all over European domestic leagues, but there’s well enough left for addition to the year’s best plays list – and this one certainly qualifies.

Check out Nemanja Nedovic destroying from behind a would-be dunk by Prienai’s Gediminas Orelikas in Lietuvos Rytas’ 75-67 LKL quarterfinal win last night. Note the strange physics involved as it is Nedovic who continues flying off the screen while Orelikas stays put in the key in dismay.

Nedovic added 20 points, four assists, four boards and two steals to this thunderous stat and must be considered an early nominee for Sportando European Team of the Week consideration…

Shout out to YouTube user M@nt@s for the post!

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Apr
1

FC Barcelona-Panathinaikos: The YouTube history (starring Gallis, Dominique, Obradovic, Saras, Pekovic, Diamantidis, Tomic)

Panathinaikos logoThose in the know about European basketball (or sport, really) need no introduction to either of these storied franchises who add another chapter to the annals tonight: Panathinaikos Athens goes to Barcelona to take on the Blaugrana in a decisive game five Euroleague quarterfinal match – after one heck of a series thus far.

Hyperbolization of these teams’ history – not to mention the nail-biting, cliffhanging suspense of this very playoff series – would be difficult and doing so would be bland. So BallinEurope will simply say that the series between these two clubs has Panathinaikos with a 15-12 overall advantage historically, and let’s get to the YouTubes. Enjoy quite a fascinating collection of a virtual Who’s Who of highlights; once again, YouTube rules.

FCB logo(Incidentally, if this collection seems slightly PAO-biased, apologies. Perhaps the Greek side’s fans are ahead in the video-sharing sphere as well…)

Panathinaikos and Barcelona met under the proper Euroleague banner at the very tail end of the 1993-94 season. In the third-place game, Nikos Gallis capped another EL scoring- and assist-leading season (23.8 and 4.7 per game, respectively) by leading PAO to a 100-83 win in the first game between the clubs in 12 years — back to the Champions Cup days.

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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
4

March Madness: Three teams (and nine players) to support in the 2013 NCAA Tournament

Can Harris, Gonzaga continue to ride the wave?

Can one website support three teams in a single competition? Hey, it’s March Madness, so why not? Earlier, BallinEurope took a brief look at half the European players set to compete (or not) in the 2013 NCAA Tournament; today, nine more – and a bit of a conundrum Though some 18 names on Big Dance rosters represent the Continent in this year’s tourney, three teams have each amassed a European triad – not to mention a few certain NBA draft picks and difference-makers in the tournament.

The easy choice for the European basketball fan would of course be Gonzaga. With a realistic shot at winning the whole enchilada and having perfected that up-tempo style for which this basketball program has become known, why not get on the bandwagon? After a topsy-turvy season during which it felt like a new no. 1 topped polls weekly, the Bulldogs finally emerged atop the ratings, only to see that ranking immediately erased thanks to bracket-building.

Of course, one could eliminate the Zags from contention for your Tournament-time devotion on a technicality. Guy Landry Edi’s hometown according to the NCAA and media sources is Paris, France. However, serious followers of FIBA ball will recall that, after playing with Team France in the U16s, he then suited up – thus changed his eligible nationality in FIBA terms – for Côte d’Ivoire in the 2010 FIBA World Championship (and subsequently the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship).

So could it be that Edi is finally worn down? Or, put another way, what happened to this guy in 2013? Since the New Year’s Eve game at Oklahoma State, Edi has totaled nearly as many personal fouls (11) as points (16, including seven in the Seniors Day Game blowout against Portland). Heck, he hasn’t scored a point since January 24, since going 0-for-13.

BiE wonders if we’ll ever see this player again (and thinks, yeah, maybe in Pro A next season):

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Mar
8

¡Viva La Pistola! Ricky Rubio goes for first NBA triple-double against Spurs [video]

History in the making? Ricky “The Human YouTube Highlight Clip” Rubio lived up to BallinEurope’s sobriquet last night in his Minnesota Timberwolves’ 107-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Rubio’s 25-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist performance was the first 20+/12/12 triple double against the Spurs since Larry Bird – and totally makes for one sweet YouTube clip in its own right. See for yourself in the nicely tightly-edited two-some minutes from the league below.

(Incidentally, BiE’s said it before and may say it again: How about that Rubio-to-Williams connection, eh?)

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Feb
3

Dunk of the Week: Willie Warren introduces “Dunk de la Mort II”

Shades of Vince Carter were shown by Maccabi Rishon’s Willie Warren, who pulled off one of this season’s most incredible dunks anywhere in his team’s 88-82 defeat of Bnei HaSharon on Sunday. Check out the closest approximation to Carter’s infamous “Dunk of Death” we’ve seen since originally pulled off at the 2000 Olympics. Fulfilling the Fred Weis role is Jumaine Jones.

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