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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 +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Apr
1

Panathinaikos tops Maccabi Tel Aviv, 86-85 to advance; Greens to take on Red Army, history in Istanbul

The 2011-12 Euroleague Final Four field is now filled, as Panathinaikos’ cliffhanger of an 86-85 win against Maccabi Tel Aviv last night sets up a May date with the monsters of CSKA Moscow in Istanbul.

(And now, a slight bit of horn-tooting. Note a few Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ made good, i.e. Dimitris Diamantidis as player of the game and a fairly close call of the final score. Yeah, yeah, BiE knows the drill from White Men Can’t Jump: “The sun even shines on a dog’s ass some days. Anyone can win the lottery.”)

While the bookmakers see the Greens as relative longshots – former Euroleague sponsor Sporting Bet has CSKA at 3/4, FC Barcelona at 12/5, PAO at 4/1 and Olympiacos at 11/1 – one compelling bit of history should be firmly in the minds of the favorites: Since 2001, Panathinaikos has played in five EL Final Fours and they’ve won four, including those three taken in the past five years.

Game highlight clip, a look at the last five seconds of game time, an obligatory YouTube of the OAKA crowd and official league writeup follow.

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Apr
2

Panathinaikos vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv: Official BallinEurope (and other) Fearless Predictions™

With the last 2011-12 Euroleague Final Four spot to be decided in tonight’s climactic game five between Panathanikos and Maccabi Tel Aviv, BallinEurope takes a look at some recent prognostications by experts and observers – plus a modicum of analysis as to how well some have done. O, and of course, the official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™ for the game…

• Before the Euroleague Playoffs tipped off, Pini Gershon told Greece-based Eurohoops.net that “[Sarunas] Jasikevicius is the key for the Greens and Sofo is [...] for Maccabi. There is a difference in the playing style of Maccabi when Sofo is the court and a different style when [Richard] Hendrix is playing. Panathinaikos still relies on the pick-and-roll. Hendrix is a better defender than Schortsanitis, but [Schortsanitis] is in very good condition lately.”

At least in terms of the Greek side, Gershon appears dead on: After tormenting Maccabi in the game one win, Saras was indeed crucial in PAO’s stay-alive game four win. Oftentimes sharing the floor with Diamantidis, the pair went 7-of-13 for 25 points. DD racked a nice 19 performance index rating but Jasikevicius was at his best for the nth time in his long championship-laden career in orchestrating the half-court offense.

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Mar
25

Euroleague Playoffs games two: Impressions, notes, YouTube highlight clips

Games two of the 2011-12 Euroleague Playoffs have gone down … also down and just about out are Gescrap Bilbao Basket, once again outmatched and whipped by CSKA Moscow, 79-60. Unics Kazan may also be in the razor’s edge category as even a lackluster performance by FC Barcelona shooters – seriously, 19-of-57 (33.33%) overall and 13-of-43 (30.2%) not including Juan Carlos Navarro – wasn’t enough to buy the Russian side a win on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Montepaschi Siena managed to even up their series in a pair of thrillers: The former overcame Panathinaikos and lotsa noise for the 95-92 overtime win away, while the latter held off another fourth-quarter comeback by Olympiacos to tally an 81-80 squeaker in the win column.

And now, the BallinEurope YouTube compilation … what better to do on Saturday, anyway?

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Mar
6

Gershon: “Jasikevicius is key for Panathinaikos”; “Who can stop McCalebb?”

Over at Greece-based Eurohoops.net, yesterday was posted a nice interview with already-legendary former head coach Pini Gershon. Gershon in Europe is mostly known for his establishment of Maccabi Tel Aviv as a European basketball powerhouse, with Continental titles taken in 2001*, 2004, and 2005 (*actually a FIBA SuproLeague title in that strange season of two European club champions), plus a brief and respectable turn with Olympiacos in the late ‘00s.

Making him a local hero in Bulgaria was his guidance of the national team into Eurobasket 2009, particularly the underdog side’s upset over Team Italy in qualifiers to advance. And Gershon earned his 15 minutes of ESPN Sports Center fame after earning an ejection in October of that year during an exhibition game between Maccabi and the New York Knicks.

Nowadays, Gershon is in a state of retirement but naturally is still keeping up with the game. In the Eurohoops interview, much space is devoted to Gershon thoroughly sounding off on a couple series in the Euroleague’s elite eight tournament round. Most telling are two prescient points on individual performances; this stuff should probably be taken seriously.

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May
1

Euroleague Final Four: Last-minute notes, Fearless Predictions™

With just a few hours to go before the Euroleague Final Four tipoff, BallinEurope has just enough time to mull over the matchups and publish more of those good ol’ Fearless Predictions™. (Keep in mind, though, that BiE was a pretty pitiful 1-3 in the playoff round.)

Panathinaikos vs. Montepaschi Siena. It’s extremely difficult to go against never-say-die Montepaschi Siena in this one; however, not only is the 2010-11 edition of Panathinaikos a team seemingly built to win the Euroleague with its combination of speed, size and incredible defensive schemes, but history appears to be on the Greens’ side as well. After all, a trio from the 2007 and 2009 EL champs – Dimitris Diamantidis, Mike Batiste and Kostas Tsartsaris – will be going again for PAO this time ‘round.

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May
1

“We are the best team in Europe”: Euroleague Final Four sound bites

The Euroleague officially opened the festivities for the 2011 Final Four yesterday with a squall of press conferences, publicity and media events – but BiE will give you the short version, as presented in video form by the big league itself.

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Apr
6

Euroleague Playoffs: Games four highlights

And suddenly, the Spanish influence on the Euroleague has been reduced to just one team in the final four – exactly as many squads as Greece, Israel and Italy’ll have. Caja Laboral in the end just didn’t have enough answers for Maccabi Tel Aviv’s depth and star power, while Panathinaikos displayed the blueprint for taking out FC Barcelona in dominating the baseline and constantly playing the aggressor in driving time and again to the basket. (Of course, it helps if you have Dimitris Diamantidis in the lineup as well…)

And kudos to Montepaschi Siena for successfully shrugging off a horrible game one loss in what might have been a disaster for morale while reestablishing the hyperquick-moving, high-scoring offense that had faltered a bit in the Top 16 round.

Real Madrid hosts Power Electronics Valencia on “Wednesday or Thursday” to determine the last entry into the Euroleague Final Four, and – BiE’s repeating it here out of shock – España’s only team to go this far.

Highlights from last night’s games, as well as the officially-selected top five plays, follow.

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Mar
0

Bits, bites and videos going into Euroleague playoff games three

Tonight: Which Euroleague teams will be bounced to end their 2010-11 bid? And which will force a game five? A few bits, bites and videos’ worth of notes on tonight’s games below the break from BallinEurope via a buncha other sources – many of which are not actually named “YouTube.” Plus, of course, those patented Official BiE Fearless Predictions™. Enjoy!

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