After flirting with Erazem Lorbek in the offseason, Spurs brass were no doubt impressed by Baynes’ EL regular-season display (during which he looked much like Lorbek, 2011-12 edition) in which all he did was lead the league in two-point attempts, two-pointers made, offensive rebounds, total rebounds and performance index rating.
For San Antonio fans who subscribe to the “seeing is believing” credo, here’s a couple of goodies for you…
In hindsight, this game mathematically meant little: Thanks to the week 5 blowout induced by Barça, CSKA faced the nigh-impossible task of winning by 22 points against the EL-undefeated Spanish side. Revenge blowout or no, however, it was quickly obvious that both teams came unwilling to go into the ‘League break with a loss.
And so going into the fourth quarter, CSKA faced its first true crunch-time test since October. As per BallinEurope tradition, BiE reports Teodosic’s stat line through the first 30 minutes as a bit of a mixed bag: 3-of-4 overall shooting, five rebounds, three steals and five TOs.
Messina sat his starting point guard for the fourth quarter’s first 6½ minutes; despite a couple bursts of nifty transition ball by CSKA, with 3:32 remaining and Ante Tomic sinking two free throws, the Red Army had fallen a point further behind since the fourth-quarter opening.
Barcelona’s future: Alex Abrines, Mario Hezonja, Marko Todorović
As though FC Barcelona’s red-hot play – they’re now at 14-4 overall after an 0-2 start in Spain – weren’t enough to keep European basketball devotees watching, here are two more reasons for you: Mario Hezonja and Marko Todorović.
Hezonja again did not play in Spain this weekend, unlisted on the roster for Barca’s 81-64 win over Cajasol in Liga Endesa play; the 12th-man spot was filled by 20-year-old Todorović of Montenegro. In the Beşiktaş game, Todorović’s 12 minutes of court time was the most he’s gotten all season and the national teamer was good for four points, four rebounds and two blocks.
a shout out to all those who voted in the BiE poll; you’re gonna love part two for sure; and
apologies for the relative lack of contributions last and, foreseeably, this week. To put it in brief, BiE headquarters is relocating (read: “Os is moving”), but in December things will be again running smoothly here.
Erazem Lorbek got some support from commenters and BiE admits that once again the Barcelona big went underrated on these pages. So BiE didn’t have Lorbek in his top five for Euroleague MVP balloting last season; this nomination should make up for that. While Lorbek’s numbers are generally down in 2012-13, he looks to be rearing back with three consecutive double-digit EL games and could be wearing the Blaugrana colors for some time yet.
The BallinEurope endorsement, however, goes to Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Not only is Big Sofo a fan favorite, not only would Sofoklis be done well in caricature, but can’t you just imagine him squaring off against Sabonis? Vote Sofo.
Despite the possibility of imminent retirement, Juan Carlos Navarro stays on the list. And Bo McCalebb’s there because he’s Bo. And because BiE wants that FYR Macedonia jersey in the logo.
We’ll be running a poll on this question next week, but please feel free to put forth suggestions in the “comments” section below this post. A few suggested guidelines: Since the winning choice will be immortalized (well, as immortalized as things can get online) in illustrated form, BiE asks that you consider only guys easily caricatured or are at least easily recognizable by the uniform.
After making a few kneejerk-reaction choices, BiE also consulted with this site’s contributing writers and a pilgrim father of BallinEurope. Below runs the tentative list of candidates thus far.
It’s never too late for the ‘Hangover (or so BiE’s telling himself). Excuses aside, following are a few Eurocentric impressions, notes, highlight clips – and the no. 1 reason why Barack Obama is thrilled the Los Angeles Lakers went down in the playoffs last season…
• Power vacuum in Italy? Coming into 2012-13, most pundits in the European basketball sphere reckoned Montepaschi Siena was due for an off year after an off offseason which saw them downgrade at several positions. And while it appears that Siena won’t be giving up its stranglehold on the Italian national title easily (they’re currently at 4-1; more on this shortly), the team’s dismal Euroleague play indicates this isn’t a Montepaschi team in the mold we’ve become accustomed to.
Over at Kosarka.si, Erazem Lorbek, Slovenia’s most sought-after basketball player on the free-agent market cleared the air a bit vis-à-vis Spain-based reports that he’d already reached an agreement with the San Antonio Spurs for the 2012-13 season.
The Euroleague first-teamer went on to say that he saw two other options for himself for 2012-13 beyond the NBA: To renew a contract with FC Barcelona or to get with another Euroleague team. Lorbek also indicated that all options are open and that the NBA is not necessarily in the driver’s seat.
Lorbek concluded with the acknowledgement that he is suffering from a few minor injuries, but he should be ready for the next season.
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 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.