Latest

BiE’s editor takes the ice bucket challenge, nominates Basketball Ireland boss +++ Žydrūnas Ilgauskas considering a comeback? Wow LeBron has power +++ The Dream Team’s children +++ Highlights: Belgium beat Belarus, Germany stay alive +++ EuroBasket 2015: Bosnia, Belgium, Israel, and Latvia lock up spots +++ 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 +++
May
1

Podcast: Interview with Ricky Rubio; wrapping the 2012-13 Euroleague season, NIJT; reviewing The Wrestler

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #35 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Talking the Charge” podcast series is now available online and is downloadable from iTunes – and o boy, it’s a good one.

Days after Olympiacos made European basketball history, we’re still amazed by another incredible run by the Reds and so discuss the context of this back-to-back title victory. Also up for discussion are reasons why Real Madrid and FC Barcelona should be proud and CSKA Moscow a bit ashamed. And what about that Red Army side? Will they blow up the team? What is the future of Ettore Messina, Milos Teodosic and Nenad Krstic with the club after a most disappointing Euroleague finish?

We also weigh in on the results and performances of the Nike International Junior Tournament, with particular reference to the finalists, champions Club Joventut Badalona and runners-up FC Barcelona – an extreme contrast in styles vis-à-vis club development within the economic realities of European sport in the 2010s.

Ricky Rubio WolvesOf course, this show’s highlight is the brief interview with none other than The Human YouTube Highlight Clip himself, Ricky Rubio. In remarkably succinct fashion, La Pistola weighs in on this year’s Euroleague Final Four, the past frustrating season with the Minnesota Timberwolves (and the importance of Nikola Pekovic) and the possibilities for Team Spain in the upcoming Eurobasket 2013 tournament.

Finally, our sports movie review of the week focuses on the 2008 film The Wrestler featuring Mickey Rourke in an outstanding tour de force career-comeback performance.

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.

Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

Continue Reading…

May
40

Instant history: Olympiacos dominates last 30 minutes, tops Real Madrid, 100-88, for back-to-back titles

No matter which way this year’s Euroleague championship played out, history would be made with Olympiacos chasing a repeat championship and Real Madrid its first in 18 years. And as it turns out, fate’s scribe was writing with Red(s) pen: Once again, tournament underdogs Olympiacos ended up EL alpha dogs with a 100-88 win over Real Madrid for only the third repeat title of the last 25 years.

(Olympiacos BC image courtesy Euroleague)

Olympiacos: They are the champions — again

Real Madrid jumped out to an early lead as All-Euroleague first teamer Rudy Fernandez accounted for six points and two assists on his team’s first 10 points, finding Sergio Llull again and again; the two would combine for 16 in the first quarter alone. Los Blancos’ 27-10 lead after the opening stanza might have been considered enough against an ordinary team – but Europe’s comeback kids are hardly ordinary.

Pero Antic’s three to start the scoring in the second quarter got the Olympiacos fans back to their feet –more importantly triggering a 13-2 run with contributions from Kyle Hines and Kostas Sloukas to bring the Reds to within seven at 29-22. And highlight-reel Reyes-to-Slaughter alley-oop dunk aside, the Reds fairly well owned the second 10 minutes, outscoring Real 27-14

Of particular note in the second 10 minutes was Stratos Perperglou stifling Fernandez, limiting him to just two points on free throws; in fact, Perperglou’s defensive play was representative of Olympiacos’, as nearly half of the Madrid points (six) in the quarter were made at the line, while six Real turnovers were forced.

Vassilis Spanoulis, remarkably quiet for so long, finally broke his personal cold streak with a three after the first minute of the third quarter and a subsequent three would give Olympiacos its first lead at 48-45 – must’ve been something concocted at halftime … another run – this one 15-5 – appeared to have Real on the ropes in the third, but Los Blancos weren’t finished yet, momentarily retaking the lead at 56-55 after a pair of jumpers from Fernandez.

Among the highlights in a pressure-packed final five minutes of the third were two consecutive stops of Fernandez after he’d run up seven in the stanza already; among the lowlights, Sloukas assessed for a technical after flopping. Nikola Mirotic, uncharacteristically plagued with foul trouble earned his fourth PF – one of 10 committed by three members of the Real frontcourt – late in the third quarter as well. After 30 minutes, it was a new ballgame: 61-61.

With 90 seconds gone, Spanoulis reentered the court to palpable tension. A section of Reds fans maintained their trademark noise, but many were strangely silent while the Madridistas clung to edges of their seats.
The death blow may have come on a hidden play, as Acie Law forced Llull to bounce a dribble off his foot and into the backcourt – Spanoulis’ followup three would ultimately seal the deal from 70-62:

While Law and Sloukas and Georgi Shermadini went on to score from various spots on the floor, Jaycee Carroll’s three-pointer – just one of three Madrid shooting attempts in the fourth quarter’s first five minutes – stood alone as a Real success from the floor. By that time, the Reds’ lead had ballooned to 82-70 and the Spanish side simply did not have an Olympiacos-like miracle comeback in ‘em.

And no Spanoulis, either.

Continue Reading…

May
0

Euroleague championship game: Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™

BiE’s got enough time to throw these out there, so here goes nothing … since in this debacle, we went with a final score of 72-60 – albeit with way wrong finalists picked – we’ll run with it: Olympiacos 72, Real Madrid 60, to complete the amazing back-to-back. And your Euroleague Final Four MVP will be … Kyle Hines.

(Regular readers of this ‘site of course realize what this likely means: Los Blancos take their first EL title since ’95 and, say, Felipe Reyes will take the individual award; wager accordingly.)

Continue Reading…

May
0

Georgios Bartzokas: “We have to forget the CSKA Moscow game immediately”

Below runs the official EL interview with Olympiacos head coach Georgios Bartzokas going into his team’s championship game against Real Madrid. Certainly a candidate for 2013 Euroleague Coach of the Year honors, Bartzokas had never taken a team past the Top 16 round previous to this season – but one couldn’t discern this from either the excellent gameplan he drew up for the Reds in the semifinal match or his incredible sangfroid in this clip…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

Continue Reading…

May
1

Jaycee Carroll: “We’ve got to match Olympiacos’ aggressiveness”

The attention Jaycee Carroll got on Saturday’s open media time was well out of proportion to his playing time on Friday night. In about 22 minutes (much of it in garbage time; then again, much of the game was garbage time, ultimately), Carroll contributed just two points – well done from his double-figure scoring averages this season – to Real Madrid’s immolation of CSKA Moscow. Below, a minute with one of the Madridistas’ friendliest, most engaging players…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

Continue Reading…

May
1

Marcus Slaughter: “This is the biggest game of my career”

Real Madrid’s Marcus Slaughter feels good despite facing the pressure of what he calls – and what unquestionably is – the biggest game of his seven-year professional career. Olympiacos might want to take note, as the defending champs could well have matchup problems in facing up against this athletic big man … particularly if, as he says, speed will be the key to a Euroleague title in 2013…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

Continue Reading…

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…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

Continue Reading…

May
0

Live blogging Euroleague Final Four: FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

After a disappointing no-show by CSKA Moscow in the first Euroleague Final Four game, BallinEurope hopes that the clash of Spanish basketball superpowers lives up to the “Il Classico”…perhaps the biggest news/speculation regards Nathan Jawai, who was such a force in the playoff round for Barca; at least one Spain-based source claims that the big guy will not play at all. With Pete Mickael already out, this cannot be good news.

As for Real Madrid, it seems like ages since they last suited up for a Euroleague game. Will the long respite hurt or help?

Follow along below with BallinEurope and comment at will; enjoy the game, all!

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

Continue Reading…

May
1

Live blogging Euroleague Final Four 2013: CSKA Moscow vs Olympiacos

Okay, so BallinEurope supposes it’s not technically “live blogging” per se, but here will follow live textual coverage of the first Euroleague Final Four game for 2013. And though to man, the Red Army denies any psychological impact or residue of revenge motivates them this game, BiE can’t help but think the disappointment of 2012 isn’t somewhere in mind…

And so what can Euroleague MVP Vassilis Spanoulis engineer this time? We’ll find out very soon now. Join in on the chat here at BallinEurope.com and enjoy the game!

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

May
0

Quote of Euroleague Final Four tournament: “I think I did a great job of being Sonny Weems this season”

The eminently quotable Sonny Weems was in fine form before his club’s matchup with Olympiacos in Euroleague Final Four play. See below for his talk with media members in which he downplays the revenge factor going into tonight’s game (of course, Sonny was not one of the half-dozen players who ended up on the wrong side of the big league’s biggest championship upset ever) and speaks of the difference between playing for CSKA Moscow and Žalgiris Kaunas.

And finally, for those who assume that any player worth his salt would automatically eschew European basketball for the NBA, watch to the end for a hint on Weems’ future with the Red Army. (Hint: CSKA fans should be stoked indeed…)

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

Continue Reading…