Jan
0

The dish: A nice relaxing start

Round 1 of the Top 16 was a little crowded, we’ll get to that, but by and large it was awfully relaxing basketball.


We open with the game that closed the openung round if action. Vassilis Spanoulis went nuts in the SEF as he ripped Zedijko Obradovic a new one on the coach’s first trip to the arena as Fenerbahce coach. Obradovic brought his troops to the OAKA for warm-ups earlier in the day, a nice touch we must admit, but he couldn’t get them to fix an issue that’s hit them a few times this season. Could somebody please tell Fener to show up in the first quarter? Credit to the Istanbul club, they clawed their way back into it and made it a one-possession game going into the final minutes but then V-Span went out of this world again and the home side took the W. In a shock to no-one, Spanoulis was named MVP of the round with 28 points, 9 assists, and PIR of 39. Whatever the result when Barcelona visits Istanbul next week, a far better first frame is necessary for all of us reformed doubters to keep the faith. One final note on this game, be sure to check out Raul Jimenez’s piece on mismatches inspired by this game.

Staying in Group E and there was a good spot by Rob Scott over at ELA. The difference in offensive performance by Panathinaikos with and without Dimitris Diamantidis is frightening. They took care of business on Thursday night 73-57 at home against EA7 Milan, helped by 11 dimes from DDD. Daniel Hackett may be happy to still be in Italy but he must be guessing that his European season is going to become frighteningly irrelevant soon.
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Dec
0

Group F: The knowns and the unknowns

The slate is clean for the Top 16. We’re breaking down what we know about each team in the second phase, what we want to know, and what we think we still won’t know after 14 rounds of action. We went through Group E yesterday, now it’s time to look at Group F.

Real Madrid
What we know: They are an offensive monster. Going 24-0 in all competitions to date, this is the best start enjoyed by any Real Madrid team ever.
What we want to know: Their weaknesses. Even a team this good has to have some but nobody’s come close to testing them yet.
What we won’t know: How they handle a low-scoring match-up.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv
What we know: They are so Maccabi. This team is business-like but stops well short of flashy. Yup, sounds like what we expect from this outfit every year.
What we want to know: How they stack up to RMB.
What we won’t know: Their ceiling. This is the weaker of the two groups and a 10-4 record is possible without causing any major shocks.

CSKA Moscow
What we know: They are flawed. Talented, yes, and en route to the playoffs but inconsistency has dogged this team when it was the one aspect Ettore Messina was expected to fix this year.
What we want to know: If they can settle on their best line-up.
What we won’t know: If any of this matters. In a flip from last year’s team, the ability to get hot in a hurry may be this side’s saving grace.

Galatasaray Liv Hospital
What we know: They are weaker than their record. All statistical measures outside the W-L column point to this team being in much worse health than the regular season record indicated. Over 14 games, that’ll be tough to mask.
What we want to know: If there’s a plan longer than half a season.
What we won’t know: See above.

Zalgiris Kaunas
What we know: They are survivors. No VTB League campaign, struggling in LKL, yet here they stand in the Top 16.
What we want to know: How they are going to balance their priorities.
What we won’t know: What the long-term future is.

Lokomotiv Kuban
What we know: They are seriously motivated to make an impact in Euroleague, as evidenced by a regular season where they silenced many doubters.
What we want to know: What was on their bulletin board to get them so fired up through the autumn.
What we won’t know: Where to buy a good beer in Krasnodar.

Partizan Belgrade
What we know: They will give one of the top three teams in this group a heart attack on their home court.
What we want to know: If they can play consistent enough to mount a real challenge for the last playoff spot.
Whzt we won’t know: If this is a renaissance or a blip.

FC Bayern
What we know: They are the most dangerous looking team from the Bundesliga to enter the Top 16 in a long time, which admittedly isn’t much of an achievement.
What we want to know: If they can capitalise on a soft group and get that last playoff spot.
What we won’t know: The date at which all of Europe should realise these guys ain’t playing anymore and a real power is emerging out of the Bundesliga.

Fearless prediction: Real to take top spot, Maccabi to squeeze CSKA for second, leaving the mother of all fights for fourth. Kuban look the best bet on paper but…this is a fearless prediction so nope. FC Bayern to steal it from the cookie jar.

Oct
0

Bundesliga: Bayern stay perfect, Mike’s Stock is falling


FC Bayern moved to 4-0 as their impressive start to Bundesliga continued while Artland Dragons claimed the scalp of Brose Baskets Bamberg.

This is what you call ideal preparation for your debut season in Euroleague. FC Bayern already had a win over fellow Euroleague side Bamberg to their name in the Bundesliga this season and continued their hot start with a 103-70 win over BC Bayreuth. Bayern had 6 players in double digits as they comfortably maintained their perfect start to the season. Malcolm Delaney wasn’t one of the big scorers, he was far too busy dropping dimes as he dished 11 assists on the day. Bayreuth were short-handed for the road trip and their eight-man rotation finally caved in the third quarter when Bayern busted the game open with a 34-16 frame.

Germany’s other Euroleague team, Brose Baskets Bamberg, isn’t enjoying the hot start of their Bavarian neighbours. The reigning Bundesliga champions dropped to 2-2 on the season after losing 71-68 at Artland Dragons. Brandon Thomas chipped in 14 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists for Dragons in the win.

ratiopharm Ulm is fast becoming one of the favourite teams of Ballineurope, mainly because they post highlights of their games promptly after they have finished. Unfortunately for Ulm, being in our good books counts for squat and they went down 77-74 at home to Telekom Baskets Bonn. Cameron Long’s 0 for 7 day from deep didn’t help the home side out but Per Gunther was an impressive 4 of 5 from three point range. Inconsistency was the undoing of Ulm, even Gunther had a horrible day on the inside, and they eventually succumbed to a more efficient Bonn team.

We never meant to have a Mike Stockton watch on these pages but after featuring the Ludwigsburg player last week, we simply have to follow up and see how he got on at the weekend. Stockton and his MHP Riesen team got stuffed in Berlin, losing to Alba 83-52. Stockton had 6 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, but 6 turnovers in the loss. David Logan starred for Berlin with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Oct
0

Germany: Bayern contain Stockton, Bamberg rolls, Ulm squeeze it out

It was a busy night in the Bundesliga and FC Bayern maintained their perfect record with a comfortable 95-71 win at Ludwigsburg.

Bayern didn’t stop Mike Stockton but they managed to contain the new favourite son of Ludwigsburg. Stockton scored 12 points, picked up 3 rebounds, and had 3 assists but this was well short of the crazy numbers he put up in his first two games at his new home. Bayern’s variety of options was on full display as 6 different players scored in double digits. Malcolm Delaney led the way with 18 points, 7 dimes, and 5 boards, but his was just won of several impressive showings from the Bavarians on Wednesday night.

Brose Baskets Bamberg rebounded from their weekend loss to Bayern with a crushing 85-62 win over Walters Tigers Tubringen. Darmir Markota had 8 boards and 6 assists while scored 22 points and dropped 5 dimes in a dominant home display by the Bundesliga champions.

The was a thriller between s.Oliver Baskets and ratiopharm Ulm. Despite strong starts to both halves, Ulm couldn’t shake the Wurzburg club and the battle went down to the closing stages. On a night where free-throw shooting was iffy, it was Ulm that held its nerve at the line to hang on for an 81-80 victory.

 

 

 

Oct
0

Diagramming an impressive debut for Mike Stockton, son of that Stockton

We’re not quite at the stage where if Simon Jatsch of In-the-game.org draws it up we’ll share it but we’re not far off. This chart from Ludwigsburg’s first two games of Germany’s Bundesliga season shows just how impressive a debut Michael Stockton, son of hall-of-famer John Stockton, made for his new team.

Michael-Stockton-Ludwigsburg-Bremerhaven

Stockton scored 20 points and had 8 assists in an impressive first outing for his new home, an 83-75 win over Bremerhaven. After spending last season with Karlsruhe and clocking time in the NBA Summer League with the Utah Jazz, Stockton stepped up on his debut with Ludwigsburg. A health warning should be attached, Bremerhaven aren’t noted for their pick and roll defence, but the Westminster College product followed it up with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in a 74-64 win at Rasta Vechta.

Next up for Stockton and Ludwigsburg it’s a home date with unbeaten FC Bayern.

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Oct
0

Bundesliga best bits and Bayern vs Bamberg highlights

Good morning. Want to see what happened in the Bundesliga in Round 2? Here’s the Top 10 plays and game highlights from FC Bayern’s 84-74 win over Brose Baskets Bamberg as well as ratiopharm Ulm’s 87-47 shellacking of Bremerhaven.

Unsurprisingly, a big play from FC Bayern’s win makes the Top 10 list but it isn’t top of the pile.

Nothing is won in October but the mental boost from beating Bamberg won’t be lost on FC Bayern. Just check out the excitement down the stretch in these highlights.

ratiopharm Ulm utterly routed Bremerhaven on Sunday. This was a laugher but check out the cool tribute by Ulm fans at the start.

Oct
0

Germany: First blood for Bayern between Bundesliga big guns

The first round of Basketball Bundesliga in Germany pitted the league’s two Euroleague participants against each other in the Audi Dome and it was FC Bayern who came out on top 84-74 over Brose Baskets Bamberg.

It’s that time of the year where every game is begging to be over-analysed and the Bundesliga served up the perfect match-up for such a purpose. FC Bayern, whose hype has only grown over the summer with their admittance to Euroleague, struck first blood over reigning Bundesliga champions Brose Baskets Bamberg with a 10 point win in Munich’s Audi Dome.

The home side took the lead from the off against Bamberg, moving to a 9 point advantage by the break, but the reigning champions were back on level terms as the game entered the final frame. Chevon Troutman and Nihad Djedovic came up big for the home side with 14 points each as they pushed for the finish down the stretch. Casey Jacobsen’s 17 point contribution wasn’t enough to take the W for Bamberg. Bayern win to move to 2-0. Please remember, it’s very early in the season.

Artland Dragons overcame an ugly day from the field to sneak a 67-66 win over Alba Berlin. The Dragons managed to shoot just 36.5 per cent compared to a more palatable 41.3 from Berlin but it was success from deep and on the board that pushed the home side over the line. Anthony King was in fine from with 15 points and 11 boards in a game-leading display for Artland Dragons.

EWE Baskets Oldenburg didn’t let the sting of their exit from the Euroleague Qualifiers affect them back in domestic action. Oldenburg eased to a 72-63 win at Skyliners Frankfurt, getting back on track after falling at the second hurdle in Vilnius. Ricky Paulding hit four three-pointers en route to 18 points for Oldenburg with Nemanja Aleksandrov providing ample support with 11 points.

Due to their participation in Vilnius, this was Oldenburg’s first game of the season and they are one of six teams with perfect records at this early point. In addition to Bayern and Dragons, Phantoms Braunschweig, Ludwigsburg, and Phoenix Hagen all moved to 2-0 to start the 2013-14 season. The number of perfect records will go down by at least one on Wednesday as Ludwigsburg host FC Bayern in the mid-week round of games. Bamberg are also in action on Wednesday as they host 0-2 Tubringen. Alba will have to wait until Saturday to try and pick up their first win of the year when they host Ludwigsburg at the O2.

Jul
2

Podcast: Talking international hoops with GB U20s coach Douglas Leichner, SellOutXBoy

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #45 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

This week we’re talking (mostly) international competitions, though Hein does get off a good rant (well, as ranty as the guy gets) on FC Bayern Munich’s apparent moves to sop up all available talent from the BBL, while BallinEurope is in shock and awe over FC Barcelona’s acquisition of Bostjan Nachbar – seriously, just look at this roster.

*Then* we’re on to international competitions. First up in guesting to the show is the tweeter known as SellOutXBoy to explain just what in the name of Naismith is going on with the Russian national program in the wake of the shock firing/quitting/dismissal of national team head coach Fotis Katsikaris as well as the departure of federation president Alexander Krasnenkov. Believe it or not, it’s political. And possibly bleak.

Also joining us is Douglas Leichner, head coach of the U20s Team Britain; Leichner’s young charges ended up taking second place on the podium in the Division B side of the U20 European Championship and thus will move up to the top level for next year. Among other topics, Leichner touches upon Britain’s own Golden Generation of players…

Finally, there’s the sports movie review of the week. Check out the clip below, sort of a teaser-trailer for Mystic Ball, a 2006 documentary about Greg Hamilton of Canada and his attempts to learn the national pastime of Myanmar, Chinlone. In short the game can be described as a ball sport with only one team on the playing field at one time – and with no scorekeeping.

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.


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Jul
1

From the free-for-all: Last week’s top five Euroleague acquisitions (plus one from the NBA)

Has it really been almost two months since the Euroleague Final Four? And when did the seasons in Spain, Greece, Italy and the NBA finish up? Time gets exceedingly relative and outright bendy once offseason transactioneering begins as memories of the previous year are quickly disposed for a look to the next and the money starts flying around.

Last week was a particularly noteworthy, headline-making span, particularly over here in Europe and especially if you’re interested in any player not named Dwight Howard. Here are BallinEurope’s five favorite moves of the previous seven days. (Is it wrong to say BiE already can’t wait for October?)

• Adam Hanga to Laboral Kutxa Baskonia. The career arc of the player destined to become Hungary’s all-time greatest continues: After developing in the Hungarian league followed by two seasons with Manresa of Liga Endesa, Hanga is set to make his Euroleague debut at age 24½ with Baskonia – and seems certain to surprise those not in-the-know with his across-the-board contributions; while Hanga will be having some minor surgery this week, he expects to miss no regular-season games. The four-year contract with Baskonia may yet keep Hanga here in Europe and out of San Antonio for a bit longer, which can be construed as good news (certainly for Continental ball followers) or bad (for the NBA supremacists).

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May
3

Podcast: Talking Miami Heat with Hot Hot Hoops, Bayern Munich business with club GM; reviewing underrated basketball movie classic He Got Game

Episode #37 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes. After the usual patter on Euroleague rumors (especially this one) and VTB United League playoffs, the good stuff starts happening.

First up to guest on the show is Bayern Munich general manager Marko Pesic, who chats up heinnews on the seemingly overwhelming and undeniably impressive growth of the club since the beginning of this decade and its second-division Bundesliga standing. BiE continues to be fascinated with team’s master plan built on little more than the club’s football brand and um, well, that’s it, really. The fact of the matter – call it a BallinEurope Official Fearless Prediction™ if you will – is that this team, barring unforeseen financial or personnel disaster, will be playing Euroleague ball within two seasons. Thus is Pesic good to hear from.

And the GM gives us insight into the truth to rumors that Bayern will make a run at signing Ratiopharm Ulm’s John Bryant. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

Following Pesic is Jay Ramos, writer for the Miami Heat-centric SB Nation site Hot Hot Hoops. Ramos speaks to us about, well, the Miami Heat; more specifically, topics include mostly Lebron, more Lebron, Dwyane Wade, a tiny bit of Ray Allen and Shane Battier, Lebron, you get the idea. But can BiE put the fear of Tony Parker in Ramos? Tune in to find out – Ramos’ own predictions for the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Championship outcome are also here, as are BallinEurope’s.

Incidentally, when was the last time an NBA playoff series stood at 2-2 yet was so widely accepted to be a foregone conclusion…?

The Taking the Charge sports movie review of the week focuses on He Got Game, an unfairly under-seen film by New York Knicks ultrafan Spike Lee starring Denzel Washington and now-Heat former-Milwaukee Bucks/Boston Celtics sharpshooter Ray Allen. The short take: See this film. If you already have, watch it again. For many more reasons why, listen in…

Finally, also of note is our bumper music: Fantastic and rights-free material from Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and DJ Danger Mouse – great stuff you may never have heard before.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter this into iTunes or any podcast aggregator: http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/.

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