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 +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++

Durant’s withdrawal a body blow for the FIBA World Cup

Kevin Durant’s withdrawal from Team USA may make the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball more competitive but it’s a disaster for the tournament, writes Emmet Ryan.

He was the shield. The one thing that meant no matter what else happened, this tournament was elite. Withdrawals through injury, fatigue, or lack of interest have plagued the World Cup as they so often do. This edition however stood firm. It had its shining star, the man who could sell this tournament to casual fans irrespective or who stood beside or against him.

Kevin Durant isn’t just the reigning NBA MVP, he is universally regarded (at least by anyone whose surname isn’t Bryant) as one of the top two players in the game today. The US team still has star power, indeed superstar power in the form of James Harden and Derrick Rose, but Durant brought this roster’s profile to another level. Harden and Rose can carry the identity of a team. KD was the brand of the tournament.
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Rockets Harden, Parsons, Lin get the manga treatment in Dunk Shot

All right! The folks over at Japan-based Dunk Shot have produced another odd manga-like take on an NBA team. While not long ago, BallinEurope showed the hoops-centric newspaper’s take on Kevin Love and the Eurowolves, this time it’s Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and James Harden getting animated. Translation is forthcoming, but it seems as though the Rockets are preoccupied in similar fashion to the Timberwolves, i.e. it’s all about pursuing the ladies, and Harden (like Nikola Pekovic before him) appears to be having troubles. It’s gotta be the beard, eh?

DunkShotRockets 2 cartoon only

DunkShotRockets 1 cartoon only

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NBA on Christmas Day: BallinEurope’s Official Fearless Predictions™

Here on The Continent, all but the hardiest envy those in the Western Hemisphere today; as the holiday fades into evening here, the NBA’s awesome quintupleheader is just beginning: To watch this live, the European would have to pull an all-nighter, with wall-to-
wall basketball straight through to 7am or so. BallinEurope plans to watch the first two and get up before the rooster for the 4.30am CET tipoff of Clippers-Nuggets.

In any case, apologies for the delay, but below run BallinEurope Official Fearless Predictions™ for the Christmas slate. The first game’s already begun (full disclosure: as of this writing, it’s Brooklyn Nets 16, Boston Celtics 12), but BiE’s got the Cs winning in Spike Lee’s neighborhood – wish it could be proven, but BiE did post his vote this way in the ESPN Sports Nation poll today.

On the rest of the slate, the other OFPs include the Los Angeles Lakers over the Knicks in a nailbiter in which Steve Nash goes for nine assists (of course); the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Miami Heat by 8; the Chicago Bulls defend home court against the Houston Rockets, winning by 10 despite game high-scorer James Harden’s efforts; and in that battle of the league’s most exciting teams, the red hot Los Angeles Clippers extend the winning streak (which will end against the Celtics in their upcoming match) over the Denver Nuggets by, BiE’ll say, 11.

Enjoy the wall of ’ball; BallinEurope sure will…

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It’s official: Sergio Llull a Madridista through 2017-18

Surely nothing can temper the giddy enthusiasm Houston Rockets fans are feeling today, thanks to a ridiculous performance on Opening Day by their team’s new acquisition, ol’ What’s His Name, so BallinEurope will sneak in this bit of bad news.

Back in August, Real Madrid was reportedly wooing Sergio Llull with a nearly unheard-of six- to seven-year extension, which have kept the Spanish guard on Los Blancos’ roster through at least 2019-20. Resolution was finally announced today and, while Llull’s new deal doesn’t run quite as long as projected, let’s just say that we won’t be seeing him in Texas (or any NBA city) any time soon (if ever).

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Monday hangover: Real Madrid awesome; CSKA Moscow vulnerable; Arvydas Sabonis rules

Right, with the weekend over and many an hour spent viewing the roundball, BallinEurope rounds up some news items – and video clips! – from the week that was.

Could this be Real Madrid’s year? Los Blancos are exactly one Rudy Fernandez miss from a perfect 8-0 overall mark early in 2012-13 after topping Caja Laboral Baskonia, 83-81, in overtime this weekend in the Liga Endesa.

Baskonia got a combined 47 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Maciej Lampe while turning over the ball just once – thus not allowing Real to demonstrate their nice quick transition to the fast break – yet ultimately couldn’t answer what’s looking like the best team out of Spain this season.

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It’s official: Serge Ibaka to stay in Oklahoma City for four more years

From the wire, a few details on the new contract that Team Spain’s Serge Ibaka signed yesterday with NBA Western Conference champs the Oklahoma City Thunder. In sort, The Blocksmith is set to bag $48 million over the next four years…

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US NBA stars beat Spain to take gold

(via AFP)

The United States Dream Team of NBA stars captured their second Olympic men’s basketball gold medal in a row and the 14th overall for America by beating Spain 107-100 in Sunday’s final. The US multi-millionaire lineup of NBA elite claimed their fifth crown in the past six Olympics, improving to 62-since revamping the national team program after settling for bronze in 2004.

The Americans ran through the tournament undefeated just as they did in 2008 when they defeated Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final. The latest roster had five gold winners from Beijing and five from the US 2010 world champions.…

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2012 Olympic basketball: Rising and falling stock after the first round

While we’re a little ways away from actually awarding medals for 2012 Olympic basketball, the first round showed international hoops fans quite a lot. Though the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, reputations have changed over the past five games to cause some individual and/or teams losses beyond these Olympics. BallinEurope today takes a look at those whose stock has risen and those who’ve fallen in the early going of the London Games.

Lebron James. Yeah, like this guy needs a further upward trend in his already all-time lofty-looking career. Four years ago, ESPN’s Bill Simmons proclaimed (correctly, in BiE’s opinion) that in 2008 ‘Games crunch time, “everyone deferred to Kobe, who made some monster plays to clinch it. Know that in the history of the NBA we have never had the best-player-alive argument resolved so organically.” In 2012, King James has proven himself to be the best player on the best team in this Olympic tournament.

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Who can stop Team USA?

This one goes out by request to BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y. … with Team USA coming together to play the Dominican Republic today – with or without Chris Paul – BiE tries to answer the question “Who [if anyone] can beat Team USA?”

Good one.

A few gauntlets have been thrown by the Americans already, the least of which is certainly not the roster itself. That roster, one more time, is the following.

Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
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Miami Heat 121, Oklahoma City Thunder 106: Now onto the Olympics, future

(Lebron James image courtesy Facebook user Nayer_Music)Okay, okay, BallinEurope’s gonna do the traditional thing … congratulations out to the Miami Heat and its clear MVP Lebron James for their 2012 NBA Championship win. James’ triple-double in the decisive game five appropriately capped a playoff run during which he fought off criticism and doomsayers as much as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As for the Continent’s representatives in the NBA’s final game of this too-quick, madcap season … Ronny Turiaf earns his first ring after joining Miami with 21 games left to play; Le Bleu saw court time in 13. The three minutes he played in last night’s game five were his first in the series, but kudos nevertheless. BiE can’t help but wonder how long it’ll be until Turiaf’s balling here full-time in Europe…

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