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 +++ EuroBasket 2015: Wins for Macedonia, Belgium, and Georgia +++

Minnesota Timberwolves bullets: How good are these guys?

Nice choice, BallinEurope readers. The Minnesota Timberwolves, selected as BiE’s NBA home team for the 2012-13 season, are early darlings in the big league, managing to get off to a respectable 4-2 start (“Their best start in 11 years!” went the hype after the Wolves’ win over the Indiana Pacers) while Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and at present J.J. Barea are down to injury.

BallinEurope checks in this morning with those fantastic Eurowolves, bullet-style with video and an Official Fearless Prediction™ or two below.

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The Eurocentric 2011-12 NBA Western Conference preview (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

Okay, after that Xmas distraction, BallinEurope is ready to write up some more stuff about good tidings and cheer*, namely, the start of the NBA season. With hours to go, BiE’s got just enough time to get in the part two of the Euro-centric big-league preview in this brief look at the teams in the Western Conference – plus Official Fearless Predictions™, guaranteed to be as accurate as they are popular.

*Los Angeles Lakers fans, over whom a huge cloud of doom hangs to start this season, excluded (sigh).

As in the Eastern Conference preview, BiE seeks to keep an eye on those players who contributed a stint in Continental ball this summer during the lockout period and even, to some, extent participants in Eurobasket 2011. BiE believes that the running start from real game-time situations plus the suddenly intensive NBA season will give the Euroballers an advantage in the short-term against more laggardly opponents not in “basketball shape.” And with the shortened regular season, a jump start will provide lasting effects.

To BiE, it looks something like this.

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Dallas Mavericks on Letterman: Barea ♥ Weiner, Nowitzki ♥ Kardashians

You know you’ve made it big in America when you get to read a “Top 10 List” on Late Night with David Letterman.

So it was for the 2010-11 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks last night, who were represented by eight players plus head coach Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban in contributing the regular gag for the CBS program.

Unfortunately, the folks at YouTube diligently block any material from Letterman’s show but you can check out what the station is calling a “preview clip,” including appearances by the team’s “cocky and obnoxious” owner below the break.

For a prose listing of the top 10, including a killer line from Caron Butler and a glimmering of Dirk Nowitzki’s off-season dating plans, click here. (So when’s Jimmy Kimmel gonna invite ‘em over, anyway…?)

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Live from the Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Kris Santiago, a blogger, is in Athens right now, following every game of the pre-Olympic tournament. Here are his notes from today:

  • Slovenia is getting better from game to game and could be facing Puerto Rico or Croatia (but I would go with Puerto Rico, as they are looking quite good on the perimeter) in the quarters. Lakovic is solid while Nesterovic feels comfortable attacking the boards. Slokar showed a good all-around game, hitting shots and doing the little things right (Finally some positive news about Uros). Becirovic completes the team that received some help from Miha Zupan in the first game.
  • Canada played weaker than expected. Former Skyliner Dave Thomas stepped up during the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as Carl English and Samuel Dalembert could not repeat their performances from the test games against Germany. Veteran Rowan Barrett is a steady scorer, but the team looked bad on the defensive end.
  • Cape Verde is the first team to fly home. The “Trindade” got pounded again, this time by Germany. Young talent Jeff Xavier certainly has some upside (a solid shot and good ball-handling) but is a shoot-first point guard and had some problems adjusting to the game. If his dreams of playing in the NBA don’t come true, he may play in Europe. In order to be effective, Xavier really needs to work on his passing game.

The same goes for most of the players that never played at such a high level in FIBA-organised competitions and struggled against bigger guys like Femerling or Kaman.

  • Germany used the game as another test, and had no trouble finishing from the three-point line or under the boards. Kaman is not looking fluid in his actions, as he is still trying to find his niche in the German game. Demond Greene hit some 3s in the beginning, making it crystal clear which team was supposed to win. Young gun Philip Zwiener was the surprise of the day, as he made the starting five and showed off a solid performance, which could lead to a permanent starting job. I personally like Konrad Wysocki; he should be getting more time on the court, getting six points in ten minutes and was ready for more. Oh, I forgot to mention Dirk Nowitzki, who was not flashy but left his mark, was able to rest a lot due to the big lead and should be more tested more against New Zealand tomorrow.
  • Puerto Rrrrrico is getting the best out of Carlos Arroyo (Flashy as ever … behind the back, no look, you name it) and … (A real surprise to me) Ricky Sanchez, who was left open at the three-point line and scored at will. Daniel Santiago got some minutes but was not nearly effective as in Malaga, and P.J. Ramos looked better (Well, not his look but his game) against Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. J.J. Barea is having some trouble displaying his scoring qualities but does his job which includes passing and defending.
  • Cameroon is here with a bad karma. They were angry and disappointed regarding their government which failed to support them in a professional manner. Now Harding Nana had a good first game but struggles to find his shot against Puerto Rico. Boumtje-Boumtje is fighting like a bull on both defense and offense, but Cameroon really sometimes lacks the IQ on the court, as they repeatedly left Sanchez alone instead of guarding him closer and made mistakes when switching the player in the wrong moments. Parfait Bitee looks ready for Europe, as he is really doing a great job here, scoring mostly from outside and keeping Barea and Arroyo constantly under pressure. Brice Vounang is a short-sized center with a wide body and knows how to bang but may need to lose some weight in order to perform faster around the basket.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted…

UPDATE: Kris just sent us some more thoughts:

  • Cameroon’s Harding Nana got his shot back in the second half and Parfait Bitte, who may land a contract in Europe soon (The D-League is not an option, and his agent Keith Glass is already receiving offers), did his part to bring Cameroon back into the game, but it was Larry Ayuso’s three-pointer that killed Cameroon’s hopes of advancing.
  • Cameroon’s coach Lazare Adingono was certainly disappointed with the way things ended for his team, and hopes that the government has seen the positive outing of his team in Athens and tries now to support the team financially so they may bounce back with another strong outcome at the 2009 African Championship in Libya.
  • George Felton, director of player personnel, scouted Alexis Wangmene (Texas University) closely these days to see if he is capable of playing against bigger competition. Wangmene was not a big factor offensively while helping out well in limited minutes on the floor on the defensive end, but has a long road to go if he wants to make it to the NBA.
  • Brazil is currently destroying Lebanon, and they look quite confident on the floor with Marcelinho Huertas and Murilo Becker da Rosa having already reached double digits in scoring. Now all the players are set to score, and even NBA bust Baby Araujo is doing well on the floor, having no trouble scoring in the paint at all.