Aug
0

Euro ballers get the NBA Sweets treatment

Jose-Calderon-Toblerone
Despite a whole lot of genuinely interesting things happening in the world of basketball right now, it’s a tough time to manage a NBA social media account. Most free agents are signed, the summer league is long over, and there’s still a good chunk of time until pre-season. Throw all that together and NBA Twitter accounts start getting silly. On Wednesday the theme was #NBASweets and Euro ballers in the association didn’t get left out of the nonsense.

Here are the highlights:
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Nov
0

EURO-NBA: Parker strikes gold, Jonas dunks on LeBron, Schroeder’s 7 dimes


Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points in a losing effort for the Raptors last night but none of his buckets stood out quite like the one above as the big Lithuanian posterised the best player in the game. Valanciunas added 9 boards for his trouble but it wasn’t enough as LeBron James scored 35 points, grabbed 8 boards, and disheed 8 assists in a 104-95 win for the Heat.

Tony Parker had a big night in Denver. Parker went 9-13 from the field as he scored 24 points and had 6 dimes in a 102-94 win for the Spurs. Parker’s French national team-mate Boris Diaw chipped in with 9 points and 8 boards in 26 minutes of play while Italy’s Marco Belinelli had 4 points, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 10 minutes off the bench. Timofey Mozgov had 11 points and 6 rebounds for the Nuggets in 21 minutes of action while Evan Fournier had a minor impact off the bench, grabbing 2 boards and 1 assist in his 9 minutes of action.

Dennis Schroeder continued his impressive start to life in the NBA as he dished 7 assists in Atlanta’s 105-100 win at Sacramento. The German guard added 6 points and 2 boards but managed to pick up 4 fouls in just 19 minutes of game time. Pero Antic matched his career high, admittedly it’s been a four-game career, with 5 points for the Hawks. The Macedonian also snagged a rebound. Most promising for Antic was the trust placed in him on Tuesday night as he got 16 minutes, the most in any of his outings so far, on the floor.

The good news for Mirza Teletovic is he played 12 minutes and the Nets won. The bad news is he shot 0-5, managing just 1 point from the charity stripe, and had 1 rebound. #FreeMirza and bring him home. Andrei Kirilenko scored 6 points and grabbed 5 boards in 17 minutes for Brooklyn as they beat the Jazz 104-88. Enes Kanter scored 21 points and grabbed 8 boards but the Turkish big had 7 turnovers in the loss. Rudy Gobert grabbed 11 boards in 16 minutes off the bench.

Omer Asik had 8 points and 5 assists in Houston’s 116-101 win in Portland. Nicolas Batum had 13 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 3 boards in a losing effort for the Blazers. Spain’s Victor Claver saw just a minute of court time.

Ian Mahinmi (Pacers) and Gigi Datome (Pistons) both had quiet nights as Indiana rolled to a 109-100 win in Detroit.

Andrea Bargnani scored 6 points and grabbed 2 boards as the Knicks fell 102-97 to the Bobcats.
EDIT: Thanks to the guys at Swedish Basketball for pointing out that Jeff Taylor had season highs of 13 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes for Charlotte.

Ukraine’s Viacheslav Kravtsov scored 3 points off the bench as the Suns beat the Pelicans 104-98.

And finally, two of Europe’s most storied ballers clashed in Dallas on Tuesday night. Dirk Nowitzki took the W over Pau Gasol as the Mavs beat the Lakers 123-104. Dirk had 11 points, 8 boards, and 4 assists for Dallas while Pau scored 10, had 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Spain’s Jose Calderon had a good night for the Mavs, with 12 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards.

Sep
0

EuroBasket: Parker, France, finally get the best of Spain

It took overtime, it took Tony time, but France finally got the best of Spain. Now they move on to the final of EuroBasket 2013.

Drama does not mean quality. There were extended periods of fantastic basketball when France played Spain on Friday night. There were equally lengthy spell where the play was horrid. Overtime certainly fit the latter but it followed a fourth quarter of breathtaking ball. After quietly riding to the top of the scoring charts in this tournament, Tony Parker finally made his presence felt when his country needed it most.

In 37 minutes of play Parker exorcised the demons that plagued French basketball, due largely to the Spanish golden generation. Most of them were there and delivering. Marc Gasol had 19 points and 9 boards but he also gave the ball up 6 times. Rudy Fernandez landed alley-oops at the business end of the game, en route to 17 points. Jose Calderon was there in body but he left his shot in the locker room.

Parker however would have to carry most of the load on his own. Nicolas Batum was awful. Alexis Ajinca made some bonehead plays. Boris Diaw and Florent Pietrus gave support inside but for France to win, and avenge 2011 and 2012, it would take something memorable from Parker. In the fourth quarter, it was Tony time. The San Antonio Spur brought France level and then in front. It wasn’t just a momentary spark. The most gifted French baller who ever lived scored 32 and collected 6 rebounds. Like Gasol he had turnover problems but not enough to take him off the floor.

Then came OT. An utter mess of poor offence. Spain struck first, France moved ahead, and then the errors came. It looked like we’d have Sergio Rodriguez and Parker squaring off for five minutes of drama but hero-ball is badly over-rated. The victory would come down to who made the fewest mistakes. Victor Claver’s air ball was one too many for Spain.

So for the third time in their history, France advance to the final of EuroBasket. In 1949 they lost to Egypt in Cairo. Two years ago it was Spain. This time around they face Lithuania. Third time lucky won’t be easy. On paper this isn’t a contest but Lithuania’s depth and organisation means they a far from a straight forward opponent. On the inside they can hurt France. From the outside they have a bunch of options with chips on their shoulders. Parker will be ready. He needs his team mates to be too.

Sep
2

Eurobasket: Slovenia and Croatia progress, Spain win

We know half of the teams through from Group F after a wild Saturday. Two Balkan teams locked up their places in the quarter-finals with wins today while Spain cruised to their first win in the second phase.

Damn that crowd makes a difference. Slovenia and Greece delivered one of the ugliest first quarters of offence we’ve seen all tournament but the home team was perfect from the line to move into a 13 point lead after the first frame. That lead grew to 26 points before the inevitable Greek fight-back. Greece knocked 20 off the lead to make it a two possession game inside the final two minutes. Slovenia dug deep yet again, with the Dragic brothers combining for 39 points, 10 boards, and 6 rebounds en route to a 73-65 victory. It was a nervous finish but the win puts the home team top of the group and safely through to the last eight.
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Jun
11

Eurobasket 2013: Which NBA players are in, which are out?

Because it’s never too early to start looking ahead to Eurobasket 2013 – wait a minute, there’s only 11 weeks left until tipoff? Definitely not too early, then, to take a look at the formative rosters for the big Continental tournament.

While only a few national teams (Croatia and Lithuania among them) have released preliminary rosters at this point and a few major leagues still playing (Spain, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc.), we can at least deduce which NBA players will or won’t be playing. After all, the rosters of 93.3% of NBA teams have finished their 2012-13 season – and the Miami Heat have no Europeans!

Below is a rundown of each team and the status of their potential NBA players. A few high-profile draft choices and rights-owned guys expected to jump over soon are also peppered in, along with links to appropriate sources. If you find/hear of anything relevant to the list, please comment below.
And we’ll do this group by group…

Group A
Belgium –
no current NBA players

France – Kevin Seraphin (Washington Wizards) is out for ’13 but hints he’ll be back in the future.

Ten days ago, based on a L’Equipe report, website Catch-and-Shoot described Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls)’ Eurobasket status as *très incertain*, and after another punishing NBA season seems unlikely.

No official word on Nicolas Batum (Portland), though the Trail Blazers reportedly be “watching Batum’s injury” this offseason. Perhaps some discouragement is forthcoming…?

France-based media outlet Figaro reported back in May that Ian Mahinmi (Indiana Pacers) and Ronny Turiaf (Los Angeles Clippers) would play; this may have been speculation based on prior results, but Turiaf’s presence on Les Blues for this tournament has been on coach Collet’s mind for a while.

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Oct
36

Taking stock of European players in the NBA, 2012-13

Koufos one of four Euronuggets

BallinEurope will be celebrating NBA Opening Day with lots of stuff centered on the big league; firstly, BiE takes stock of Continental ballers in the ‘States.

Taking a look at this year’s roundup, we note that 53 Europeans have been named to NBA clubs’ 15-man roster, just beating the pace of the 52 listed in 2010-11. (BiE didn’t take the tally for last season because, you know, things were kinda confusing during the lockout and all…)

And quite a few teams have seriously European-tinted rosters: Five teams go into the 2012-13 NBA season with four Continental players – and of these 20 players, perhaps only Sasha Pavlovic and Evan Fournier are marginalized at the lower end of the 15-man rosters. If one includes Ty Lawson as an honorary Lithuanian (for at least one more season), the Denver Nuggets could put an all-Euro squad on the floor with Lawson heading up an admittedly odd lineup of Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov.

The team-by-team breakdown goes as follows.

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Aug
24

Spain 67, Russia 59: Gasols et al earn gold-medal try as Reds go Serbia cold in second half

Okay, so maybe Team Spain was playing possum. Or perhaps they merely hit the snooze on the alarm clock a tad too late in London. No matter: In the end, all history will remember is the final result – Spain 67, Russia 59 – and that it will be Los Rojos and not the Reds playing for the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.

A rundown of BiE’s recent obsessions with these two teams … For Spain, the guards found their shot, Pau Gasol opened the floor like few seven-footers beyond himself can and passing (at least in the second half) was crisp and smooth. And the 22-12 (including just four for Russia in the first 30 minutes) free-throw advantage certainly helped.

Which is not to say that the would-be gold-medallists didn’t get help from their adversaries. After going turnover-free in the first half, Spain’s run in the fourth quarter was buoyed by an incredibly awful series in which Russia gave up the TO on five of six consecutive possessions.

Worse yet for them, as BBC commentary noted, this may be the last go-around for Team Russia as we know it…

As for Serge Ibaka, well, the Blockmaster got very little playing; admittedly not without reason. Among the lowlights were a couple TOs, bouncing a fast-break dribble off his foot and watching Sergey Monya elevate in his face, then over it, then bury a three over it in the second quarter.

Again, though, it was 67-59 to Spain; congratulations to the winners. Sorry to see you go out like that, Russia; good luck in the bronze-medal game, see a bunch of you in Moscow and Minnesota, etc.

And yes, BiE has to admit it: As reader Max says, “Oh man, you’re really on fire with the predictions. Spain maybe are aging, but we’re not washed up yet.”

Syndicated game recap runs below the break.

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Aug
14

2012 Olympics: Five reasons Russia will beat Spain (and one other Fearless Prediction™)

Now that BallinEurope’s personal Olympic bracket has been shot to hell, BiE will revert to the cumulative readers/contributors’ podium picks of USA-Russia-Argentina. Followers know that BiE’s ridden Russia since the opening ceremonies and the quarterfinals, despite a Spain win, only strengthened this convinction. Below, then, are five reasons why Russia will overcome the 4.5-point favorites.

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Aug
19

2012 Olympics: Is Spanish dominance over? (Plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

BallinEurope may be pulling the trigger a bit early on this one, but has to ask: Was the loss to Russia on Saturday a harbinger of things to come from Team Spain? Not to put too fine a point on it, but is the marathon (by today’s standards) golden age of Spanish basketball in international competition over?

It is that sheer length of the era of Spanish dominance that makes one wonder about the security of Los Rojos’ presumptive top-dog status going forward: Since 2001, Team Spain has medalled in nine of 13 international tournaments – including the Olympic Games, FIBA Eurobasket, FIBA World Championship/Cup and Mediterranean Games. In the past six years, the Spanish have taken home three golds and five silver from FIBA and the IOC, the sole missed podium coming at the 2010 FIBA Worlds, when Pau Gasol no-showed and Team USA brought its “B Team.”

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Jul
34

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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