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…
FC Barcelona-Panathinaikos: The YouTube history (starring Gallis, Dominique, Obradovic, Saras, Pekovic, Diamantidis, Tomic)
Those in the know about European basketball (or sport, really) need no introduction to either of these storied franchises who add another chapter to the annals tonight: Panathinaikos Athens goes to Barcelona to take on the Blaugrana in a decisive game five Euroleague quarterfinal match – after one heck of a series thus far.
Hyperbolization of these teams’ history – not to mention the nail-biting, cliffhanging suspense of this very playoff series – would be difficult and doing so would be bland. So BallinEurope will simply say that the series between these two clubs has Panathinaikos with a 15-12 overall advantage historically, and let’s get to the YouTubes. Enjoy quite a fascinating collection of a virtual Who’s Who of highlights; once again, YouTube rules.
(Incidentally, if this collection seems slightly PAO-biased, apologies. Perhaps the Greek side’s fans are ahead in the video-sharing sphere as well…)
Panathinaikos and Barcelona met under the proper Euroleague banner at the very tail end of the 1993-94 season. In the third-place game, Nikos Gallis capped another EL scoring- and assist-leading season (23.8 and 4.7 per game, respectively) by leading PAO to a 100-83 win in the first game between the clubs in 12 years — back to the Champions Cup days.
It seems La Bomba may be immortal after all … At the age of 32 and in his 13th season on the professional level, Juan Carlos Navarro isn’t quite playing the minutes he used to; in Saturday’s display against the previously ACB-undefeated Real Madrid, the king showed he hasn’t abdicated anything yet.
With just enough time to enter the discussion of “Best Individual Game of the Year” in Europe, Navarro was good for 33 points on incredible 12-of-13 overall shooting including a perfect 5-of-5 on threes – together with six rebounds and three assists good for a crazy 44 performance index rating – in the stirring 96-89 Barcelona win. With the loss went Madrid’s 14-game Liga Endesa winning streak.
From the ‘Tube, then, here’s all 33 of Navarro’s points followed by lots more video from the match below the break.
In order, that’s a congrat to Arvydas Sabonis, who will receive the honor of immortalization (sorta) as one half of the to-be-redesigned BallinEurope logo. Sabas was mighty impressive in amassing more votes from readers in the public opinion poll here than Dirk Nowitzki, Ricky Rubio and poor Tony Parker combined;
a shout out to all those who voted in the BiE poll; you’re gonna love part two for sure; and
apologies for the relative lack of contributions last and, foreseeably, this week. To put it in brief, BiE headquarters is relocating (read: “Os is moving”), but in December things will be again running smoothly here.
Right, then. Let’s get down to business. Based on suggestions from BiE readers, contributing writers and such, the field for Sabonis’ cartoon opponent in the BallinEurope logo will be the following.
Erazem Lorbek got some support from commenters and BiE admits that once again the Barcelona big went underrated on these pages. So BiE didn’t have Lorbek in his top five for Euroleague MVP balloting last season; this nomination should make up for that. While Lorbek’s numbers are generally down in 2012-13, he looks to be rearing back with three consecutive double-digit EL games and could be wearing the Blaugrana colors for some time yet.
The BallinEurope endorsement, however, goes to Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Not only is Big Sofo a fan favorite, not only would Sofoklis be done well in caricature, but can’t you just imagine him squaring off against Sabonis? Vote Sofo.
Despite the possibility of imminent retirement, Juan Carlos Navarro stays on the list. And Bo McCalebb’s there because he’s Bo. And because BiE wants that FYR Macedonia jersey in the logo.
Finally, there’s Vassilis Spanoulis. Damn straight BiE went there; after all, the guy did orchestrate Olympiacos’ magic run to cap 2011-12 with a couple of titles and he’s been an anchor on Greek national teams since 2000.
You may now blow up the comments section – but vote first!
Which player in Europe should be in the BallinEurope logo?
- Vassilis Spanoulis (56%, 108 Votes)
- Juan Carlos Navarro (20%, 39 Votes)
- Bo McCalebb (11%, 21 Votes)
- Sofoklis Schortsanitis (11%, 21 Votes)
- Erazem Lorbek (2%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 194
We’ll be running a poll on this question next week, but please feel free to put forth suggestions in the “comments” section below this post. A few suggested guidelines: Since the winning choice will be immortalized (well, as immortalized as things can get online) in illustrated form, BiE asks that you consider only guys easily caricatured or are at least easily recognizable by the uniform.
After making a few kneejerk-reaction choices, BiE also consulted with this site’s contributing writers and a pilgrim father of BallinEurope. Below runs the tentative list of candidates thus far.
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.
All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.
Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)
Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.
Well, more grist for the debate mill was produced last night as FC Barcelona surprised the Dallas Mavericks at the ‘Palau, 99-85. The occasion marked the third such triumph for the Spanish side in recent years and chases up the 2010 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps most significantly locally, even those a bit begrudging about European basketball may admit that this was a big win for Barça.
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.…
Here we go … Team USA vs Spain for the gold! What more needs to be said?
The first hype pushed at 4pm on the NBC broadcast: Kobe vs. Pau! (Clearly, BiE’s in touch with the American broadcasters…); Kobe is 1-0 in Olympic Games, doesn’t want to lose to Pau, doesn’t want to lose at all, etc.
Key stats from the final game in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; that game saw Kobe Bryant go 7-of-14 for 20 with six assists, Juan Carlos Navarro scored 18 after struggling throughout the tournament, and 56 fouls were called.
Spain is following the Liga Endesa-prescribed plan at best as possible, forcing USA to play a very slow game. Fast break points in the first quarter went just 4-0 for Team USA, and Pau Gasol is exploiting the mismatch against Carmelo in the post when possible, though that hasn’t been often.