Report: Olympiacos’ Papadopoulos to miss Euroleague Final Four

As though the underdogs of the 2012 Euroleague Final Four needed more obstacles to bar the way to what would be the tournament’s biggest modern-era upset, here’s another. According to Talk Basket, center Lazaros Papadopoulos will not be suiting up for the Reds in the competition.

Reports the site: “Papadopoulos hasn’t trained for days now due to a knee-related injury and is extremely doubtful for the Euroleague’s event of the year.

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Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar seek to join elites in 2012

Sasha? Really?

It’s perhaps the most famous Euroleague-related trivia question, and this season sees two more players in a quest to join the likes of a noted half-dozen, including some of the game’s all-time greats – would you believe that duo seeking to join this elite are named Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar?

The €20,000 question is of course, “Which players have won both Euroleague and NBA titles?” Hint: There are six in total, and two are Americans. Guess before clicking “Read More…” to test your skills – BiE’s trusting you to stay away from Google searches and Wikipedia…

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Euroleague Final Four flashback: Kinder Bologna wows Palau Sant Jordi crowd, 1998

While Barcelona has played host to the Euroleague Final Four three times before, the Palau Sant Jordi has served as home venue only twice; the first of these was in 1998, some eight years after the stadium was opened.

That year’s EL Final Four featured Kinder Bologna making the big tournament for the first time since 1981, led on court by the likes of Predrag Danilovic and Antoine Rigaudeau – and coached by a 38-year-old named Ettore Messina, then winning his first Continental title. Let’s travel 13 years back in time with league historians to the ‘90s; if you’d like to reach further back, BiE’s trip to 1969 is here.

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Ettore Messina to become NBA assistant coach?

After taking four Euroleague titles, Ettore Messina now aspires to become an assistant coach? That’s the report from CNNSI in which the master muses that serving as an NBA assistant coach “would be interesting.”

Continued Messina in a phone interview with Ian Thomsen, “But I need first of all to see if I could be a good assistant after many years of not being an assistant. And then it would have to be made clear that I am not going there to steal anybody’s job.”

According to the article, “Messina plans to accept an invitation from San Antonio to spend eight days with the Spurs – and his former star at Bologna, Manu Ginobili – later this month.

“‘I’m really excited to see a couple of practices, some games, watch some films with the team, and of course to see Manu,” Messina said. “I’ve never had the opportunity to see Manu during the season.”

(Messina assistant-coaching the Spurs? Yikes, says this Lakers fan.)

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Euroleague Final Four history by the numbers

Toni Kukoc: All over the Euroleague record books

Attention, all statistics addicts! With the time to tipoff running down steadily, BallinEurope this morning puts things into a little numerical perspective. Which players, coaches and teams will forever be immortalized in the record books when all is said and done at the 2010 Euroleague Final Four? Some measuring sticks for would-be heroes are listed below. Let the countdown begin!

12: Number of free throws made – in 13 attempts – by Manu Ginobili for Kinder Bologna in a losing effort back in 2002. The trips to line helped produce 27 points for Ginobili, which tied the modern-era mark for scoring in a Euroleague final, matching … Manu Ginobili of 2001. Antoine Rigaudeau also scored 27 for Zalgiris (ironically against Bologna) in 1999 while going 5-of-7 on threes; Zoran Savic in 1991 and Dejan Bodiroga in 2001 also accomplished the feat.

11: Number of blocks registered by then-named Pop 84 Split, including four by Kukoc and three from Avy Lester, in a 70-65 finals win over Barcelona in 1991. The victory completed back-to-back-to-back Euroleague titles for Split, a feat never matched.before or after. In fact, the sole back-to-back Euroleague champion since ’91 was Maccabi Tel Aviv, with consecutive rings won in 2004 and 2005.

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Euroleague All-Decade Team: The official BallinEurope ballot

BiE Holden a spot on the ballot for J.R.

BiE's Holden a spot on the ballot for J.R.

The waffling is over! After a couple of weeks of mulling over the field of 50 candidates for ten spots on the Euroleague All-Decade Team, the final decision has been made (and whoo, was that painful) and the ballot submitted. The following, then, is how the official BallinEurope ballot for the 2010s all-stars, along with some of the thought process a la Euroleague Fantasy Boss Javier Gancedo, ended up.

Four choices were obvious:

• Sarunas Jasikevicius,

• Juan Carlos Navarro,

• Dejan Bodiroga, and

• Theo Papaloukas. BiE reckons that membership on Dream Team Europe (first inclusion or no) and/or the official BallinEurope All-Decade All-European Team gets you onto the Euroleague All-Decade squad.

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The top 5½ European teams of the 2000s

Oh yes, the Greens appear on the list

Oh yes, the Greens appear on the list.

In closing out the calendar on this decade – not technically, we know, but we’re going with the flow here – BallinEurope today considers the top European teams of the 2000s. (For BallinEurope’s official All-Decade All-Europe All-Star team, click here.) Though only Euroleague championship finalists were considered, domestic league records were also factored in vis-à-vis placement on this list.

Drumroll please, and here are your top five-and-a-half European teams of the 2000s! (Presented in reverse order.)

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