Aug
5

USA 59, Spain 58 after 20 minutes: Notes and such

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.

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Aug
4

2012 Olympic basketball: The perspective from Spain on the gold-medal game (plus really specific Official Fearless Prediction™)

Marc and Pau: So key yet again

The Liga Endesa official website editorial staff today attempts to answer the question on the mind of USA-detractors and underdog-backers, i.e. “¿What must happen for Spain to win Olympic gold?” Below runs an extrapolation of the article, featuring eight bits of advice of varying degrees of difficulty, plus BallinEurope’s own ever-lovable Official Fearless Prediction™ on the final game of the 2012 Olympics.

Team USA is transparent enough that everyone seems to know their weaknesses and how to exploit them; the blueprint is universally known, but no one is able to implement the game plan. The enormous quantity of talent on Team USA means that playing even a perfect game does not translate to a win.

“We will try not have too many possessions, not miss many shots and control the boards,” said Juan Carlos Navarro. Doing it all at the same time is difficult, but we will try. I don’t know if we’ll reach 100 points … but the points are not important. [What’s important is] to play good defense.”

What else must be done:

Limit turnovers. It is evident that the U.S. defensive pressure up top results in many steals that finish with easy baskets on the other end. Attacking with the ball and getting off to a quick start offensively is key to the USA game. And against Team USA, passes to the wing or inside expose the offensive to further losses amidst the quick hands and speed of the American defenders.

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Aug
7

On the achievements of Team USA, 2012 edition

From the pages of the Christian Science Monitor, BallinEurope this morning brings not exactly an argument-starter about Team USA 2012 vs. The Dream Team, but an interesting perspective to what this squad has achieved after a 20-year history of the relatively unloved Dream Teams II and III, the Nightmare Team and the “B Team”. BiE always hated that moniker and doesn’t exactly dig the pet name given this bunch either: “Dream Team 2.” How about “The 21st-Century Dream Team” or even “Dream Team 2.0”?
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Aug
1

2012 Olympic basketball: Cold War clash to be repeated?

From the newswire this morning comes a bit of nostalgia for those who remember and perhaps a tiny bit of history for those who don’t remember Team USSR of the old Olympic Games … BiE’s telling ya, it’s USA vs. Russia in the finals…

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Aug
39

Sarunas Jasikevicius: “I don’t get” why Team USA players’ traveling uncalled

European fans (and many others) have often noted that NBA players appear to be traveling on many a routine or highlight-clip play, and Team USA backers are certainly shocked at the number of such turnovers their side has been guilty of through four games – seriously, have Lebron James and Kobe Bryant ever racked up so many travels in such a short span?

But old-timer Sarunas Jasikevicius is still seeing some bending of the rules. Saras was quoted over at Talk Basket after the Lithuania-USA game as saying, “I don’t get it. There are FIBA rules [that say that] if a player takes the ball and runs two meters, travelling must be called,” he said. “Maybe the rules will be changed in the future, but at the moment that’s travelling.

“I’m not saying that [the referees] were indulgent towards Americans, or that we lost due to the referees’ fault. Absolutely not. Simply there are rules according to which the play must be whistled; it doesn’t matter if it’s [an everyday player] or Kobe Bryant.”

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Jul
32

USA 100, Spain* 78: Notes, highlights, miscellany

Well, then. If not quite as emphatic as in the days of Dream Teams I through III, Team USA dispatched the world’s second-best/Europe’s best side for a 100-78 win over Spain in Barcelona. Though the notebook on the Red, White and Blues mostly accentuates the positive, one doesn’t quite need to squint to see chinks in the armor – particularly with that glaring asterisk in the box score, i.e. the absence of Marc Gasol and Sergio Rodriguez.

In an Olympic field that appears to be the strongest ever on paper, could a flawed team like this one still grab the gold? (And if flawed teams are in the running for a podium spot, is Lithuania more enthused?)

A few lines from BallinEurope’s notebook and other stuff (like highlights) follow.

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Jul
27

USA 86, Argentina 80: How beatable are the Yanks?

Though not actually about European basketball, last night’s USA 86, Argentina 80 pre-Olympic friendly result leads BallinEurope to put forth a few talking points from the notebook (and highlight clips, of course)…

• Perhaps slightly flawed as a whole, the truth is that Team USA still has the best three players in the world right now in Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Lebron James. The opening 16-1 run was indicative of what this trio is capable. Eschewing playing any sort of serious inside game at all in the first 10 minutes, KD and Kobe teed off enough to outscore the entire Argentine side, 22-16; Lebron meanwhile controlled the D.

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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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Jun
0

Quiz: The NBA- and Euro-centric year in basketball, 2011-12

2011-12: The year of Spanoulis?

Quick! Before those memories of basketball championships European and NBA fade completely, take a brief look back at the season that was – one crazy one on The Continent that began with Tony Parker, Ty Lawson and Mehmet Okur playing over here and concluded with titles taken by King James and Emperor Spanoulis. Get out those pencils and take the BallinEurope quiz…

1. The 2011-12 Euroleague season:
a) was one of the greatest ever
b) was the greatest ever
c) proved Jordi Bertomeu’s contention that “we don’t need NBA imports to be a top-quality competition
d) was awesome, but man, i’m jonesing. When does the season start?

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Jun
0

Who’s the greatest, Lebron or Kobe? Don’t argue, it’s useless…

Courtesy the Facebook page entitled Il basket è Vita comes this excellent perspective-inducer regarding the basketball careers of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and one other guy. Here are the first two panels; see below the break for the punchline and rough translation of the dialogue into English – though these images really speak for themselves. (Funny, BallinEurope knew Kobe was fluent in Italiano, but Lebron…?)

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