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Sep
3

Reflections after EuroBasket day one

Though only one day of the 2011FIBA EuroBasket tournament is in the books, it’s never too early to make some kneejerk reactions, right? While a few suspenseful games played out last night, most prognosticators were certainly able to score a 12-0 record in picking winners in first-day games. (BallinEurope went 11-1, but that’s only due to his disgusting man crush on Bo McCalebb and his FYR Macedonia side.) Herewith, a few reflections on the initial happenings of the year’s biggest basketball tourney.

• Tony Parker is the single most important player in the tournament. (Yes, even moreso than Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol.) One could argue that the dagger was applied to the now corpsified Team Latvia by Nicolas Batum, whose three-pointer put the game out of reach at 75-70 with 4:33 left in the fourth quarter, but it was the San Antonio Spur single-handedly willed his side to victory last night.

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Aug
3

Live blogging Eurobasket 2011: Great Britain vs. Lithuania

So, what to look for in this game? BallinEurope sat in one some of the Great Britain practice session today and must say the team looked pretty loose, but will imperviousness to pressure be enough? After all, the specter of the missing Ben Gordon (and, as Ogo Adegboye pointed out to BiE yesterday, Pops Mensah-Bonsu) is certain to haunt everything Britain does — or doesn’t — achieve in this tournament.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what the frontcourt-heavy Team Lithuania does against a team which doesn’t truly match up with big men like a Spain or Turkey. The home side brings an incredible five bigs (Paulius Jankunas, Ksistof Lavrinovic, Marijonas Petravicius, Jonas Valanciunas, Robertas Javtokas) and just two true forwards (Darius Songaila, Simas Jasaitis) to the tournament, which should create some interesting rotations to say the least. One thing is for certain: A packed, heavily partisan house. Click below the break to follow the live blogging and enjoy the game!

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Aug
3

Eurobasket opener bullets: Pnini vs. Dirk, Spain’s competition, Kanter’s rust, more

Ogo ready to go

Hours remain until Eurobasket 2011 tips off here in Lithuania. As a warmup this morning, BallinEurope brings a roundup of some chatter from around the world regarding the big tournament; in ESPN TrueHoop tradition, we’ll bring it bullet-style.

• Poor Israel, one of the more unheralded teams in the tournament … not only are they placed in what BiE considers to be the true “Group of Death,” but they’ll be tipping off tonight against Dirk Nowitzki (called “the greatest player in the world” by more than one tout) and his Team Germany. And poor Guy Pnini, tasked with stopping the Dastardly Maverick. “If he senses fear,” muses the Israeli in Haaretz, “he’ll take advantage of it, like a shark smells blood.”

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May
1

Triple-crown winner Dimantidis named Euroleague MVP

To the surprise of few, Dimitris Diamantidis was named MVP of the 2010-11 Euroleague season last night, thereby completing an individual triple crown in bagging MVP, All-Euroleague first team and Best Defender nods. Equally unsuspenseful was the naming of the All-Euroleague teams – hey, if BallinEurope can go five for five, it must have been obvious, eh?

Official press release follows.

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Apr
6

Euroleague Playoffs: Games four highlights

And suddenly, the Spanish influence on the Euroleague has been reduced to just one team in the final four – exactly as many squads as Greece, Israel and Italy’ll have. Caja Laboral in the end just didn’t have enough answers for Maccabi Tel Aviv’s depth and star power, while Panathinaikos displayed the blueprint for taking out FC Barcelona in dominating the baseline and constantly playing the aggressor in driving time and again to the basket. (Of course, it helps if you have Dimitris Diamantidis in the lineup as well…)

And kudos to Montepaschi Siena for successfully shrugging off a horrible game one loss in what might have been a disaster for morale while reestablishing the hyperquick-moving, high-scoring offense that had faltered a bit in the Top 16 round.

Real Madrid hosts Power Electronics Valencia on “Wednesday or Thursday” to determine the last entry into the Euroleague Final Four, and – BiE’s repeating it here out of shock – España’s only team to go this far.

Highlights from last night’s games, as well as the officially-selected top five plays, follow.

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Nov
1

Euroleague week three talking points (part I)

How good is Bogdanovic? Discuss.

Seven Euroleague games go off tonight as the season rounds into form a bit. The marquee match tonight has got to be the Khimki-Baskonia showdown to establish early supremacy in that tough Group A; Olympiacos-Unicaja will surely be worth the viewing as well, although the way the Reds have dominated on their home floor lately will make things difficult for the Spanish side.

In preparation for the festivities, then, BallinEurope presents some talking points: facts, stats, oddities, history and video relating to the games. Enjoy!

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Sep
27

Official BallinEurope Euroleague Power Rankings: The preseason

Since BallinEurope’s Official Power Rankings were so, um, popular during the FIBA World Championships, today we’re kicking off the same schtick for the upcoming Euroleague campaign.

The rules, again: These rankings are basically purely subjective (at this point; once the games are played, actual wins and losses will be figured in) but are based loosely on last season’s performance, Euroleague seedings before the draw, transactions made in the offseason, and performances in preseason games. (Olympiacos fans, you might want to look away right now.)

Today, the EL according to BiE looks something like the following.

1. FC Barcelona – Early on, it looks like business as usual for the side that dominated European club basketball in 2009-10 (well, until that gnarly showing in the ACB Finals, that is). In the off-season, Barça mostly stood pat while adding “only” Kosta Perovic; this weekend, the Blaugrana pummeled Euroleague contenders Real Madrid and Power Electronics Valencia by 172-118 to cruise to the Spanish Super Cup. Perhaps *this* will be the year Barcelona takes a quadruple cup, eh?

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Jul
0

Montepaschi Siena signs Milovan Rakovic, two others for frontcourt

The 2010-11 edition of Montepaschi Siena basketball looks to be the proverbial scintillating blend of old and new, as the club today announced the signing of three players – not to mention the apparent cementing of its frontcourt for the season.

Announced as all aboard MPS for the near future today were Milovan Rakovic from Spartak St. Petersburg, Andrea Michelori of vanquished Serie A runners-up Pepsi Caserta, and the extended Tomas Ress. The players have received fresh contracts for three, two and one seasons, respectively. Continue Reading…

Jun
0

Montepaschi Siena crushes AJ Milano again to take Italian title, 93-69

T-Mc led the way for MPS

It’s official: Montepaschi Siena closed out European club basketball last night with yet another emphatic win, taking game four of the Serie A championship series, 93-69, to complete a sweep of outmatched AJ Milano – and a perfect 10-0 run through the Italian League playoffs.

Siena rode the hot hand of Terrell McIntyre, who went for a big 28 points in 28 minutes of floor time, including 6-of-10 on threes. Romain Sato and Ksistof Lavrinovic went for 16 points/six rebounds and 15/4, respectively.

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Mar
0

The Frank Euroleague Roundup: Top 16, week five

Scariolo: No, really, i can explain everything...

Scariolo: No, really, i can explain everything...

With one more week of Euroleague play to go before the field of viable contenders officially shrinks again, Ball in Europe contributor Francesco Cappelletti wraps the round that was in the big league. In this week’s roundup, Signor C. laments Montepaschi Siena’s fate, Sergio Scariolo’s precarious position and the reason Olympiacos might yet give Barca a workout before all is said and done (Hint: It starts with “Linas” and ends with “Kleiza”).

Group F focus
Oddly, the group which could have been in doubt until the buzzer of Week 6 suddenly has two qualified teams after five weeks: These are Real Madrid and Maccabi Tel Aviv, teams which will meet next Thursday at Palacio Vistalegre to define a first place currently in possession of the Israeli side for their 81-76 victory of February 4.

Montepaschi Siena was shocked by a 43-point fourth quarter scored by Alan Anderson and teammates. OK, take out the final (meaningless) 10 points, and 33 remain on the back of the Italian champions. How was this possible? MPS had recovered during the third period thanks to big hearted Terrell McIntyre and bad offensive decisions from previously unstoppable Doron Perkins, but, I mean, if you play with six men (seven minutes of nothing for Nikos Zisis in crisis, Ksistof Lavrinovic plagued by back spasms), and you enter the final fraction with a 3-point advantage at Yad Eliyahu, well, you know your destiny.

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