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The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Mar
5

Infographic: 2012-13 Miami Heat vs. 2004-05 CSKA Moscow – Who’s more impressive?

As the Miami Heat look to add another W to their ongoing historic 23-game streak when playing at the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, here’s a nifty little argument discussion starter put together by BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y.

Sure, the Heat’s run is mighty impressive, but just look at what CSKA Moscow did to the competition in both Euroleague and Russian play in 2004-05: The Dusan Ivkovic-led side featuring all-time greats Theo Papaloukas and J.R. Holden strung together 42 consecutive wins over a six-month period for a record that may never be broken. The team ultimately took the Russian League and Cup titles, but fell in the Euroleague Final Four. (An ominous sign for King James & Co.?)

So see below and/or click on the image for larger version and tell BiE: In the parlance of our times, who’s the “more dominant”? (Y.’s title for the infographic may have been ironic…)

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Feb
39

And now for something completely different: Kobe Bryant and Lebron James wearing sombreros…

From the Just Because Department and the pages of Spanish-language website Jordan Y Pippen, here’s a still from the NBA All-Star Game that somehow we all missed as Kobe Bryant went on a personal mission to shut down Lebron James in the fourth quarter. The headline proclaims “Kobe to test a pair of ‘hats’ on Lebron” (Gotta be wordplay…), while word bubble has Kobe explaining his eschewing of the particular model he was apparently given for something better — perhaps a Nike-branded model…?

L to R: El Mamba, El Rey

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Dec
2

BallinEurope’s most popular stories of 2012

BiE likes to write up this particular roundup at year’s end for a couple of reasons: Firstly as a thank you to the readers who check out BallinEurope however frequently; like they say in sports, this website wouldn’t exist without the audience.

Secondly, a look back at which BallinEurope stories drew the most attention provides a nice microcosm of what was most of the minds of European basketball. Yes, national heroes playing in the NBA still reign supreme, but international tournaments happily still get ample due here on The Continent.

So without further ado, here are the stories that you, the readers, decided were the true headline-grabbers in 2012.

1. Splitter opines Adelman key to Rubio’s success; Ginobili says “impressive”
When Ricky Rubio finally eked his way into the Timberwolves’ starting lineup, the results were immediate and positive. Of course, those of us who’ve been following The Human YouTube Highlight Clip since his days as the youngest-ever player for Barcelona could sit back and say “I told you so” – like Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili did.

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Nov
9

US Presidential Election 2012: America’s basketball diplomat hits hardwood for last-minute votes (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

Love him or hate him after nearly four years in office, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama is the first basketball president – a fact that could curry lots of favor with Generation X and Y voters in a celebrity-charged election.

Sure, Bill Clinton was lucky enough to enjoy his home-state University of Arkansas’ 1994 victory in the NCAA Tournament and play host to the Dream Team in ’92. Sure, guys like George W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon were often more erudite when discussing sports than, you know, politics (check out “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” for Hunter S. Thompson’s interview with Tricky Dick, an interview which Thompson was told could only be about NFL football). And the Kennedys surely won popularity points for their picturesque family touch-football games.

However, no US president has leveraged sports fandom on an international scale like Obama. (Check out BallinEurope contributing writer Enrico Cellini’s piece on his pet project, tracking Obama’s basketball diplomacy moves.) And the president’s preference for basketball represents the rise of the NBA and to some extent NCAA hopes during David Stern’s reign as the big league’s commissioner.

(Is it any coincidence that Obama came to professional prominence in that hometown of the 1990s’ Incredibulls? BiE thinks not.)

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Aug
26

US NBA stars beat Spain to take gold



(via AFP)

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.…

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Aug
22

USA 107, Spain 100: Lebron James continues ownership of 2012 with pair of golden daggers

Even more than Vassilis Spanoulis and Olympiacos, 2012 in basketball has belonged to Lebron James. So it is indeed fitting that the King threw the dagger to earn his Team USA the gold.

At 97-91, a double-digit Team USA had evaporated through some sloppy turnovers in what felt like a momentum change, a Spanish charge. And then Lebron returned, getting the ball, charging through the lane while the BBC play-by-play man was reduced to “uh oh.” Slam, 99-91. “And by uh oh,” quipped BBC guy, “I meant ‘wow.’”

On the next possession, it was James for three. USA 102, Spain 93 and “hope was fading” for Los Rojos.

This after Team Spain had managed a brilliant third quarter, trading leads with the US and perhaps inducing a tiny bit of fear. In lieu of Marc Gasol, the formerly nearly-invisible Serge Ibaka had a swell third quarter, capping it with a block on Deron Williams driving to the basket which might’ve given Team USA a three-point lead to end a quarter in which Spain shot 60% overall – and no threes.

Wire writeup to be posted later, but for now kudos to Lebron James, high-scorer Kevin Durant and Team USA for taking the gold, and to Team Spain for fighting adversity, wear and tear for the silver.

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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
0

Meeting of Dream Teams as Dude Perfect hangs with Team USA

Before the USA-Argentina game last night, Olympic host city London played host to a meeting of Dream Teams, as ultimate basketball trick-shot artists Dude Perfect set out to – and achieved – get interviews with every single member of Team USA.

Dude Perfect...

...meets perfect dudes

Fans of the ‘Perfect ones may be slightly dismayed to hear that “Hot Tubbing with USA Basketball” (it’s a Dallas thing) contains just one trick shot – though the nonchalant contribution from James Harden is amazing indeed. On the other hand, you can find if Tyson Chandler is having problems with the Olympic Village showers, who ostensibly taught Lebron James his deadliest trick shot, and Kevin Love’s opinion on “white guys” in the 200 meters. Funny stuff.

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