ESPN’s Henry Abbott broke down the partnership between Cleveland Cavaliers (and and former Maccabi Tel Aviv) coach David Blatt and LeBron James. Watch Henry Abbott and David Thorpe discuss whether the duo will clash.
LeBron James may not be suiting up for Team USA at the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball but that didn’t stop him from accepting the ALS ice bucket challenge from the American team. Of course, being the King, he had to do it in style.
Lee Jenkins broke the story of LeBron’s return but what happens now? The madness might just be starting.
David Blatt’s been on one hell of a run. A triple crown with Maccabi, he lands a NBA job (seriously good hustle once again), the team he lands with wins the lottery and lands Andrew Wiggins, wins a bunch of coach of the year awards for work with his old team, and now…now he’s got the best player in the game on his new team.
Yeah, yeah it’s really good to be David Blatt right now.
The East is so open that it’s hardly implausible, even with a team that was pure factory of sadness last year, that Blatt takes the conference in his first season. Outside of the Pacers, is there any team in that conference you feel truly confident about taking Cleveland (and I almost wrote Miami there) in a series with a healthy LeBron James plus friends? There are plenty of options in the West, the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets are teams I’d flat out favour against them right now. That’s ignoring a handful of other teams who are better than any other opponent out East, bar Indiana, that could take down the Cavs roster over seven games. You don’t need me to tell you that only one of these teams from the West could potentially end LeBron’s season.
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…)
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…?
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.
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.)
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.…
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.
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.