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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Aug
14

2012 Olympics: Five reasons Russia will beat Spain (and one other Fearless Prediction™)

Now that BallinEurope’s personal Olympic bracket has been shot to hell, BiE will revert to the cumulative readers/contributors’ podium picks of USA-Russia-Argentina. Followers know that BiE’s ridden Russia since the opening ceremonies and the quarterfinals, despite a Spain win, only strengthened this convinction. Below, then, are five reasons why Russia will overcome the 4.5-point favorites.

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Aug
5

2012 Olympic basketball: Rising and falling stock after the first round

While we’re a little ways away from actually awarding medals for 2012 Olympic basketball, the first round showed international hoops fans quite a lot. Though the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, reputations have changed over the past five games to cause some individual and/or teams losses beyond these Olympics. BallinEurope today takes a look at those whose stock has risen and those who’ve fallen in the early going of the London Games.

Rising
Lebron James. Yeah, like this guy needs a further upward trend in his already all-time lofty-looking career. Four years ago, ESPN’s Bill Simmons proclaimed (correctly, in BiE’s opinion) that in 2008 ‘Games crunch time, “everyone deferred to Kobe, who made some monster plays to clinch it. Know that in the history of the NBA we have never had the best-player-alive argument resolved so organically.” In 2012, King James has proven himself to be the best player on the best team in this Olympic tournament.

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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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Aug
18

Imagery of the 2012 Olympics, as tweeted by basketball stars

Between the amazingly-named US women’s soccer goalie Hope Solo calling out Olympic TV commentator/former Team USA star Brandi Chastain in the 141-character format and the nasty little bugger who shall not be named here (not to mention the censorship of a British reporter critical of NBC coverage of the ‘Games), Twitter is having a bad Olympics.

But perhaps this will make up for things a bit … the folks at image-sharing site Pixable have put together the widget embedded below, a continually-updated real-time slideshow composed of photos and images uploaded unto Twitter by basketball Olympians. Amid the personal shots players posing with family members, fellow athletes or, in one case, Prince Harry himself, are some quite nice in-game shots – and one of handball by loyal tweeter Pau Gasol.

Also lending their photographic efforts and/or retweeting skills are Lebron James, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, Rudy Fernandez, Swin Cash, Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, Émilie Gomis and Deron Williams’ shoe.

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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
18

USA 118, Britain 78: Notes, Mensah-Bonsu quotes, highlights, upcoming games

So the USA-Britain meeting in yesterday’s friendly turned out to be something described with words like “blowout,” “thrash,” “humiliate” and “eviscerate.” The last lead Team Britain had in the Red-White-and-Blues’ 118-78 win in Manchester was at 2-0, and the Brits resumed a discouraging tendency from the Eurobasket 2011 tournament, mentally lapsing and collapsing in head coach Chris Finch’s estimation, to be outscored 63-39 in the second 20 minutes.

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