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 +++

ACB: Barcelona survive, Gran Canaria top Baskonia

Real Madrid’s season doesn’t get under way until Monday night but the opening weekend of Liga Endesa almost saw a huge upset as their arch-rivals Barcelona squeezed out a win over Valencia.

The contrasting fortunes of Barcelona in Euroleague and ACB was one of the most bizarre stories of the 2012-13 season. Barcelona were untouchable in Euroleague for most of the season but faltered early and often in domestic action. The first round of play in Spain almost saw the Blaugrana fall at home but they just about got over the line with a 76-75 win over Valenica. Justin Doellman carried the load for the visitors with 25 points and 3 rebounds while Rafa Martinez scored 17 points, including 7 from the foul line. Barcelona’s back court had no trouble creating, with Marcelinho Huertas and Juan Carlos Navarro each chipping in 4 assists, but they leaned heavily on their front court for points. Kostas Papanikolaou had 14 points in his ACB debut for Barcelona, after winning back to back Euroleague titles with Olympiacos, while Maciej Lampe had 12 points and 6 rebounds. NBA draft prospect Mario Hezonja saw 2 minutes of action for Barcelona, scoring 3 points.

It took overtime but Gran Canaria eventually recorded an upset at Saski Baskonia. The islanders got off to a hot start on the road, leading by 11 at the half but a 24-13 third frame for Baskonia leveled matters. With the sides inseparable at the end of regulation, Gran Canaria eventually took the win 99-96. Nacho Martin scored 22 points and picked up 6 boards for the victors and he was ably assisted by former Notre Dame star Ben Hansbrough who had 15 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Baskonia’s Lamont Hamilton led all scorers with 23 while Fernando San Emeterio had 18 points and 3 assists.

It was a rough road trip for Estudiantes to kick off the season. Unicaja Malaga swept the Madrid team aside 97-78. Jayson Granger had 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists for Malaga, with Zoran Dragic scoring 16 points for the victors. Domas Sabonis, son of Arvydas, had a quiet but efficient day for Malaga with 6 points on 2 of 3 shooting and 3 rebounds. Andres Miso was top scorer for Estudiantes with 23.

The final game of the opening round takes place later today as defending champions Real Madrid play host to Valladolid.


Spain: Real Madrid roll to Supercopa title – Highlights

Liga Endesa champions Real Madrid added the Supercopa title over the weekend with wins over Bilbao Basket and FC Barcelona. Here’s what you might have missed.

Jaycee Carroll led a rain of threes for Real Madrid in Friday’s semi-final win over Bilbao. The Liga Endesa champions went deep early and often, crushing their opponents 100-61.

The final was a repeat of last year’s Liga Endesa playoffs final, where Real took the title in Game 5 over Barcelona. This edition of El Clasico ended with the same victor as RMB won 83-79 to lift the Supercopa.


Real Madrid tops FC Barcelona for first Spanish title since 2007; Reyes MVP, Jasikevicius with flashback performance

BallinEurope sends out congratulations this morning to Real Madrid, which closed out a most successful season by taking the decisive game five of the Liga Endesa championship series, 79-71, in yet another “El Clasico”-level thriller. The title represents Los Blancos’ first ACB championship since 2006-07; though title is Real’s sole trophy this season, the win plus a Euroleague runner-up bid has to add up to the club’s finest run since Juan Antonio Corbalán was running point in the early to mid-1980s.

Felipe Reyes was named MVP of the Liga Endesa finals; Reyes turned in yet another efficient performance in game five, contributing 14 points and drawing a whopping seven personal fouls in under 21 minutes of playing time.

Reyes’ show (not to mention the actual win) overshadowed an incredible individual game from Sarunas Jasikevicius, as the old guy played like he’d tapped into his personal 2005. After going just 191 seconds in Madrid’s game four loss, Jasikevicius constantly got/created easy open looks in his under-19 minutes for a huge 23 points on 6-of-9 overall shooting and 8-of-8 from the line.

Unfortunately for the Blaugrana, aside from Joe Ingles’ excellent night, Barcelona shooters could managed just 7-of-33 success overall, including an 0-of-11 mark beyond the arc. (On the other hand, Saras and Ingles did make for one heckuva highlight clip…)

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Crisis in Spain: Player strike averted, ACB playoffs to continue as planned

Phew, that was close…

Typically, it’s a bad sign when a sports page follows up a headline story with a photo like this:

(image courtesy

However, good news from Spain is the order of the day today, as ACB officials have announced that at least a temporary agreement is in place to avert a player strike scheduled to begin today which would have halted the Spanish League’s basketball playoffs from continuing further.

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Podcast: Talking Euroleague Final Four, Liga Endesa with Jeff Taylor; also lamenting the Lakers, reviewing ESPN 30 for 30 doc “From Elway to Marino”

Taking the Charge podcast seriesAnother week, another “Taking the Charge” podcast. Available now through heinnews or iTunes, it’s once again lotsa talk on European basketball and other sports.

BallinEurope and heinnews this week host Jeff Taylor, Spain-based writer for Basketball World News and With Spain as the main item on the chat menu this week, we analyze the revitalized and rolling Real Madrid and possibly hurting FC Barcelona’s chances going their matchup next week. We also take a brief look at Spain’s Liga Endesa, including props to recently rechristened Laboral Kutxa, and the inevitable far-out speculation about Eurobasket 2013.

Yeah, BiE laments the Los Angeles Lakers’ demise for the final time this season and wonders if there is a Plan B in place, should the Busses not re-sign Dwight Howard. (Hint: It seems doubtful.)

Finally, for the sports movie review of the week, we do up the recently broadcast 1983 NFL Draft-centric from Elway to Marino, another strong entry in “Volume II” of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

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Yes! ACB releases new Pops Mensah-Bonsu highlight video!

It’s about time we got a fresh Pops Mensah-Bonsu highlight video … On the happy occasion of Pops’ return to European courts with Cajasol Sevilla for the final six games of the season, the Liga Endesa official website reminds us of Pops’ great moments on Spanish hardwood during stints with CB Granada and DKV Joventut Badalona in 2008.

The BallinEurope fave hasn’t seen action since the summer due to a knee injury taking him out of the 2012 Olympic Games just after finishing 2012-13 in fantastic fashion with Beşiktaş.

Video of representative hops by Pops (plus the occasional nice play on defense) runs below…

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Harlem Shake virus spreads to Spanish basketball, infects Asefa Estudiantes players

Is this officially “viral” yet? A few days ago, BallinEurope stumbled upon and posted an, um, interpretation of the Harlem Shake as presented by the roster of Bundesliga-leading Brose Baskets Bamberg. Days later, FC Bayern Munich’s lot YouTubed their own ‘Shaking…

…and today it seems the phenomenon has spread to Spain’s basketball world as well: Check out Asefa Estudiantes’ Germán Gabriel, Jaime Fernández, Kyle Kuric, Daniel Clark, Edgar Vicedo and Jayson Granger plus a whole gaggle of would-be Harlemites getting down.

Right, then, European basketball squads: Who’s got next?

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Las Dreamcheers strut stuff, show skills at Copa Del Rey

Damn straight BallinEurope’ll run these videos. Alongside this year’s top-notch hoops for which the Copa Del Rey has become world famous, the 2013 edition of the tournament featured some amazing athleticism, choreography and straight-up gorgeousness from Las Dreamcheers, a dance team made up of ACB cheerleaders.

Check out the Liga Endesa-produced video directly below for highlights from last weekend’s show-within-a-show, including what must be the world’s sexiest stewardess outfits. (Is this a preview of Turkish Airlines’ new employee wardrobes?) Good ol’ YouTube provides another compilation as well…

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Cup finals highlights: Barca dominates Valencia; Siena squeaks past Cinderella; PAO bests “club of filth” Olympiacos; Korac Cup final postponed

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to FC Barcelona, Montepaschi Siena and Panathinaikos, perhaps each respectively their nation’s top basketball club, for taking domestic cup titles this weekend.

In Spain, FC Barcelona showed no letup after outlasting Real Madrid in Thursday’s barnburner from the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal round and cruised through Valencia BC in the finals, 85-69. Nice to note that BiE fave Pete Mickael snagged this year’s MVP award from within a relentless and balanced Blaugrana attack.

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Podcast: Interview with Spurs draftee Adam Hanga leads Hungarian-flavored show

Adam HangaEpisode #19 of the BallinEurope/ heinnews co-hosted “Taking the Charge” podcast is now online. Bearing a nice Hungarian accent, our centerpiece interview this week will be of great interest to Spanish basketball fans, San Antonio Spurs nation and NBA prospect-watchers, as Team Hungary’s Adam Hanga joins David Hein and yours truly for a solid 20 minutes or so of chat on all manner of subjects.

After wowing international scouts attending the 2009 Adidas Eurocamp in Treviso and announcing his jump from Hungary’s domestic league to the Liga Endesa with Manresa for 2011-12, Hanga became the first-ever Hungarian national to be drafted in the NBA when the Spurs chose him at no. 59 in 2011.

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