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Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ 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 +++
Jan
0

Highlight clip of the weekend: Valencia outlasts Bilbao in 113-111 shootout

Who needs “more speed, more excitement, a more free-flowing style” of basketball? Certainly not a couple of teams in the Liga Endesa this weekend, namely Eurocup contenders Valencia Basket and the Euroleague-bounced Uxue Bilbao.

Valencia ultimately triumphed in overtime by a whopping final tally of 113-111. The boxscore alone is worthy of goggling over, with the teams combining to shoot for 66.2% on twos and 55.8% overall. Check out Bilbao’s Lamont Hamilton going 10-of-12 overall but just 3-of-7 on FTs; his foil, player of the game Bojan Dubljevic, was 9-of-11 plus a huge perfect 13 hits at the stripe for 32 points.

The win keeps Valencia tied for third in the Liga standings board at 12-4, while Bilbao dropped into a tie for fifth with CAI Zaragoza at 10-6. And now, one action-packed two minutes-plus’ worth of highlights — featuring two monstrous jams from Hamilton and a killer block by Adrien Moerman…

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Dec
0

Watch all 33 points of Juan Carlos Navarro’s explosion against Real Madrid

It seems La Bomba may be immortal after all … At the age of 32 and in his 13th season on the professional level, Juan Carlos Navarro isn’t quite playing the minutes he used to; in Saturday’s display against the previously ACB-undefeated Real Madrid, the king showed he hasn’t abdicated anything yet.

With just enough time to enter the discussion of “Best Individual Game of the Year” in Europe, Navarro was good for 33 points on incredible 12-of-13 overall shooting including a perfect 5-of-5 on threes – together with six rebounds and three assists good for a crazy 44 performance index rating – in the stirring 96-89 Barcelona win. With the loss went Madrid’s 14-game Liga Endesa winning streak.

From the ‘Tube, then, here’s all 33 of Navarro’s points followed by lots more video from the match below the break.

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Dec
41

Poll: Which is the best European team going into 2013?

Right. So. Especially after this –

– and with the calendar page about to be flipped into 2013, BallinEurope’s question is: Which is the best basketball team in Europe right now?

Straight by the qualification system, the top four teams in Euroleague round one were Real Madrid, Maccabi Tel Aviv, FC Barcelona and Žalgiris Kaunas – not a bad start there, but Eurobasket.com’s mathematically-derived rankings on Monday morning includes CSKA Moscow at no. 1 and Olympiacos at no. 3. Maccabi, likely saddled by the competitive imbalance they enjoy back home in the Ligat Ha’Al, places a lowly eighth…

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Dec
2

On Hezonja, Todorovic plus a couple of Swedes: FC Barcelona’s future as bright as the present?

Barcelona’s future: Alex Abrines, Mario Hezonja, Marko Todorović

As though FC Barcelona’s red-hot play – they’re now at 14-4 overall after an 0-2 start in Spain – weren’t enough to keep European basketball devotees watching, here are two more reasons for you: Mario Hezonja and Marko Todorović.

At just 17 years old and despite missing the entire 2011-12 regular season, Hezonja finally got a taste of the action in Barça’s 78-48 laugher over Beşiktaş in Turkey last Friday night. His Euroleague debut stat line read five points, two rebounds and one steal in a few ticks under 12 minutes of play.

Hezonja again did not play in Spain this weekend, unlisted on the roster for Barca’s 81-64 win over Cajasol in Liga Endesa play; the 12th-man spot was filled by 20-year-old Todorović of Montenegro. In the Beşiktaş game, Todorović’s 12 minutes of court time was the most he’s gotten all season and the national teamer was good for four points, four rebounds and two blocks.

Potentially the nucleus of a shiny new Barca frontcourt? Continue Reading…

Nov
1

Monday hangover: Power struggles in Italy, Spain; Zalgiris’ continued rise; Obama vs. the Lakers Rule

It’s never too late for the ‘Hangover (or so BiE’s telling himself). Excuses aside, following are a few Eurocentric impressions, notes, highlight clips – and the no. 1 reason why Barack Obama is thrilled the Los Angeles Lakers went down in the playoffs last season…

Power vacuum in Italy? Coming into 2012-13, most pundits in the European basketball sphere reckoned Montepaschi Siena was due for an off year after an off offseason which saw them downgrade at several positions. And while it appears that Siena won’t be giving up its stranglehold on the Italian national title easily (they’re currently at 4-1; more on this shortly), the team’s dismal Euroleague play indicates this isn’t a Montepaschi team in the mold we’ve become accustomed to.

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Oct
0

Monday hangover: Real Madrid awesome; CSKA Moscow vulnerable; Arvydas Sabonis rules

Right, with the weekend over and many an hour spent viewing the roundball, BallinEurope rounds up some news items – and video clips! – from the week that was.

Could this be Real Madrid’s year? Los Blancos are exactly one Rudy Fernandez miss from a perfect 8-0 overall mark early in 2012-13 after topping Caja Laboral Baskonia, 83-81, in overtime this weekend in the Liga Endesa.

Baskonia got a combined 47 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Maciej Lampe while turning over the ball just once – thus not allowing Real to demonstrate their nice quick transition to the fast break – yet ultimately couldn’t answer what’s looking like the best team out of Spain this season.

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Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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Oct
45

Barça back on track? Blaugrana get first win of 2012-13 against Dallas Mavericks, 99-85

Who says the preseason NBA/Euroleague games don’t matter? Certainly not BallinEurope readers, who are using the round of exhibition matches to compare relative levels of talent and play.

Well, more grist for the debate mill was produced last night as FC Barcelona surprised the Dallas Mavericks at the ‘Palau, 99-85. The occasion marked the third such triumph for the Spanish side in recent years and chases up the 2010 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Perhaps most significantly locally, even those a bit begrudging about European basketball may admit that this was a big win for Barça.

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Oct
3

European present, NBA future? Five more rights-owned draftees to watch in 2012-13

NBA Europe Live Tour and Euroleague American Tour games tip off tomorrow, giving a few fan bases a glimpse at some possible future prospects already drafted and with rights owned by a big league club.

Following up on yesterday’s brief look at five rights-owned European players developing their games on The Continent, today is offered another quintet for your consideration. Fans of Chicago, Charlotte, and San Antonio will particularly want to pay attention – and tune into some Euroball in 2012-13…

• PF Nikola Mirotic, Real Madrid (2011 NBA draftee; rights owned by the Chicago Bulls).
Few players are more greatly anticipated – and few could be more immediately useful to such an injury-prone frontcourt – in Chicago than Nikola Mirotic.

Mirotic rolled on last season after bagging the Euroleague Rising Star award for 2010-11, nearly doubling his EL scoring average from 6.6 to 12.5 ppg; not to mention a like increase in touches. Unfortunately for Bulls backers, Mirotic is contracted to Real through 2016 –although he’ll only be 25 years old by then and BiE wouldn’t be surprised to see Chicago at least attempt a hefty buyout within the next four seasons.

(To induce further covetousness in the Windy City, check out the 26-point, 10-rebound, 46-PIR damage Mirotic did in Real’s game two Liga Endesa victory over Blancos de Rueda Valladolid last night…)

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Oct
13

European present, NBA future? Five rights-owned draftees to watch in 2012-13

Gaze into the crystal (basket)ball…

Glimpses into the possible Euro-flavoured future of several NBA teams will begin on Friday with the welcome return of the NBA Europe Live Tour and the Euroleague American Tour. What could inspire a Chicago Bulls fan to catch a Memphis Grizzlies preseason game against Real Madrid? The prospect of checking out Nikola Mirotic, of course!

A handful of rights-owned players will be suiting up to play on both sides of the Atlantic over the next eight days, but today BallinEurope takes a slightly wider view beyond these exciting-but-mostly-irrelevant dozen games. Below a look at five players – a bit of a future dream team, perhaps, though desperately seeking a monstrous big man – taken in recent NBA drafts and currently developing in Europe’s higher levels. And yes, there will be highlights.

Your five for the European present and NBA future, then…

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