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Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery +++ FIBA Europe Under 20 final highlights and top plays +++ VIDEO: Ettore Messina’s coaching philosophy +++ The 24 must-see regular season games in 2014/15 Euroleague +++ Until it matters, it won’t matter +++ Watch all 40 of Angela Salvadores points against USA +++ LeBron, another sign that David Blatt just keeps on winning +++ Better know a Euro – Alessandro Gentile +++ Better know a Euro – Ioannis Papapetrou +++ Better know a Euro – Nemanja Dangubic +++
Sep
0

Valanciunas hitting form at the right time

After a first round of extremes, Jonas Valanciunas has stepped up big time for Lithuania in his last two outings.

When Jonas Valanciunas can stay on the court, Lithuania win. That’s been the story for the Toronto Raptors big man so far. In Lithuania’s two losses so far, to Serbia and Bosnia, Valanciunas totalled just 18 minutes of action. While the decision to start with him on the bench against France could be put down to a questionable coaching call, Valanciunas dug the hole on his own. In his last two games, the young big has shown he can climb out too.

Foul trouble, a recurrent issue for him in his young career, hindered Valanciunas in those defeats. When Valanciunas was on in the first round, he was really on. A pair of double-doubles saw him play a big part in wins over Latvia and Montenegro. When the games really started to count, Valanciunas stepped up and dominated.

The stat line of 13 points and 6 boards in 16 minutes against France, impressive as it was, barely scratches the surface of how beastly he looked in that game. Against a French team with no shortage of stars, Valanciunas looked like a monster. A win today over Belgium would almost certainly put Lithuania into the quarter finals and one win away from the FIBA World Cup next year. The Belgian’s didn’t know what was about to hit them.

An early hard foul on the Lithuanian, which required minor treatment, only made him angry. Valanciunas dominated inside in the second quarter as he finished the half with 12 points and closed out hard on defence. The wild strength he possesses was there to see but, just like in the NBA Summer League, that growing sense of control was too.

The fouls weren’t coming as quick. Valanciunas could impose his will without getting in trouble. This is what Lithuania and Toronto need. They know they’ve got an amazing talent in this big but they need him to become a smarter player. The progress was visible against France and moreso against the, admittedly weaker, Belgians. The double-double secured early in the fourth quarter, Valanciunas sat again. This time it wasn’t because of any mistake he’d made. Valanciunas had earned the rest. The job was done and the blowout complete. With that a spot in the quarter finals pretty much in the bag. If the Raptor can maintain this new found composure, Lithuania will be a tough out for anyone. That’s not as big an if as it was a year ago.

Sep
0

Open thread: Group E could be pretty much decided today

After the Group B teams made their presence felt on Wednesday, Friday could effectively see Group E’s quarter finallists decided.

Here’s the slate.

Belgium (0-3) vs Lithuania (2-1) – 14.30

Serbia (3-0) vs Ukraine (1-2) – 17.45

Latvia (1-2) vs France (2-1) – 21.00

All times CET.

Wins for Lithuania, Serbia, and Latvia would eliminate Belgium and all but end Ukraine’s involvement in the tournament as all the tie-breakers are going against them. The bookies say Lithuania (-13.5), Serbia (-10.5), and France (-8). I like Serbia to cover, Lithuania to win but by less than double-digits, and France to win. In terms of margin, it’s a push.

Tell us how you guys seeing today’s games going in the comments.

Sep
0

Eurobasket: Latvia stomps Ukraine. Wins for Serbia and Lithuania.

The three Group B teams made their presence felt big time as stage two of Eurobasket 2013 got under way on Wednesday.

The first day of stage two began with a bang. Latvia decided to leave nothing in doubt against Ukraine. This was nothing short of total dominance and a 15/29 display from beyond the arc helped them to an 85-51 win. The victory immediately moves the underdogs into contention for the quarter-finals, with a 1-2 record and two games to go. Given this site was one of many that picked Ukraine for the upset, it’s only fair to pay tribute to Latvia in video form.
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Jul
1

Podcast: Talking Euroleague, NBA transactions, Lithuania basketball

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #44 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

This week’s podcast pays homage to the axiom that, when in doubt about what to talk about in European basketball, simply go to Lithuania. And who better to discuss Team Lithuania’s chances in Eurobasket 2013, Linas Kleiza’s release from the Toronto Raptors, Zalgiris Kaunas’ exit from the VTB United League and such topics than Lithuania Basket’s Simas Baranauskas? Few, we think. (Spoiler: Simas is “cautiously optimistic” about Lietuva in the Slovenia tourney.)

Hein and yours truly also bring the speculation and chatter about recent moves and events in European ball and abroad, touching on Kostas Papanikalaou staying with prospective threepeaters Olympiacos; Richard Hendrix staying in his niche on Eurocup champs Lokomotiv Kuban; the success of Milwaukee Bucks draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo in the FIBA U20 European Championship tournament; Andrei Kirilenko taking a pay cut to join the Brooklyn Nets (which is clearly about kickbacks and not pursuing an NBA title ); Bogdan Bogdanovic eschewing those same Nets for another turn with Fenerbahçe Ülker; and Bobby Brown attempting to crack the New York Knicks roster.

All this and our sports movie review of the week, the so-bad-it’s-marvelous Jean-Claude Van Damme flick Double Team co-starring none other than Dennis Rodman and Mickey “The Wrestler” Rourke. Ever wonder why The Worm has had to resort to bizarre forays into North Korea for HBO in order to stay in the entertainment biz? Rodman brazenly putting his acting “chops” in this flick will explain all. And remember: Offense gets all the glory, but defense wins championships…

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/ into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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Jun
0

Podcast: Interview with Team Poland/Lietuvos Rytas coach Dirk Bauermann

Taking the Charge podcast series Episode #39 of the weekly “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online.

Co-host David Hein and BiE have kept this one mercifully (relatively) short. Recorded directly after game three of the San Antonio Spurs-Miami Heat NBA championship – not to mention directly thereafter game two of the Liga Endesa finals, game two of the Greek League finals and game one of Italy’s Serie A championship series – we do touch upon some happenings in these, but at center…

…is an interview with Dirk Bauermann, former head coach of Team Germany and Bayern Munich and currently with Team Poland and Lietuvos Rytas. Bauermann talks to us about his hopes for his new charges in Eurobasket 2013 (unfortunately seemingly without Marcin Gortat), what to expect from L. Rytas next season and, naturally, on earning his keep in the great basketball state of Lithuania.

As for the sports movie of the week film review, we check out probably the greatest baseball movie you’ve never heard of, namely The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter http://heinnews.com/feed/taking-the-charge/ into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

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Jun
11

Eurobasket 2013: Which NBA players are in, which are out?

Because it’s never too early to start looking ahead to Eurobasket 2013 – wait a minute, there’s only 11 weeks left until tipoff? Definitely not too early, then, to take a look at the formative rosters for the big Continental tournament.

While only a few national teams (Croatia and Lithuania among them) have released preliminary rosters at this point and a few major leagues still playing (Spain, Greece, Germany, Italy, etc.), we can at least deduce which NBA players will or won’t be playing. After all, the rosters of 93.3% of NBA teams have finished their 2012-13 season – and the Miami Heat have no Europeans!

Below is a rundown of each team and the status of their potential NBA players. A few high-profile draft choices and rights-owned guys expected to jump over soon are also peppered in, along with links to appropriate sources. If you find/hear of anything relevant to the list, please comment below.
And we’ll do this group by group…

Group A
Belgium –
no current NBA players

France – Kevin Seraphin (Washington Wizards) is out for ’13 but hints he’ll be back in the future.

Ten days ago, based on a L’Equipe report, website Catch-and-Shoot described Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls)’ Eurobasket status as *très incertain*, and after another punishing NBA season seems unlikely.

No official word on Nicolas Batum (Portland), though the Trail Blazers reportedly be “watching Batum’s injury” this offseason. Perhaps some discouragement is forthcoming…?

France-based media outlet Figaro reported back in May that Ian Mahinmi (Indiana Pacers) and Ronny Turiaf (Los Angeles Clippers) would play; this may have been speculation based on prior results, but Turiaf’s presence on Les Blues for this tournament has been on coach Collet’s mind for a while.

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Jun
0

Adidas Eurocamp: Edgaras Ulanovas demonstrates effortless 70-foot shot

As one of the world’s most prestigious protracted workouts for youth ballers, the Adidas Eurocamp will certainly produce innumerable highlight clips at which to gawk in the leadup to the NBA Draft (not to mention Europe’s 2013-14 seasons) … but BallinEurope may already have a favorite.

Courtesy Hoops Fix, here’s Edgaras Ulanovas of Lithuania showing how to flick in a three-pointer … from about three-quarters the length of the court – if a half-second too late to count.

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May
7

Sarunas Jasikevicius: “Basketball is not a job — it’s a dream”

Sarunas Jasikevicius may be 37 years old and has finished this Euroleague season with FC Barcelona in a somewhat disappointing fourth place, but Lithuania-based Krepsinis.net has some very good news for this all-time great’s fans (and fans of European basketball in general). Ending the speculation that’s been dogging him for the past season or two, Saras told the website earlier this week that This is certainly not my last season, because basketball is not a job: It’s a dream.

Saras repeated similar sentiments in post-game interviews tonight, but not quite as poetically. See you next year, Mr. Jasikevicius!

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Apr
5

Block of the year? Nemanja Nedovic denies dunk, defies physics in Lithuania

Time may be running out all over European domestic leagues, but there’s well enough left for addition to the year’s best plays list – and this one certainly qualifies.

Check out Nemanja Nedovic destroying from behind a would-be dunk by Prienai’s Gediminas Orelikas in Lietuvos Rytas’ 75-67 LKL quarterfinal win last night. Note the strange physics involved as it is Nedovic who continues flying off the screen while Orelikas stays put in the key in dismay.

Nedovic added 20 points, four assists, four boards and two steals to this thunderous stat and must be considered an early nominee for Sportando European Team of the Week consideration…

Shout out to YouTube user M@nt@s for the post!

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Feb
2

Lithuania-based sources: Linas Kleiza done for season, unlikely for Eurobasket [Update: Career not in jeopardy]

The news is just gaining steam in the blogosphere now and, if true, it’s potentially quite sad news indeed for Linas Kleiza of Team Lithuania and the Toronto Raptors…

Update: But wait! Within 15 minutes of BiE posting this story, original English-language source Lithuania basketball reassures us that “And just as a clarification & update, Kleiza’s camp says career not in threat. Phew…” Original story, posted at about 11:20am CET, follows.

According to Lithuania-based 15min and soon thereafter this morning translated into English and run by Lithuania Basketball’s Simonas Baranauskas, Kleiza is certainly done for this season, is all but ruled out for Eurobasket 2013 play and in fact his career itself may be “in jeopardy.

These sources report that “the first arthroscopic surgery, which was performed by Dr. J. Richard Steadman in Colorado in 2011, might not have gone fully according to plan…

“According to the former head of the Lithuanian national team’s delegation and a good friend of Kleiza, Antanas Guoga, it is likely that the surgery will need to be repeated…”

15min.lt quoted Guoga as stating “I’ve heard that the surgery didn’t go right, that there were some mistakes [in the rehabilitation process] after the injury. It’s not good that he underwent surgery in the United States. You can’t turn the clock back, but things might have been different if it had been Lithuanian medics…”

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