Siena-Milano series highlights feature Bourousis, Fotsis, Moss, Sanikidze, Mensah-Bonsu and especially Daniel Hackett

Once again, Montepaschi Siena survives to play another day: The Euroleaguers managed to win the decisive game seven of the Serie A quarterfinal series at no. 4 seed Armani Milano, 90-80, last night. Below runs an impressive highlight clip of the top 10 plays from the series produced by the Italian league and starring J.R. Bremer, Ioannis Bourousis, Malik Hairston, David Moss (with quite the awesome block), Antonis Fotsis (who reciprocates on Moss), Viktor Sanikidze and, naturally, Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

Daniel Hackett also puts in an appearance within the ‘clip, but with his game-high 25 points in the decider showing his ridiculous range making him a threat from anywhere on the floor, this Serie A veteran gets a YouTube all his own…

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Sunday hangover: Notes, clips from Euroleague week one

Since BiE will typically have to play catch-up with a week’s worth of Euroleague games on Saturdays, a new concept comes to the website in the Sunday hangover. Those of you who have followed BallinEurope since the days of its origins may recall the old “Monday cigarettes” column – and this one hopes to recall those days (but with video clips!). And so, notes and observations from the opening week of play in the big league…

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Touring bullets: Notes, links, videos on Euroleague American and NBA Live tours

Who cares if the games are meaningless in any real sense? BallinEurope missed the Euroleague American Tour and NBA Live Tour games tremendously in 2011 – one item doubtlessly on BiE’s list of underrated casualties of the player lockout – and is thrilled to see them back.

In just a couple of hours, the Boston Celtics and Fenerbahçe Ülker will tip off the first of eight games to be played in five days’ worth of international club clashes, as teams in both continents’ big leagues prepare for 2012-13 seasons. This evening, a few notes, links and videos for you themed on these tours; naturally, BiE’ll be doing this in the time-honored tradition of the ESPN TrueHoop Network, i.e. bullet-style. To catch tonight’s and the other games, head over to Euroleague TV.

• The Dallas Mavericks’ goal on their European road trip? To build team chemistry. Also, on Saturday in Berlin, Dirk Nowitski expects to seat some 100 friends and family. Loftily stated Dastardly Dirk, “I told the NBA for all the crap I’ve been doing for them for fourteen years they better hook me up with a bunch of tickets.

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The Gallinari Dilemma: So good you don’t want to get addicted

Sportswriter Enrico Cellini joins the BallinEurope team officially today with his thoughts on the tricky difficulties Emporio Armani Milano and its mastermind Sergio Scariolo may be facing in assimilating quite probably the top player in Italian professional basketball, Danilo Gallinari.

Coach Sergio Scariolo recently won a European championship with the Spanish national team. He then moved to Milan where major stylist and basketball owner Giorgio Armani welcomed him with a renewed and ambitious roster of elite Euroleague players. Then the NBA lockout went south and Danilo Gallinari decided to bring his talents back to the Milan Cathedral (kinda).

A blessing for Emporio Armani Milan? No doubt. Best-case scenario for coach Scariolo? Not really…

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Euroleague Playoffs: Games four highlights

And suddenly, the Spanish influence on the Euroleague has been reduced to just one team in the final four – exactly as many squads as Greece, Israel and Italy’ll have. Caja Laboral in the end just didn’t have enough answers for Maccabi Tel Aviv’s depth and star power, while Panathinaikos displayed the blueprint for taking out FC Barcelona in dominating the baseline and constantly playing the aggressor in driving time and again to the basket. (Of course, it helps if you have Dimitris Diamantidis in the lineup as well…)

And kudos to Montepaschi Siena for successfully shrugging off a horrible game one loss in what might have been a disaster for morale while reestablishing the hyperquick-moving, high-scoring offense that had faltered a bit in the Top 16 round.

Real Madrid hosts Power Electronics Valencia on “Wednesday or Thursday” to determine the last entry into the Euroleague Final Four, and – BiE’s repeating it here out of shock – España’s only team to go this far.

Highlights from last night’s games, as well as the officially-selected top five plays, follow.

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Sunday viewing: The week in basketball videos online

What else are you doing on this Sunday (BiE means between this afternoon’s ACB games and tonight’s domestic league action, that is)…? Check out a few videos posted to the ‘net this week, courtesy (mostly) of YouTube and BallinEurope…

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Euroleague playoff round hors d’oeuvres: Bits, bites and video clips

Ivanovic: Too tough for Eliyahu?

It seems like forever, but the Euroleague break is over tomorrow with the beginning of the elite eight playoff round. Today the basketball news outlets are buzzing with anticipation, and BallinEurope brings you a few bits, bites and, oh yes, YouTube clips to get those viewing muscles warmed up a bit…

• Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Caja Laboral Baskonia. The Israeli side’s home ‘paper Haaretz is taking a conservative stance vis-à-vis its team – though if any series looks like a sweep for the favorite, it’s this one – in headlining today that “Maccabi Tel Aviv faces a tough coach in Dusko Ivanovic of Caja Laboral Vitoria, maybe too tough for his own good.” This news outlet also points out that Ivanovic has twice been bounced from a Euroleague title by Maccabi: David Blatt’s 2002 team beat Vitoria in the final eight round, while Tel Aviv took the EL championship by beating TAU Vitoria in the final game of 2005.

In analyzing Ivanovic’s tactics, El Mundo Deportivo editor Jose Hueget speculates that “Lior Eliyahu, who played under Ivanovic in Vitoria last year, returned to Maccabi in part because of the coach, not just because he missed Israel.”

• FC Barcelona vs. Panathinaikos. PAO personnel are publicly relishing their roles as underdogs against favored Barca. At a Saturday press conference, Dimitris Diamantidis proclaimed that he “believes in his team,” Mike Batiste stated that he “loves challenges” and Zeljko Obradovic declared “Let’s go to battle!”

In terms of head-to-head matchups, much hype is centered on RR vs. DD, so how about a review of the last Ricky Rubio-Diamantidis clash, namely Spain vs. Greece in the 2010 FIBA World Championship?

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Francesco Cappelletti: “Cut and sew!”

Every year when October runs out, several players are denied a happy ending to their stories, and their NBA dream vanishes in a moment. This happens when waived by a franchise after a training camp spent sweating blood to emerge from among the “desperate ballers” hoping to make the team. So, there are two different paths to follow: Go down to the D-League or CBA, score 20 or more points per game, catch and shoot any ball you can, and try to obtain a ten-day contract (at least) from a NBA team during the season; or cross the ocean, build a new career maybe less rich, but in some cases much more satisfying than one in the US.

Let’s see who may be looking into this window of opportunity right about now, starting with NBA-caliber players.

Justin Williams didn’t have huge numbers with Sacramento and Houston, but has demonstrated that he can stay 10 minutes on the floor thanks to toughness, defensive intensity and rebounding capacity (Williams averaged 4.4 in 12 minutes per game with the Kings two years ago). Salim Stoudamire and his talent need no explanation: Obviously it’s his out-of-control mind that keeps him playing below expectations. But remember, he’s Damon’s cousin, so he should have no problem in ever finding an NBA team.

Comparisons between the former Hawks guard and Smush Parker are clear: Smush is crazy and he has been overpaid during the past seasons, but there’s no doubt about his value. David Harrison is another player endowed with a not-so-good relationship with the law. His body (213 cm, 125 kg) could allow him to dominate around the basket, but how badly does he want it? If nobody gives him a chance, the flight to Europe is ready for departure.

In my opinion, it’s time for Jamal Sampson, Darryl Watkins and Awvee Storey to come to Europe, just to name a few who will never be more than role players. The same goes for Elton Brown and David Noel; by contrast, Chris Richard is too young and promising to leave the NBA world. Luke Jackson, Keith McLeod, Jelani McCoy and Adrian Griffin are NBA travellers, and somewhere there they’ll remain.

Patrick Ewing Jr. (say goodbye to New York!), Coby Karl, Dwayne Mitchell, Jamaal Tatum, Blake Ahearn, Dan Grunfeld, C.J. Giles, Cheyne Gadson, Gerry McNamara (what a disaster in Europe: paid $90,000 to play exactly one minute with Olimpiacos, then was terrific with Panionios and Ventspils), and Julius Hodge are strictly US minors material.

Searching some interesting names for European leagues, Malik Hairston (a 6’6” all-arounder from Oregon who was the 48th overall pick in the last NBA draft) has both the scoring instincts and the physicality needed to be a factor not only in one halfcourt; David Padgett is a solid low-post player and comes from a winning team at Louisville;  Nick Fazekas has signed with Oostende by now.

The remaining waivees are all Europe-experienced, many able to compete at the medium-level (Roger Powell is too inconsistent to elevate his grade, Mateen Cleaves is far from the metronome admired in the past, Derrick Byars is intriguing but his five months in Roanne were less than stellar, Curtis Sumpter is always injured), many ready to serve as solid substitutes on elite teams (Gabe Muoneke, Josh Davis, Jared Jordan, Devin Green, Eddie Basden), and others yet close to upgrading themselves to top-level play. Reyshawn Terry, Charles Gaines, Robert Hite: Choose one of this trio and you’ll see the team improve very, very quickly.