Jun
2

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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May
40

Instant history: Olympiacos dominates last 30 minutes, tops Real Madrid, 100-88, for back-to-back titles

No matter which way this year’s Euroleague championship played out, history would be made with Olympiacos chasing a repeat championship and Real Madrid its first in 18 years. And as it turns out, fate’s scribe was writing with Red(s) pen: Once again, tournament underdogs Olympiacos ended up EL alpha dogs with a 100-88 win over Real Madrid for only the third repeat title of the last 25 years.

(Olympiacos BC image courtesy Euroleague)

Olympiacos: They are the champions — again

Real Madrid jumped out to an early lead as All-Euroleague first teamer Rudy Fernandez accounted for six points and two assists on his team’s first 10 points, finding Sergio Llull again and again; the two would combine for 16 in the first quarter alone. Los Blancos’ 27-10 lead after the opening stanza might have been considered enough against an ordinary team – but Europe’s comeback kids are hardly ordinary.

Pero Antic’s three to start the scoring in the second quarter got the Olympiacos fans back to their feet –more importantly triggering a 13-2 run with contributions from Kyle Hines and Kostas Sloukas to bring the Reds to within seven at 29-22. And highlight-reel Reyes-to-Slaughter alley-oop dunk aside, the Reds fairly well owned the second 10 minutes, outscoring Real 27-14

Of particular note in the second 10 minutes was Stratos Perperglou stifling Fernandez, limiting him to just two points on free throws; in fact, Perperglou’s defensive play was representative of Olympiacos’, as nearly half of the Madrid points (six) in the quarter were made at the line, while six Real turnovers were forced.

Vassilis Spanoulis, remarkably quiet for so long, finally broke his personal cold streak with a three after the first minute of the third quarter and a subsequent three would give Olympiacos its first lead at 48-45 – must’ve been something concocted at halftime … another run – this one 15-5 – appeared to have Real on the ropes in the third, but Los Blancos weren’t finished yet, momentarily retaking the lead at 56-55 after a pair of jumpers from Fernandez.

Among the highlights in a pressure-packed final five minutes of the third were two consecutive stops of Fernandez after he’d run up seven in the stanza already; among the lowlights, Sloukas assessed for a technical after flopping. Nikola Mirotic, uncharacteristically plagued with foul trouble earned his fourth PF – one of 10 committed by three members of the Real frontcourt – late in the third quarter as well. After 30 minutes, it was a new ballgame: 61-61.

With 90 seconds gone, Spanoulis reentered the court to palpable tension. A section of Reds fans maintained their trademark noise, but many were strangely silent while the Madridistas clung to edges of their seats.
The death blow may have come on a hidden play, as Acie Law forced Llull to bounce a dribble off his foot and into the backcourt – Spanoulis’ followup three would ultimately seal the deal from 70-62:

While Law and Sloukas and Georgi Shermadini went on to score from various spots on the floor, Jaycee Carroll’s three-pointer – just one of three Madrid shooting attempts in the fourth quarter’s first five minutes – stood alone as a Real success from the floor. By that time, the Reds’ lead had ballooned to 82-70 and the Spanish side simply did not have an Olympiacos-like miracle comeback in ‘em.

And no Spanoulis, either.

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May
1

Marcus Slaughter: “This is the biggest game of my career”

Real Madrid’s Marcus Slaughter feels good despite facing the pressure of what he calls – and what unquestionably is – the biggest game of his seven-year professional career. Olympiacos might want to take note, as the defending champs could well have matchup problems in facing up against this athletic big man … particularly if, as he says, speed will be the key to a Euroleague title in 2013…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

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Jun
2

Getting back to business: After completing threepeat, Bamberg says “Auf Wiedersehen” to Pleiss, Slaughter, Suput

Now that Brose Baskets Bamberg has completed the 2011-12 season with its third straight German Bundesliga title, management there can get down to business – and some serious business they’ll have to take care of, indeed.

First, the frivolity. From the Beko BBL official website, BiE contributor and he in-the-know about all things German sports, David Hein summarized Bamberg’s championship title and current situation as follows.

“Brose Baskets once again proved masterful in dealing with the favorites role as Bamberg confirmed the expectations of nearly all prognosticators in sweeping Ratiopharm ulm in the Beko BBL Finals to compete the incredible double three-peat. It was a testament to Ulm and their amazing season that Isaiah Swann did not allow Bamberg to take Game 3 at home without a fight as he drained eight three-pointers in scoring 36 points. But as usual the depth and balance – and fortitude – of Brose Baskets were just too much: Bamberg won Game 3 by the score of 97-95 to complete the 3-0 sweep and hoist the championship trophy into the heavens of Franconia for the fifth time in the last seven years…

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Apr
3

Bundesliga wrap: Double-OT thriller in Munich, Ulm players win awards, Chikoko continues rise

From the land of Dirks Nowitzki and Bauermann – David Hein reports on a few happenings in Germany’s top division of basketball. Read on to find out about Bayern Munich surviving a double-overtime slugfest with Brose Baskets Bamberg; Ratiopharm Ulm taking a bunch of trophies; and Vitalis Chikoko’s continued success in the Bundesliga.

Bayern wins double-OT battle with Bamberg
Bayern Munich and Brose Baskets Bamberg continued to one-up each other in a German Beko BBL showdown which should be chronicled for the as-yet non-existent BBL TV Classic.

In what truly felt like a heavyweight slugfest, hosts Bayern had the final big punches in double overtime as they beat the two-time reigning champions, 107-103. Jared Homan came up big for Bayern in the second overtime with two big baskets while Bamberg just couldn’t find the answer in the second extra session.

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Mar
2

Bundesliga roundup: Brose Baskets streak snapped at 15; Predrag Krunic canned; Artland Dragons staggering

From the land of Dirk – Nowitzki and Bauermann, that is – David Hein reports on a few happenings in Germany’s top division of basketball. Read on to find out all about Fraport Skyliners reminding Brose Baskets of that losing feeling; EWE Baskets Oldenburg’s dismissal of former championship-winning coach Predrag Krunic; and Bayern Munich blasting past road-weary Artland Dragons, who cling to the no. 4 spot in the standings.

Mark it up as the proverbial good loss later in the season, but two-time reigning German Beko BBL champions Brose Baskets Bamberg were handed their third L of the season with Fraport Skyliners winning 76-68 at home to snap the league leaders’ 15-game winning streak.

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Nov
Feb
0

Encapsulating the Semaine des As squads

For a quick informational brief in advance of the Semaine des As tournament tipping off today, Francophones should head over to a site called LeMans.Maville.com. For a rough feeling of this excellent piece, cobbled together from remedial French knowledge and online translators with a gob of poetic license, read on.

Chorale Roanne. At home the “Chorale” sings; away, this team only sings the blues, losing by lopsided scores at Le Mans (73-58), against Villeurbanne (88-57) and Nancy (101-62). Home at Andre-Vacheresse, however, Roanne is firing on all cylinders, as seen in the team’s 72-71 win over Cholet. The man to watch: Uche Nsonwu-Amadi.

Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne. So much for being the favorites. Were they not hosts, Asvel might not be attending this party at all. The team’s recent defeat at Poitiers, its 11th in the last 19 games, may indicate the team mortgaged a bit too much for the playoffs last season. The man to watch: Mindaugas Lukauskas.

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Nov
17

The Currywurst-with-French fries trade explained

We’ve already talked about what happened to Marcus Slaughter in Bremerhaven a few days ago, but the story has now somehow come to a crazy conclusion. But let’s start from the beginning.

Marcus Slaughter is a young US player with a lot of talent. Born in 1985 and after a great campaign with San Diego State in the NCAA, Slaughter landed his first professional contract in Turkey at Pinar Karsiyaka, where he played under coach Okan Cevik and together with Rashard Griffith. After a short stint with the Miami Heat, Slaughter moved to Israel to sign with Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. He played only a few games for the Israeli team, as he was released after meeting with a girlfriend in a hotel room on a ULEB Cup trip to Strasbourg in France – At least that’s his way of telling the story; the official team version says Slaughter met with a call girl and was cut immediately after this. Up to you to judge.

Later that season, Slaughter played in France at Gravelines, and we don’t know if the girl was still somewhere in the story.

This summer, after having played NBA Summer League ball for the Mavericks, Slaugther moved to Bremerhaven and his discipline-focused head coach Dr. Sarunas Sakalauskas. After putting up incredible numbers to start the season, Slaughter was surprisingly missing on the team’s road trip to Cologne. No reason was officially announced but a local newspaper talked about disciplinary reasons because the player ate currywurst (spicy German sausage with curry sauce) with French fries 30 minutes before an official game. Other sources say that relations between Sakalauskas and Slaughter were not that great because the basketball philosophies of the two were too different. After the game in Cologne, Bremerhaven officially announced that Slaughter was injured.

However, this did not prevent Slaughter from visiting a game of the local ice hockey team in Bremerhaven. But as the visit was not enough, he got some kind of farewell show at the ice rink, according to people present at the game. Only one day later, Slaughter was officially released by Bremerhaven and had already signed a contract with Le Havre … in France. Now once again, we don’t know if the French girl from Strasbourg was the reason Slaughter’s return to France; however, Slaughter looks pretty happy about the signing as you can see in his presentation picture below.

Image Source: Official website of STB Le Havre

So I guess you recognize the gear he is wearing? Yes: It’s still the Eisbären Bremehaven stuff. So we won’t be surprised to see Bremehaven management suing Slaughter for stealing their jacket. We’ll keep you updated.