Oct
2

BallinEurope’s Top 10 Euro-centric storylines in NBA 2013-14 season

Pero Antic: Ready for his (NBA) closeup

Though the NBA’s opening night went down yesterday (North America time), the far majority of teams in the Association has yet to tip things off. What better time then, to enumerate 10 or so storylines BallinEurope will be following in 2013-14?

(That was a rhetorical question.)

Right, then. Here’s what we’re looking at in the NBA season to come.

• Tony Parker and his French Foreign Legion. The San Antonio Spurs, who first dipped into international talent when they drafted that guy from the Virgin Islands back in 1999, added yet another non-North American this offseason to go with Parker, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter et al in Marco Belinelli. The thought here surely is for the Western Conference champs to supplement shooting off the wing and supplement they shall.

Meanwhile, pundits aplenty (all the way up to Bill and Jalen” over at Grantland.com) wonder openly about the psychological effect of heartbreaking losses in game six and seven of last year’s finals. BiE’d say that this ain’t no ordinary team and despite never having been in this position (i.e. as the previous year’s runner-up) to start a season, the Spurs’ll shrug it off. What cannot be so easily brushed aside is ol’ Father Time, who’s clearly gaining on Ginobili and surely must be sneaking up on Tim Duncan…

• Marcin Gortat’s fortunes on the Wizards. As part of an all-out – and possibly bald-faced – salary dump/preparation to tank for the draft lottery, the Phoenix Suns dumped The Polish Hammer in the eleventh hour to a suddenly impressive-looking Washington side. Continue Reading…

Oct
5

CSKA beat Timberwolves 108-106 in overtime


CSKA Moscow’s U.S. tour started off with a hard-fought 108-106 victory over its NBA opposition, the Minnesota Timberwolves, but only after requiring an extra five minutes of time.

The Timberwolves didn’t get off to the best of starts, but the reserves provided a spirited fightback, turning a 18 point deficit into a four point lead with 1:17 remaining in the game. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t seal the deal in normal time as Derrick Williams’ layup failed to connect with 1.9 seconds to go, while in extra time, Othyus Jeffers’ failed to score up close with a second to go.

Failure to convert these shots summed up the game for the Timberwolves as they converted only 41.2% from the field, and 19% from beyond the ark. CSKA fared better with a 52.5% conversion rate on all attempts, which proved to be the difference.

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It was Williams who had the most prolific game for the Timberwolves, scoring 21 points to go with nine rebounds, 16 of which came from the final 29 minutes. However, he will reflect on how he missed three out of four free throws in the final 1:11. Kevin Martin finished with 16 points, but shot only 5-of-15 from the field, while A.J. Price scored 14 points, 5-of-7 coming from the field.

For CSKA, it was Milos Teodosic who proved to be the difference, finishing with 26 points, five rebounds and nine assists. His contribution was vital in both forcing the game into overtime, hitting two charities, and then clinching the game by splitting free throws to arrive at the final score.

The Timberwolves’ form was inconsistent during the game, despite having pulled off a 12-2 point run near the end of the first half. Despite that run, the second half saw them struggle to get a grasp of the game, and saw them trailing 72-63 with 3:20 left in the third.

However, the unlikely combination of Price, Jeffers, Williams, Alexey Shved and Ronny Turiaf brought the Timberwolves back into the game, providing them with a 92-88 lead with 1:17 left. And while Williams put the Timberwolves up three, 95-92, with 34 seconds remaining, it was Teodosic who erased the difference with his free throws, bringing the game into overtime.

The last five minutes saw a dramatic finish as the Timberwolves then put up a two-point-lead, 103-101, halfway, but back-to-back scores by CSKA put them on the back foot. An equaliser from Price suggested that the match would see another overtime, but Teodosic’s contribution prevented that from happening.

- Quinton O’Reilly @qoreilly

Sep
1

Podcast: Tony Parker! Ricky Rubio! New BiE editor!

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #54 (alternatively “Volume II, Episode 2”) of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now available online or via iTunes.

But enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get right to the headliners. From the post-games of last week’s Eurobasket 2013 final matches come words from perhaps the biggest names we’ve ever had on the show. First up is 15 minutes’ worth of post-game press conference from the peerless Tony Parker along with Team France coach Vincent Collet in the afterglow of Les Bleus’ triumphant gold-medal win over Lithuania.

Following this is the positively gregarious Ricky “The Human YouTube Highlight Clip” Rubio after Team Spain’s bronze-medal win; in the post-game, hard-working David Hein gets La Pistola to weigh in quickly on his national team’s future as well as the importance of Nikola Pekovic.

But that’s not all: new BallinEurope editor-in-chief Emmet Walsh has introduced himself at length online but gets audio room in which to stretch his wings when he guests on this edition of Taking the Charge. Emmet tells us about his motivations for running BallinEurope.com and his love of the European game before he and Hein face off in a “Fact or Fiction”-like round of Q&A regarding some thematic motifs. What does Emmet think about, say, Olympiacos’ chances for a Euroleague three-peat? Tune in to find out…

Finally, the sports movie review of the week is a documentary set in the world of Emmet’s other sports love, that utterly unique game called Gaelic Football. This Irish national television production is called “Jimmy’s Winnin’ Matches” and is one fantastic look at how important a coach/trainer/manager – in any sport, really – can be.

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.

Continue Reading…

Sep
2

Eurobasket: Slovenia and Croatia progress, Spain win

We know half of the teams through from Group F after a wild Saturday. Two Balkan teams locked up their places in the quarter-finals with wins today while Spain cruised to their first win in the second phase.

Damn that crowd makes a difference. Slovenia and Greece delivered one of the ugliest first quarters of offence we’ve seen all tournament but the home team was perfect from the line to move into a 13 point lead after the first frame. That lead grew to 26 points before the inevitable Greek fight-back. Greece knocked 20 off the lead to make it a two possession game inside the final two minutes. Slovenia dug deep yet again, with the Dragic brothers combining for 39 points, 10 boards, and 6 rebounds en route to a 73-65 victory. It was a nervous finish but the win puts the home team top of the group and safely through to the last eight.
Continue Reading…

Jun
1

Euroleague American Tour 2013: CSKA Moscow scheduled for Minnesota, San Antonio visits

euroleague-basketball-nba logosThe Red Army is coming to the US as part of the always fun and interesting Euroleague American Tour 2013: Euroleague and NBA officials today announced that in October, CSKA Moscow’ll be taking on a couple of teams with nice Continental/ international ties in the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs. No word yet on whether a second Euroleague side might also be making the trip, as is customary on the ‘Tour, but the schedule for NBA team appearances in Europe is set.

Official press release on CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague American Tour 2013 and the schedule for the NBA Global Games follows.

(Euroleague) – Euroleague Basketball and the NBA today announced that CSKA Moscow will make its third trip to North America in the past five seasons this October when the team headlines the Euroleague American Tour 2013. The Russian champion and 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague semifinalist will play games in the U.S. against the 2013 Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

On October 7, CSKA will travel to Minneapolis to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose 2012-13 roster included former CSKA star and Euroleague MVP Andrei Kirilenko, former CSKA player Alexey Shved, as along with former Euroleague champions Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio. On October 9, CSKA will visit San Antonio to face the Spurs, whose 2012-13 squad included another former Euroleague champion, Manu Ginobili, and three-time All-Euroleague selection Tiago Splitter among six Euroleague alumni.

This will be the third trip for CSKA Moscow to the United States and Canada to play preseason games. In 2008, the team Russian powerhouse played against the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors.

In 2010, CSKA crossed the pond again to played games against the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. CSKA’s victory in Cleveland made it the first European team to have ever beaten an NBA team on United States soil.

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

May
1

Podcast: Interview with Ricky Rubio; wrapping the 2012-13 Euroleague season, NIJT; reviewing The Wrestler

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #35 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Talking the Charge” podcast series is now available online and is downloadable from iTunes – and o boy, it’s a good one.

Days after Olympiacos made European basketball history, we’re still amazed by another incredible run by the Reds and so discuss the context of this back-to-back title victory. Also up for discussion are reasons why Real Madrid and FC Barcelona should be proud and CSKA Moscow a bit ashamed. And what about that Red Army side? Will they blow up the team? What is the future of Ettore Messina, Milos Teodosic and Nenad Krstic with the club after a most disappointing Euroleague finish?

We also weigh in on the results and performances of the Nike International Junior Tournament, with particular reference to the finalists, champions Club Joventut Badalona and runners-up FC Barcelona – an extreme contrast in styles vis-à-vis club development within the economic realities of European sport in the 2010s.

Ricky Rubio WolvesOf course, this show’s highlight is the brief interview with none other than The Human YouTube Highlight Clip himself, Ricky Rubio. In remarkably succinct fashion, La Pistola weighs in on this year’s Euroleague Final Four, the past frustrating season with the Minnesota Timberwolves (and the importance of Nikola Pekovic) and the possibilities for Team Spain in the upcoming Eurobasket 2013 tournament.

Finally, our sports movie review of the week focuses on the 2008 film The Wrestler featuring Mickey Rourke in an outstanding tour de force career-comeback performance.

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.

Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

Continue Reading…

Mar
Mar
8

¡Viva La Pistola! Ricky Rubio goes for first NBA triple-double against Spurs [video]

History in the making? Ricky “The Human YouTube Highlight Clip” Rubio lived up to BallinEurope’s sobriquet last night in his Minnesota Timberwolves’ 107-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Rubio’s 25-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist performance was the first 20+/12/12 triple double against the Spurs since Larry Bird – and totally makes for one sweet YouTube clip in its own right. See for yourself in the nicely tightly-edited two-some minutes from the league below.

(Incidentally, BiE’s said it before and may say it again: How about that Rubio-to-Williams connection, eh?)

Continue Reading…

Feb
1

Team Russia to be AK-less for Eurobasket as Andrei Kirilenko announces retirement

Kirilenko in 2008

But what a way to go out, eh…?

Russia-based Sport Express and FIBA are this morning reporting what many have suspected all along what was inevitable: That Andrei Kirilenko is to retire from international play. Kirilenko explained that he’d already recently discussed the possibility with Russian Basketball Federation president Alexander Krasnenkov and that he “didn’t want to keep everyone in suspense for long.”

Citing common concerns among international players about fatigue and personal life, Kirilenko told Sport Express that “I’m not ready to spend most of the summer with the team and not with the family.” He hopes that the fortunes of Team Russia remain high and that he wishes to “transfer the authority and responsibility to” the younger generation of national teamers.

Continue Reading…