Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++ EuroBasket 2015: Wins for Macedonia, Belgium, and Georgia +++ Q&A with Alex Krstanovic on the Belgrade Trophy +++ Thomas Klepeisz shows you how to celebrate a winning bucket +++ Big jam by Giannis Antetokounmpo as Greece beat Slovenia +++ Two-time Euroleague winning coach close to Wakayama deal +++

Shuffling pre-threepeat, Russians in Brooklyn: Last week’s five most intriguing Euroleague (and one NBA) acquisitions

All right, now things are getting interesting. Euroleague rosters are falling into place with top names signing with clubs that leave BallinEurope stretching the imagination – thinking about Papanikolaou outfitted in the Blaugrana here – and most of the prime pickups in the NBA have chosen their destinations for 2013-14. (Except … except … what about Nikola Pekovic and that $50 million deal? What is happening in Eurowolves land?)

Regardless of poor Peks’ situation, player movement kept things interesting for European basketball devotees even if no actual club games are being played. BiE took special notice of the following moves last week.

• Kostas Papanikolaou to Barcelona and
• Mirza Begic to Olympiacos. So the Reds want to threepeat, huh? Well, they’ll have to do so with quite a different look; the losses of Papanikolaou and Kyle Hines while adding Mirza Begic and Bryant Dunston means swapping two guys who played above their height for, well, actual height – not to mention opening up a barrage of questions. Could we really see a downshift in tempo in Piraeus? Does management expect to improve in rebounding, in which Olympiacos was third-best in the 2012-13 Euroleague? How much more court time will Stratos Perperoglou see? And how important can former Harlem Globetrotter Brent Petway be?

Intriguing stuff indeed, but what about that shiny new Blaugrana acquisition? The not-quite 23-year-old (his birthday’s next week) joins a roster that includes La Bomba, Marcelinho Huertas, Ante Tomic and up-and-comers Alex Abrines, Mario Hezonja and Marko Todorovic – in short, a lot of weaponry in the arsenal. More is needed in the backcourt with no more Pete Mickael and who-knows-what-Erazem-Lorbek-will-bring, but BiE’s picks Barca to be among the big league’s top-scoring sides in 2013-14.

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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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Highlights: Gescrap Bilbao Basket annihilates Real Madrid, 93-69

The sickest thing about Gescrap Bilbao Basket’s 93-69 crushing of Liga Endesa rivals Real Madrid in Euroleague play last night? Well, there were a lot of sick things about it, actually. Like the 34-14 score in favor of the home side after one quarter. Like how Bilbao started on a 13-of-14 shooting spree. Like how as a team they finished at 66.0% overall shooting, including a ridiculous 72.9% (27-of-37) on twos.

BiE’ll say no more, because this should be seen to be believed. Highlight clips (including one of those compelling Koyaaniqatsiesque time-lapse videos of arena preparation) and official Euroleague game writeup follow.

(Euroleague) – Gescrap Bilbao Basket sent a message that echoed all around the Euroleague by downing Real Madrid 93-69 in front of a sellout crowd of over 9,000 fans in Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday. Gescrap and Madrid are tied for second place in Top 16 Group F each with a 2-2 record. Gescrap, however, got the tiebreaker advantage if both teams remain tied at the end of the Top 16 and will advance to quarterfinals if it beats Montepaschi Siena at home and Unicaja Malaga downs Madrid in the Spanish capital.

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Euroleague Top 16, Week Two, Night One: Six games, 100 facts

Courtesy the Euroleague folks, BallinEurope brings a compendium of facts and figures spanning history and record books regarding tomorrow night’s slate of a half-dozen games – plus lines on the games and highlight clips. Enjoy!

CSKA Moscow vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul
• CSKA leads the all-time series between the teams, 8-7.
• Nenad Krstic has scored in double figures in each of his last 16 Euroleague appearances dating back to the 2003-04 season.
• Andrei Kirilenko and Nenad Krstic lead the Euroleague in index rating with at averages of 27.8 and 21.5 per game, respectively.
• Kirilenko also leads the Euroleague in blocked shots (3.2 bpg).
• Milos Teodosic is ranked second in the Euroleague in assists this season with a career-high 5.6 assists per game.
• Darjus Lavrinovic needs three more blocks reach 100 for his Euroleague career. With his next block, Lavrinovic will tie former CSKA big man Terence Morris for 12th place all-time.
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Final game in Spain for Fernandez, Ibaka, Splitter: Tiago goes for 19, but Real Madrid routs Valencia, 81-64

Big-name NBA refugees Rudy Fernandez, Serge Ibaka and Tiago Splitter will soon be heading back to the ‘States, thus making yesterday’s Real Madrid-Valencia Basket game the last appearance for each in Spain in 2011-12. Fernandez and Ibaka left Los Blancos in quite good position, leading the way to the 81-64 win against the short-handed Valencia before a crowd of just under 11,000; thanks to the margin of victory, Madrid is in a statistical tie with FC Barcelona atop the Liga Endesa table and is just six points behind the Blaugrana in overall point differential.

Highlights and extrapolated game summary follow.

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Euroleague Power Rankings: First of the Season edition

Right, then. With the last teams advancing into the Euroleague two dozen for the regular season and a break in the Kobe-to-Bologna soap opera today, BallinEurope breaks out an old favorite: power rankings!

Once again, the BallinEurope Euroleague Power Rankings are based on current trends, i.e. who’s hot, who’s not. For this edition of the list, also taken into consideration are offseason acquisitions and a dash of expectations vis-à-vis how these squads will look when the games really start to matter. Let the arguments begin!

1. FC Barcelona – Heard it before? Well, you’ve probably heard about the core of the Barca roster before, too: Juan Carlos Navarro, Pete Mickael, Erazem Lorbek, Victor Sada, Boniface N’dong, Kosta Perovic and Fran Vazquez; getting to add Chuck Eidson and Marcelinho Huertas doesn’t seem fair. In going 8-0 thus far this preseason, the Blaugrana have added to their trophy case with Lliga Catalana and Supercopa Endesa titles and Navarro in particular is still in EuroBasket form. Right now, BiE says this is the team to beat.

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Euroleague Final Four: Last-minute notes, Fearless Predictions™

With just a few hours to go before the Euroleague Final Four tipoff, BallinEurope has just enough time to mull over the matchups and publish more of those good ol’ Fearless Predictions™. (Keep in mind, though, that BiE was a pretty pitiful 1-3 in the playoff round.)

Panathinaikos vs. Montepaschi Siena. It’s extremely difficult to go against never-say-die Montepaschi Siena in this one; however, not only is the 2010-11 edition of Panathinaikos a team seemingly built to win the Euroleague with its combination of speed, size and incredible defensive schemes, but history appears to be on the Greens’ side as well. After all, a trio from the 2007 and 2009 EL champs – Dimitris Diamantidis, Mike Batiste and Kostas Tsartsaris – will be going again for PAO this time ‘round.

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Euroleague Final Four, 2011: Some trivia and factoids on this year’s tourney

As with any major sport tournament these days, the informational factoids flow freely through fandom, giving both typical fans and stat addicts extra stuff to look for in the games ahead … and who is BallinEurope to buck such a habit? Below run a few interesting milestones, achievements and straight-up trivia about the 2011 Euroleague Final Four clubs, players and coaches with which to impress your fellow enthusiasts. Enjoy! (And damn, is Derrick Sharp *really* that old…?)

• Real Madrid has played in an all-time record 14 Euroleague title games and eight titles – yet hasn’t even been to a Final Four since 1996, when some guy named Arvydas Sabonis was running things. Maccabi Tel Aviv is second in the record books, having appeared in 13 title games.

• Derrick Sharp will be playing in his seventh Final Four – all with Maccabi Tel Aviv – one ahead of Tal Burstein for most with the club. At eight, Fragiskos Alvertis, J.R. Holden and Theo Papaloukas are the only Euroleague ballers to have appeared in more Final Four tournaments than Sharp. Eight players have won four European titles previously; both Sharp and Burstein are looking to join that elite group.

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A week in highlights: Spanish block party, mighty Milos, Utah rap and some dude dunking in L.A.

Yes, readers, it’s Sunday. Or, as BallinEurope likes to think of it, “YouTube Trawlday.” (As though BiE avoids the ‘Tube on the other six days. Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.)

Whatever you want to call it, start your day with these 10 video clips starring Nando De Colo, Mirza Begic, Mehmet Okur, Milos Teodosic, Ibrahim Jaaber, Bojan Bogdanović and, you know, what’s his name from the Los Angeles Clippers. Enjoy!

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Messina, Madrid to Garbajosa: You’re free to leave (perhaps to Unicaja, Cajasol or Lagun Aro)

Forced to make roster moves with the arrival of Mirza Begic, Real Madrid coach Ettore Messina yesterday placed former Toronto Raptor forward Jorge Garbajosa on the transfer list

This morning, Spanish sports news outlets are abuzz with the news that at least three serious ACB suitors have stepped forward to express interest in obtaining Garbajosa: Unicaja Malaga, Cajasol Sevilla and Lagun Aro.

Since returning to Spain in 2009 after a stint with BC Khimki Moscow region, Garbajosa has been on something of a statistical decline. In 2009-10, he maintained respectable per-game numbers of 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in Euroleague play, but managed lines of just 6.7 ppg and 3.1 rpg in the ACB that season. This season, Garbajosa has managed just 3.9 ppg and 1.7 rpg in ACB games, plus recently registering two DNPs.

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