Jun
2

Siena out of Euroleague and LegaBasket Serie A

Mens-Sana-Basket-Siena

The fall was expected for some time but now it has formally been confirmed. Mens Sana Basket Siena will not only exit Euroleague next season but also the top flight of Italian Basketball, LegaBasket Serie A.

It’s been quite the fall for the side which has claimed the past seven Italian titles and reached the Euroleague Final Four as recently as 2011, taking third place.

Reports suggest the club will re-enter Italian basketball at the fourth tier, a stunning fall from grace for a team which could call on talents such as Bo McCalebb and Bobby Brown in recent seasons.

Last night Siena lost Game 1 of the Italian league finals 74-61 to Olimpia Milano. Irrespective of what happens in this series, Siena will have to start once more from the bottom in 2014/15.

Nov
0

Madrid continues unbeaten Euroleague run with dominant win over Milan


As the season heads into the winter months, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague is hotting up with some cracking games as the campaign gathers pace in Group B and C.

The showcase match for Group B came courtesy of Brose Baskets Bamberg who edged past Anadolu Efes Istanbul 88 – 86 in a thrilling game that went right down to the wire. There was only 1.3 seconds remaining on the clock when Casey Jacobsen clinched it for the winners. He scored 23 points overall and was helped by Anton Gavel who scored 17 points, Jamar Smith put 14 points on the scoreboard while John Goldsberry contributed 8 assists for Bamberg.

Efes made it difficult for Bamberg by being incredibly effective when on the offense. A scoring rate of 15-of-21 two-point shots and 5-of-7 three-pointers before halftime meant that the team took a 44-51 lead at the break as well as extending the margin to 52 – 66 midway through the third quarter. However, Bamberg didn’t give up and thanks to back-to-back three-pointers by Jacobsen, the team started a 20 – 2 run that saw Bamberg lead 70 – 66 with nine minutes to go.

The lead was increased to 84 – 77, but Efes’ Kostas Vasileiadis singlehandedly brought the team back to life. The decider came at the final minute as a jumper by Jamon Gordon gave Efes a 85 – 86 lead with 6.8 seconds left. Bamberg called timeout and Jacobsen rounded off an impressive game by scoring the winning shot with only a second to spare.


The other Group B game that night saw Real Madrid continue a dominant start to its campaign by defeating EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 93 – 74 at home. The win meant that Madrid remains the only unbeaten team in the group while Milan dropped to fourth place.

Leading for the entirety of the match, Madrid were in total control thanks to Sergio Rodriguez who finished the first half on a 22 – 5 spurt, ensuring the score was 52 – 31 during the halfway mark. Nikola Mirotic scored 15 of his total 19 points in the first quarter alone, Rudy Fernandez tallied 16 points during the game, while Felipe Reyes bagged himself 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Group C saw Stelmet Zielona Gora making history by securing its first ever victory in the Euroleague by beating Montepaschi Siena 73 – 65. Led by Lukasz Koszarek and Vladimir Dragicevic, Zielona Gora stayed in contention before Przemyslaw Zamojski secured the win with 7 points in the final half minute.

Oct
0

Bamberg & Galatasaray record stylish victories on Euroleague’s opening day

The Turkish Airlines Euroleague season got underway on Wednesay with Brose Baskets Bamberg and Galatasaray Liv Hospital getting off to a flying start. Bamberg defeated Strasbourg 84–70 in what was a comprehensive victory in the Brose Arina while Galatasaray saw off Montepaschi Siena 75–84 in the Nelson Mandela Arena.

Bamberg didn’t have the best of starts, trailing 16 – 21 after the first quarter, but when Jamar Smith came off the bench, the flow of the game changed. Making his Euroleague debut, Smith scored 11 points for the German champs, consisting of two jumpers, a three-pointer and a driving layup to bring Bamberg to within 25-26. Overall, he scored 19 points during his 14 minutes on the court, an impressive scoring rate.

Also helping out in the game was Anton Gavel who added 16 points and 6 assists, Sharrod Ford scored 11 while Maik Zirbes got 10. After Smith brought the side back into contention, it was Ford and Rakim Sanders that pushed them ahead 35 – 28. The final six minutes saw Bamberg finish the second quarter with a 19 – 1 run, bringing them into half time with a 43 – 29 scoreline.

However, Strasbourg wasn’t going to go down without a fight and always tried to catch up with Bamberg. Despite a forgettable third quarter where it trailed 66 – 45, Antoine Diot and Alexis Ajinca, who was Strasbourg’s top scorer with 19 points, brought the deficit down to 69 – 56. Yet it was Bamberg’s night as additional scores from Smith and Ford saw them lead 80 – 66 with two minutes left. Romain Duport reduced the lead to 12 but it wasn’t enough to worry Bamberg who ended the game comfortably.
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Oct
0

Round-up: Nanterre perfect, Siena can shoot, Neptunas fall in OT

Reigning champions Nanterre maintained their perfect start in France. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena showed they won’t lose many games for lack of shooting and in the VTB United League it was a heartbreaking debut for Lithuania’s Neptunas.

They were the Cinderella story of European Basketball last year but JSF Nanterre has begun the 2013-14 LNB season like seasoned champions. Having won the title as 8th seeds in the playoffs last year, Nanterre now hold a 3-0 record in domestic action on the back of an impressive 85-58 home win over Olympique Antibes. Xavier Corosine led the Euroleague newcomers in scoring with 18 points. Elsewhere in France, Vincent Collet’s Strasbourg topped Elan Chalon 78-68 on the back of 16 points and 8 boards from Alexis Ajinca.

Last year Montepaschi showed there was life after Bo McCalebb. This season they seem intent on proving they can keep on scoring after losing Bobby Brown. The reigning LegaBasket champions had five players in double digits as they rolled to a 97-82 win over Cremona. Spencer Nelson had 12 points and 15 rebounds for Siena while Karl English led all scorers with 22. Milan will have plenty to worry about due to the manner of their 88-80 loss at Brindisi. Milan were wholly dependent on Keith Langford (29 points, 7 rebounds) and David Moss (19 points, 7 rebounds) on offence as a more balanced Brindisi side took the win.

Game Tape focussed on the VTB United League yesterday where CSKA Moscow got off to a winning start with an 80-63 win over VEF Riga. Neptunas, the new arrivals in the league, came close to taking a win in their first outing. The Lithuanian side eventually succumbed to Avomash Mariupol of Kazakhtan in overtime, going down 96-86. Lietuvos Rytas fared better in their opener with a 70-66 win at Novgorod.

Oct
5

Round-up: Siena take Supercoppa, fight in Lithuania, Nanterre and Strasbourg squeeze out wins

Four Euroleague teams returned to domestic action on Tuesday night. In Italy, Montepaschi Siena took the Supercoppa, while there were league wins for JSF Nanterre and Strasbourg IG in France. Lietuvos Rytas also won in the LKL but their victory at Juventus was marred by a brawl.

After a one and done display in the Euroleague qualifiers, Cimberio Varese looked to get one over on Italian kingpins Montepaschi Siena in the Supercoppa on Tuesday night. The EuroCup outfit managed to hold a one point lead at the break. Aubrey Coleman, 23 points and 7 rebounds, and Achille Polonara, 17 points and 7 rebounds, did the heavy lifting for Varese but they lacked the strength in depth to stay in the contest down the stretch.  Siena bust them open with a big final quarter. That 29-19 final frame turned a competitive clash into a comfortable 81-66 victory for the Italian champions. Joshua Coleman led Siena in scoring with 18 points and picked up 4 boards while Daniel Hackett had 14 points and 6 rebounds.

There was no drama on the scoreboard, although plenty on the floor, as Lietuvos Rytas blew out Juventus in the LKL. Fresh off their success in the Euroleague qualifiers, the Vilnius club stormed to a 15 point lead by the end of the first quarter and the gap had grown to 47-27 by half-time. Dirk Bauermann’s side eventually secured a 92-67 road win but not before this went down…

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Jul
3

Back to the NBA? Bobby Brown works out with Knicks

Wishes of good luck go out to Bobby Brown today, but BallinEurope must say the electrifying point guard would be missed in Euroleague 2013-14 should his current plan be successful.

Yahoo Sports reports this morning that the PG, with Montepaschi Siena last season, was given a workout session with the New York Knicks yesterday; the team is reportedly interested in a third point guard to be slotted on the depth chart behind Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Marc Stein of ESPN reported two weeks ago that the Knicks were among three teams possibly interested in Brown, with the others listed as the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers.

In scoring 18.8 points in 24 Euroleague games, Brown won the EL’s Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy; in acknowledging his award-winning season, the big league noted that “He scored in double figures in 22 of his team’s 24 Euroleague games, reached the 20-point mark on 10 occasions and got to 30 points twice. As a crowning moment, Brown tied the Euroleague’s single-game scoring mark for the century with 41 points in a come-from-behind 92-98 victory over Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul early in the Top 16 round.” Brown also dished out 5.3 assists per game.

In Italy in 2012-13, Brown helped lead Siena to another Serie A title with averages of 17.3 points and 3.5 assists per over 49 total games.

In a European career starting in 2007, Brown has had stints with Alba Berlin, Asseco Prokom, Aris Thessaloniki and EWE Baskets Oldenburg before coming to Siena. He last played in North America in 2010 with the Clippers.

Can’t wait to see how he gets on with Metta World Peace, eh…?

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Jun
4

Thrilla in Siena: Montepaschi-Cimberio Varese Serie A semifinal game four

Game of the week last week? How about last night’s game four of the Montepaschi Siena-Cimberio Varese semifinals series in Italy’s Serie A? National powerhouse and this tournament’s no. 5 seed Siena found themselves nearly on the ropes at 10 minutes to play before slowly coming back with a 24-13 run. With 60 seconds left, it was the visiting no. 1 seed from Varese up, 75-74.

As you’d imagine, Bobby Brown and quarterfinals hero Daniel Hackett played key parts for the defending champs down the stretch … though perhaps not *quite* in the way you’d imagine.

Courtesy Basket Inside – and kudos to them for posting – here’s that how that final 60 seconds of game clock played out.

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May
1

Steals, slams and rejections: Top 10 plays of the 2012-13 Euroleague season

Okay, below runs the highlight clip European basketball fans traditionally look for this time of year – namely, the Top 10 Plays of the past Euroleague season. And while BallinEurope just as traditionally questions the pecking order of these things, BiE’ll have to admit the big ‘league pretty much nailed it this year right up to no. 1.

Said top play comes from the Olympiacos-Real Madrid final and justifies (BiE believes) this media partner’s vote for EL Final Four MVP in and of itself. As BiE always says, when an audible collective gasp swamps the press section, you know you’ve got a moment for the ages…

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May
4

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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Apr
12

Euroleague MVP, All-Euroleague first team: The BallinEurope ballot

BallinEurope tries to take the responsibilities of Euroleague media partnership seriously and so spent way too much time deliberating over the vote for this season’s all-Euroeleague team/MVP awards. Having been given through last Friday – and after the result of the Olympiacos-Anadolu Efes game was in – to fill out the ballot, let’s just say BiE stayed up late determining just the right order for submission. One can’t take this stuff too seriously, can one?

Of course, every year, the thoughtful media member must first define “Most Valuable Player” Should this title be taken to mean simply the best player within the given association for the given year? Or perhaps the value of Player X to his *team*, i.e. consideration of how much worse X’s squad would have been without him, is most important – though this contention relies on speculation rather than the fact of accumulated stats.

Questions upon questions: What about the defensive contributions which elude statistical measure? Or those intangibles of leadership that a cagey veteran like Vassilis Spanoulis (or Sarunas Jasikevicius, for seven-minute bursts, for that matter) adds to a successful side? And on this note – How much emphasis and importance should be placed on participation with a winning team? The All-Euroleague first team these days has tended to include five players from Top Four teams, rewarding winning with an individual nod. But wasn’t someone having enough of a banner year to get a Montepaschi Siena or Caja Laboral Baskonia much further into the EL season than expected?

You see the can of worms BiE had opened; it’s like this every year.

Regardless, BiE’s ballot is in and after a subsequent weekend of watching more hoops, an examination of the thinking process. The Euroleague ballot is set in the now-fairly standard format: Media partners may vote for five players, with five points awarded to each voter’s no. 1 choice, four to the no. 2, three to the no. 3, etc. Once again, the ‘League is allowing free voting: Any five players regardless of position may be chosen. (At least that part was easy…)

So here’s how BiE’s ballot looked. Continue Reading…