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BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++
Apr
0

The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri

Barca sweep
It’s been a long and busy week in Basketball for Europe’s top teams and players and tonight we could see even more drama. Let’s get you set for another wild week of playoff action in Euroleague and the NBA.

As fearlessly predicted by BiE Barcelona got the brooms out against Galatasaray. While the Istanbul club was always expected to fall in this series, they put up a brave fight to make Barca earn the sweep on Monday before falling 78-75. This makes it five final fours in six years for Barcelona, with the one they missed out on notably having taken place in their backyard.

A reverse sweep is the only way Olympiacos will prevent there being a Clasico at the semi-final stage. Trailing 2-0 to Real Madrid, the back-to-back reigning champions need something big at the SEF later today. This column has predicted Real getting the job done in four games but for the Reds to force a Game 4, they must prove the bookies wrong as Olympiacos are -1.5 underdogs on their own floor.

Before getting to the basketball issues with the next game, a quick point. Don’t do proposals at games.

Nope, not buying it CSKA. You can’t fool me. Sure, I know you’ve got a better team than Panathinaikos but I’m not going to let an impressive Game 2 win over the Greens make me think you can finish this off in Athens. It just wouldn’t seem right for CSKA to take care of this in a comfortable fashion. Yes, the Greens have all sorts of issues but tonight’s Game 3 screams of CSKA gonna CSKA. I’m locking this one down for a Game 4 at the very minimum.


In a shock to pretty much no-one, EA7 Milano and Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv have the makings of the best series in the playoffs. After a dramatic overtime win for Maccabi in Game 1, Milano came back to win 91-77 in Game 2. Home court still favours the Israelis but it would be a brave observer who calls this series ending before Game 5. Admittedly BiE did just that, now we’re frantically reconsidering.

Before jumping across the pond, the ABA Liga has announced its team of the year. DeMarcus Nelson (Crvena Zvezda), Bogdan Bogdanoivc (Partizan), Dario Saric (Cibona), Joffrey Lauvergne (Partizan), and Boban Marjanovic (Crvena Zvezda) received team of the year honours. This week also sees the culmination of the ABA Liga with the Final Four in Belgrade. Crvena Zvezda takes on Cibona in the first semi-final on Thursday while Cedevita play Partizan in the second semi on Friday. The winners will meet in Sunday’s final.

And now to jump across the pond…
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May
2

Serge Ibaka will even block your access

Tweet of the day? That’s an easy one. Wrote Twitterer Keaton Eberly, “Dang, he blocks everything.

Who’s “he”? Team Spain/Oklahoma City Thunder force in the middle Serge Ibaka, of course. I mean, look at what the Iblaka did to the image Eberly posted with Instagram – and this after amassing 20 in five games against the Los Angeles Lakers…

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May
May
9

Danilo Gallinari: Steve Kerr “hasn’t played basketball for too long”

Did Danilo Gallinari really flop in the final minute of his Denver Nuggets’ recent loss to the Lakers while Ramon Sessions hit a key three? Or did Pau Gasol foul Gallinari on the pick? If the latter is true, why was there no call? After words to the American media to the effect of “It was a tough pick. You’ve got to expect that in the playoffs … I’ve got to be ready and play defense,” he words were a bit choicer in Italian. Enrico Cellini tells BallinEurope about The Rooster speaking out on the Lakers, the referees and especially Steve Kerr.

After accused of flopping in the key moments of game four in the NBA playoff series between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, Danilo Gallinari stood up and provided his own j’accuse.

Said Gallinari, in the print version of Italy-based Gazzetta dello Sport: “[The referees] would certainly have called that type of pick on our big guys. It was a crystal clear foul but, as everybody knows, they call fewer fouls for you when you play against the Lakers.”

Gallinari went on to address TNT commentator Steve Kerr, who argued on-air that the play was a Euro-style flop, with “I guess Kerr hasn’t played basketball for too long.”

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May
0

Jack Dawson loves Rose (Derrick Rose, that is) in “mashup Titanic hilarant”

Rose: "It's not up to you to save me, Jack."

In the early 1900s, a disaster for thousands of unsuspecting voyagers to America and the trans-Atlantic travel industry in general; roughly one hundred years later, a disaster for millions of Chicago Bulls fans and (by the looks of Tuesday’s chumping at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers) the team’s 2012 playoff hopes in general … through the magic of YouTube mashing-up do the Titanic and the Derrick Rose-less Bulls meet!

As ‘Tuber TheSuperAngelBlue explains, “Le basketteur Derrick Rose, des Chicago Bulls s’est payé un sacré gadin la semaine dernière. L’occasion pour les internautes d’enfoncer un peu le clou avec ce mashup Titanic hilarant.

Can Jack Dawson save Derrick Rose Dewitt Bukater? Will their hearts go on? And once more: How brilliant is YouTube, anyway?

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May
0

Pau Gasol: “A bit distracted,” “A bit exhausted” in Lakers-Mavs series

For the Spanish-language ‘site Marca.com, Los Angeles-based sportswriter Jesús Sánchez recently got some quality face time with Pau Gasol – enough to fill three columns’ worth of stories.

The key news for those looking ahead to the summer, a group that certainly includes Lakers fans and those cynical about the possibility of the NBA actually playing in 2011-12, is that Pau hasn’t quite announced that he will indeed play for Team Spain in the Eurobasket 2011 tournament; he is, however, expected to announce an affirmative decision upon returning to Spain sometime in June. Earlier in the week, Gasol met with national team coach Sergio Scariolo on the subject.

Of course, for those currently devoted to the NBA playoffs, just one thing regarding Pau is on the mind, i.e. “What the hell happened against the Dallas Mavericks?” Translated excerpts from Sánchez’ interview, in which Gasol talks muchly about his Lakers and a tad about an NBA lockout (Hint: Barcelona backers may prepare for giddiness now) follow.

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May
6

Statement of humility: Yes, Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest

In light of the Dallas Mavericks’ utter immolation of BiE’s beloved Los Angeles Lakers and a certain German big man’s most excellent play in the four-game sweep, BallinEurope hereby wishes to retract any doubts or negativity toward Dirk Nowitzki contained within this article published some time ago.

Humbly does BiE today admit that, championship banner or no – and wow, could the Mavs really face off against Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat in the NBA Championship again? Weird. – kilo for kilo and all things considered, Nowitzki’s NBA career represents the finest ever put together by a European player, period. As an apology to the man, readers may enjoy the league-produced highlight clip of Dirk’s top 10 plays this season below the break.

(And no, BiE doesn’t want to talk about Pau Whatsisname. Now if you’ll excuse me, i’ve got some slamming of the head to perform upon the nearest wall.)

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Apr
5

Video clips: Unics Kazan wins, Real Madrid loses, and YouTube shows how not to dunk

While much of the basketball-loving world was distracted by the squall of opening-round NBA playoff games, the roundball game nevertheless played on in leagues throughout Europe and beyond. Of course, this lead-in mainly serves as an excuse to justify running the below handful of highlights, links and pithy bon mots to (help you waste some time on Monday morning) get your week started correctly (and by “correctly,” BiE means in part ignoring that 109-100 win by the New Orleans Hornets).

• First up, congratulations from BallinEurope go out to Unics Kazan, who became the first unlicensed team to officially join the 2011-12 Euroleague ranks with a decisive 92-77 victory over Cajasol Sevilla in the ULEB Eurocup championship match. Maciej Lampe contributed a huge effort with 26 points and 11 rebounds, while Kelly McCarty went for 18 and Terrell Lyday put in 15. But it was Marko Popović who was named MVP for dishing out a Eurocup championship record 11 assists to go with his 18 points.

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Apr
4

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs: The Eurocentric View

With the NBA playoffs starting today, BallinEurope takes another brief look at the matchups drawing our attention for the next 137 months or so. Unlike the Western Conference half of the bracket, Eastern teams are disappointingly low on European players stocking their rosters. No matter: We’ve still got the FIBA Bulls and the Big Z to pull for on this side – and BiE’s got musings, meanderings, YouTube clips and those Fearless Predictions™. Today: the Western Conference matchups.

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks
After years of an all-American lineup, the Celtics started the season with one European and (somewhat inexplicably) ended up with two, thanks to the Kendrick Perkins trade – but Sasha Pavlovic and Nenad Krstic will surely be non-factors in this series.

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Apr
7

NBA Western Conference Playoffs: The Eurocentric view

Rumor has it that across the ocean, this basketball league called the NBA is about to begin its playoffs. With the 2010-11 regular season behind us, BallinEurope takes a present-and-future look at the playoff-bound Europeans in the American league series by series, together with musings, meanderings, YouTube clips and those Fearless Predictions™. Today: the Western Conference matchups.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets
Could it be that someone in the Oklahoma City front office just lost faith in Nenad Krstic? The Serbian was dealt in a second when Kendrick Perkins arrived; now the Thunder has the huge presences of Perkins – now armed with reputation as clutch playoff performer – and Serge Ibaka plus Tibor Pleiß waiting in the wings. Meanwhile, BiE anticipates the possibility of another throwdown between Krstic and Sofoklis Schortsanitis in Eurobasket…

The real European plus for OK City in 2010-11 was Thabo Sefolosha. Averaging between 20 and 30 minutes per game depending on roster health, the pride of Switzerland enters the playoffs shooting 58.3% for April – could Sefolosha be the Goran Dragic of this year’s tournament?

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