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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 +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++ Help Swee’ Pea make the big screen +++ The Dish: Can I play with Madness? +++ Just point out the bounce +++
Sep
5

EuroBasket: Spain rout Serbia 90-60 in quarter finals

Spain brutalised Serbia early as they romped to victory in the first quarter final of EuroBasket 2013.

Spain started hot and rarely let off in a rout of Serbia. Everyone knew the Spanish had speed but Serbia weren’t ready for how hard Spain would start the game. A 21-5 first quarter set the tone for the contest. Spain’s guards created opportunities at will as Serbia’s battered back-court struggled to keep up. Nemanja Nedovic bravely tried to compete but the injured Golden State Warrior couldn’t handle the constant pressure being brought by Spain’s offence. The rough start rattled Serbia early and their shot was off, further hampering their cause.

Spain didn’t let up in the second quarter despite Dusan Ivkovic’s best efforts to calm his young charges. Marc Gasol utterly dominated Nenad Krstic, a match-up he was expected to win but one in which the Serbian looked lost throughout. Serbia finally got a dash of success on the other end but with Rudy Fernandez raining threes for fun, it was a case of damage limitation. With Spain 22 points up as half-time neared, Pablo Aguilar put up a three on the buzzer and lead was 48-23.

When it’s going your way, it’s going your way. With 3.38 left in the third quarter Gasol heaved a full court pass to Sergio Llull for an easy lay-up, releasing the ball before he even knew where the Real Madrid man was, and the lead grew to 69-29. There wasn’t an aspect of play where Spain didn’t look in control. On the inside they battered Serbia. Their outside shooting was downright scary. Serbia’s Eagles looked like rabbits in the headlights. The question for Ivkovic was no longer what he needed to win this game. It was what he must do to get his young side refocused on the games ahead that will decided whether they play in the FIBA World Cup next year.

Serbia showed some fight in the final frame but in truth it was as much Spain easing off as the Serbs finally finding their confidence. The Spanish now await the winner of tonight’s second quarter final between the hosts Slovenia, who beat Spain in the first round, and France. The French are hungry for revenge after losing the 2011 final to Spain and then dropping a chippy Olympic quarter final to them last year. Whoever progresses, they will face a formidable opponent in Spain. After taking it easy at times in the early rounds, Spain look hungry for the three-peat.

Jun
2

Europeans in 2013 NBA Draft: Consensus, Best-Case Scenarios, Official Fearless Predictions™ on our Top 10

NBA Draft Day 2013 is upon us and while US-based media mostly grouses about the lack of high-quality players this time ‘round, European basketball fans have much to look forward to one year after a first round passed with no Continental player selected. In the 2013 edition, a dozen or so European ballers are reasonably in the running to hear their names called within the 60 picks – and several will go in the first.

BallinEurope today takes a look at our top 10 prospects for this NBA Draft and Officially Fearlessly Predicts the fates of each. From thousands of mock drafts floating about the blogosphere, BiE called on seven good sources in order to form something of a “consensus” opinion. (“Consensus” is in quotes there for this oddest of drafts in which even the no. 1 overall is a question mark – and any semblance of agreement is lost by no. 7 on this list…) In seeking wisdom from all corners great and small, the mix includes specialists NBAdraft.net and Draft Express; big media outlets Yahoo Sports and the USA Today’s “common sense” mock; and the Hoops Hype, Dime Magazine, Real GM and Prospects in Europe websites.

Let the speculation roll on and enjoy the show tonight (this morning CET)!

The BallinEurope top 10 includes the following…

Alex Len is the poster boy for the uncertainty principle overriding the 2013 NBA Draft as the conception of Nerlens Noel has gone from prohibitive no. 1 choice to possibly the second-biggest center available behind Len. The Ukrainian first garnered serious buzz on opening day in 2012, when he was able to torch Noel and his Kentucky Wildcats for 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks; unfortunately for Len (though maybe also fortunate, as Noel’s stock drops), ankle surgery preempted his pre-Draft workouts.

Consensus: A top six pick, most likely by the Cleveland Cavaliers at no. 1, the Charlotte Bobcats at no. 4 or the New Orleans Pelicans at no. 6. (This draft is awesome.)

Best case scenario: Is Len facing lose-lose situations with any of these three teams, each of which worked him out in the pre-Draft? If taken at no. 1, Len gets a fat contract with immediate high expectations and Bargnaniphobia as just the second-ever European chosen first. At no. 4, he goes to the Bobcats and, well, they’re the Bobcats; at no. 6 with the Pelicans, Len figures to get quality time but with a smaller paycheck. All things considered, BiE sides with the personal cash grab: Best for Len is to go to the Cavaliers … and help the city of Cleveland hold its breath in anticipation of Lebron James’ impending freedom in 2014.

Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™: Len to the Charlotte Bobcats – and gods have mercy on him…

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Apr
5

Block of the year? Nemanja Nedovic denies dunk, defies physics in Lithuania

Time may be running out all over European domestic leagues, but there’s well enough left for addition to the year’s best plays list – and this one certainly qualifies.

Check out Nemanja Nedovic destroying from behind a would-be dunk by Prienai’s Gediminas Orelikas in Lietuvos Rytas’ 75-67 LKL quarterfinal win last night. Note the strange physics involved as it is Nedovic who continues flying off the screen while Orelikas stays put in the key in dismay.

Nedovic added 20 points, four assists, four boards and two steals to this thunderous stat and must be considered an early nominee for Sportando European Team of the Week consideration…

Shout out to YouTube user M@nt@s for the post!

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Oct
61

Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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Sep
46

What’s wrong with team Serbia? Coach Duda’s confession

Those who tuned into David and Davis’ podcast over at heinnews this week and/or have been reading the rants posted on BallinEurope on Milos Teodosic’s play in the recent FIBA EuroBasket 2013 qualifiers know that BiE fears something is amiss in Serbia. BallinEurope’s contributing writer from over there, Marko Savkovic, today tells us that head coach Dušan Ivković attempted to address some of the issues dogging his Team Serbia yesterday. Did Duda succeed in his explanation? You be the judge…

Team Serbia walked a very thin line last Tuesday, narrowly escaping elimination from EuroBasket 2013. Three days later, its coach Dušan “Duda” Ivković faced the press.

Yes, Israel was beaten fairly convincingly on Tuesday evening. If it hadn’t been for a couple of late three-pointers from Guy Pnini, Omri Casspi’s strong 1-on-1 display and some staunch 4th quarter defense, Serbia would have won by a margin far greater than 19 points necessary to finish second in the group. Belgrade’s Pionir Arena welcomed home team’s rise from the state of complete disarray into which it had fallen in after its disgraceful loss to Estonia. Yet the smiles and cheers were those not so much confidence or gratitude, but of relief. Relief for a nation which – you have to compare – 10 years ago celebrated its last world championship.

On Friday, coach Duda spoke to the press.He accepted part of the blame for the team’s abysmal showing in the EuroBasket qualifiers, but also argued that “we [Serbia] are not a team going about to disgrace our nation.”

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Jun
1

The Serbian Finals: A fight to the bitter end

Tonight, Partizan will host Crvena Zvezda/Red Star Belgrade in game three of the Serbian finals. BallinEurope’s man in Serbia, Marko Savkovic, offers a parental advisory: This match will resemble a street fight at some point…

On Friday, Red Star finally succeeded in what seemed to be mission impossible only days ago: actually beating Partizan after suffering nine losses in a row to the Euroleague side. What we can expect is, first, more “rugby basketball,” as Partizan sport director Dragan Todoric likes to put it. With less class but more muscle, Red Star can turn this series completely around if only the team shows the same level of aggressiveness as witnessed in game two: Meaning they have to beat Partizan at their own brand of basketball, again.

Despite being crippled at the point guard position (Dominic James is out of competition due to a ruptured muscle), Partizan can still field enough talent to win this series. However, James’ absence will cause some changes to Partizan’s game plan.

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Jan
3

What every young player needs: Playing time

Even in these days of internationalism, certain constants remain in European basketball vis-à-vis player development. BallinEurope’s Marko Savkovic takes a brief look at the current situation in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, with particular reference to Partizan’s Danilo Andjusic and Nemanja Nedovic of Red Star Belgrade.

Ask any coach what a young player needs to develop, and he will answer: “playing time.” Readiness to open the floor to skinny teenagers in order to gradually turn them into match winners used to be one of defining features of ex-Yu ball. Coaches were not advised only by their instinct. The talent pool was wider and deeper. The league was more competitive. Local teams were built on youth systems and were proud of the talent in store. Due to restrictions, these teenagers were not sold abroad early, while guys with more experience were kept on the roster. What was the end result? When one team that was neither from Belgrade or Zagreb – namely, Jugoplastika Split – achieved its unforgettable threepeat.

Two decades later, things have changed dramatically. There are fewer players to choose from. Many youth systems have collapsed due to lack of funding. Yet, teams still must win in order to attract publicity and sponsorships. In doing this, defense is the key. Points are built on discipline, patience, positioning and calculated aggression: This in turn translates into fewer minutes for the youngsters who must learn fast and impress quickly or leave.

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Jul
0

Catching up with FIBA U17 Worlds, U20 European Championship

After getting caught up in a week’s worth of hitting the refresh button for news ‘n’ rumors about big-money men on both sides of the Atlantic jumping teams, BallinEurope today takes a brief look at a pair of FIBA youth basketball championships going on in Europe: the FIBA U17 World Championship and the FIBA U20 European Championship.

At the FIBA U17 World Championship tournament in Germany, Team USA and Team Poland have dominated the competition, each putting together a streak of seven consecutive wins and so fittingly will meet in today’s championship game.

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