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Former Galatasaray baller Jamont Gordon talks about the road to recovery +++ FIBA Europe Under 20 final highlights and top plays +++ VIDEO: Ettore Messina’s coaching philosophy +++ The 24 must-see regular season games in 2014/15 Euroleague +++ Until it matters, it won’t matter +++ Watch all 40 of Angela Salvadores points against USA +++ LeBron, another sign that David Blatt just keeps on winning +++ Better know a Euro – Alessandro Gentile +++ Better know a Euro – Ioannis Papapetrou +++ Better know a Euro – Nemanja Dangubic +++
Oct
0

Euroleague thrillers see wins for Lietuvos Rytas and Lokomotiv Kuban



There was high drama in Group D on Thursday night while Anadolu Efes continued a fine start for the Turkish contingent in Euroleague.

A dramatic finish saw Lietuvos Rytas scrape past Panathinaikos 84 – 83 thanks to Renaldas Seibutis sinking a jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining in overtime in the Eurolague Game of the Week. Neither side had more than a 6 point advantage throughout the game, meaning it was all drama from start to finish.

It took a three-pointer 18.8 seconds from the end from Panathinaikos’ Dimitris Diamantidis to sent the game into overtime, but it was Seibutis who was the star of the show, hitting two almost identical jump shots from 5 meters in the final 90 seconds of the extra session. He finished the game with 19 points while his teammate Darius Songaila collected 13 points and 8 rebounds.
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Oct
0

Strange sounds as Olympiacos top Panathinaikos

Tuesday’s Greek A1 League opening round game between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos was also going to be strange. Two of the biggest sides in Europe weren’t just playing early in the season, they were doing so in an empty house due to past crowd trouble. The derby of eternal enemies may not have had any fans in attendance but the SEF still had ample noise due to the PA. Watch the highlights and you’ll hear what I mean.

In a way it makes sense. The players are used to the PA blaring out their names whenever they score and music playing at the usual points in action. It just seems like the PA is talking to nobody, due to the whole empty arena. Normally the various tunes and rowdy calls from the announcer are done so with the fans in mind but with none there, he roared away anyway. Olympiacos won 55-45.

Sep
0

Olympiacos and Panathinaikos to meet behind closed doors in first round of A1 League

Euroleague champions Olympiacos will meet Greek champions Panathinaikos in the first round of the Greek League.

It’s going to be quiet in the SEF when the two biggest rivals in Greece square off in week 1.

The game will be played on 12 October before an empty house. Olympiacos is carrying a penalty that is forcing them to open the 2013/14 season by playing games behind closed doors following crowd trouble last season. In Game 3 of the Greek League Finals last season the match was abandoned with 1.27 left and eventually awarded to Panathinaikos 20-0. This gave the Greens a 3-0 sweep of the series. The return game in the OAKA will be played on 18 January.

Here’s the full list of fixtures for Round 1 of the 2013/14 Greek League:
KAOD vs Aris
Aries Trikala vs AE Nea Kifisia
Panelefsiniakos vs Panionios
Olympiacos vs Panathinaikos
Apollon Patras vs Ilisiakos
Rethymno Aegean vs Ikaros Chalkidas
PAOK vs Kolossos Rodou

Jul
0

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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Jun
9

On Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Giannakopoulos and the Greek League mess

The history books will forever record Panathinaikos as having won game three of the 2012-13 Greek League championship series over Olympiacos by a score of 76-72 to complete a three-game sweep. The reality, as is sadly so often the case in Greens-Reds match, was more complicated.

With just under a minute and a half remaining, an Olympiacos turnover gave Panathinaikos the ball. At this point, Reds fans unleashed their fury on the Greens’ bench for a scene well-known to those familiar with Greek basketball.

Game three therefore ended with refs calling the match with 87 seconds remaining; a request from the officials to clear the building went unheeded.

While some Olympiacos players admitted in defeat that “We did not play good basketball” (18-of-79 three-point shooting in the three games is one statistic fortifying that opinion) or that perhaps they’d been mentally/physically/emotionally exhausted by the Euroleague Final Four victories, but one cannot deny the assessment that “anything can happen in 87 seconds,” particularly when the side down by four points have proven to be Europe’s comeback kids these past two seasons.

The Red Planet report portrays a team “disrespected” by Greek League referees and, by extension, by league officials. Again, hard to deny, considering reports that Reds players were subject to the Wada Test some 15 times since last year’s playoffs – and with not a single positive result.

Said Kostas Papanikolaou in the post-game presser, as reported by Eurohoops: …we are deeply hurt by the rumors [...] that doping had to do with our Euroleague win. This is something that we didn’t deserve and it affected us.” Olympiacos coach Georgios Bartzokas bitterly stated that “A journalist, who is a joke, started a rumor and the Greek state changes its anti-doping policy. That says a lot about Greece. Nobody around Europe mentioned anything like that about us…”

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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
2

Considering BallinEurope’s (imaginary) ballot for Euroleague Coach of the Year

BallinEurope doesn’t actually get to vote for Euroleague Coach of the Year, but we can still pretend. And in BiE’s opinion, the question of who should get the honor comes down to three, interestingly enough each in his first season with his current club.

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Apr
0

Podcast: Talking 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, NBA flopping with SI’s Ben Golliver; Euroleague quarterfinals analysis; reviewing They Live

Episode #30 of the BallinEurope/heinnews weekly podcast Taking The Charge is now available online and on iTunes.

David Hein and BiE are joined this week by Ben Golliver of SI.com and Blazers Edge; based in Portland, Ben was lucky enough to have attending the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit live and so much time is spent discussing prospects and performance of Livio Jean-Charles, Andrew Wiggins, Dennis Schroder and the rest of the top-quality youth players from that game. (The match in its entirety is still available on YouTube and is embedded directly below.)

Golliver also shares some thoughts on the NBA’s first seasons with “flopping” rules in the books; it seems the man has become something of the expert on the move over there at SI.com, ultimately culminating in the wonderful Floppies awards ranking the 10 most ridiculous dives of the season over there.

Also on our collective mind of course are this week’s Euroleague quarterfinal games five; while Semih Erden and Jamon Lucas were heroic in two Anadolu Efes wins, can the Turkish side continue to neutralize Vassilis Spanoulis’ playmaking ability? And can FC Barcelona produce enough points (like, more than 70) to top the masterful Panathinaikos half-court D?

Finally, our tenuously-related sports movie review of the week focuses on the 1988 cult classic They Live starring professional wrestling all-time great Roddy Piper – one of the great flicks about the Reagan era 80s in America, except with great throwaway lines and comic-book hilarity.

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.

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Apr
89

Euroleague Bracketology: According to Twitter, the 2013 Euroleague champion will be…

Twitter-Bird-BasketballNow that BallinEurope has posted this website’s Official Euroleague Bracket as well as the only truly unassailable set of predictions, BiE takes stock of a little EL Bracketology from good ol’ Twitter. What sort of conclusions may be drawn from a sample size of 30 tweets (well, 29 plus Sannti’s) hashtagged with #ELbracket? Well…

The clear popular favorites within the sample to win their quarterfinals series are CSKA Moscow (with 93% of tweets liking the Red Army), FC Barcelona and Olympiacos (each with 77% of the “vote”). Surely to no one’s surprise, fandom was divided on the Real Madrid-Maccabi matchup, with Los Blancos liked 19-11 among our group.

Of the 16 possible finals matchups, seven combinations were covered. Again unsurprising was the fact that no one was gutsy enough to gamble on Anadolu Efes Pilsen getting so far, but two brackets with Caja Laboral Baskonia hoisting the trophy were found – and after the way these guys have squeaked in to advance twice this season, who can truly scoff? A final outcome of CSKA defeating Barca was chosen by nearly 33% of those who picked a tournament winner, and 60% predicted CSKA for 2013 Euroleague champions.

And some of BallinEurope’s favorite brackets were…

● In the category of “Best Presentation of a Euroleague Bracket” which BiE just made up, the winner is JovicaTasevski. Future bracketcrafters, this is your standard.

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Apr
11

Michael Bramos on Greek Cup incident: “If it happens, it happens…”

(Michael Bramos image courtesy Panathinaikos)You’d think that the, um, enthusiasm at times of Greek basketball fans – you know, stuff like this. And this. And this. And … you get the idea – would be daunting for players otherwise pretty much unaccustomed to such behavior. And if the prospect of flares hurtling down like rain isn’t scary enough, you’d figure actually being knifed might turn a player off entirely to basketball in Greece.

Michael Bramos, however, ain’t going nowhere.

In February, Bramos was playing in his first Greek Cup final, another clash between the country’s Red and Green superpowers. That game, as is all too infrequently the case in Panathinaikos-Olympiacos, was marred by violence which delayed the game for an hour. In the midst of the chaos, Bramos was hit by a thrown jackknife.

So when interviewed by David Hein for the latest “Taking the Charge” podcast, what did Bramos have to say about the incident and Greek fandom in general? “If it happens, it happens … and that’s just the way Greece is.” (For more insight from Bramos, click on the previous link to hear the full interview.)

Prospective import players to Greece, this is your model: Just concentrate on the game and shrug off those knife attacks. It is what it is.

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