Latest

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 +++ Swaggy P’s tribute to Os moving back to the USA +++
Jan
0

Highlight of the weekend: Spartak Vladivostok get surprise assist in match vs. Unics Kazan

A shout out to Sportando, which draws our attention this morning to what could very well be “The Assist of the Year.” From the yesterday’s Unics Kazan-Spartak Vladivostok PBL match, here’s Troy Gillenwater beating a zone defense by cleverly finding the open man – Gundars Vetra – who in turn feeds Aleksei Golyakhov for the jumper.

Oddly enough, neither the basket nor the assist were counted on the stat sheet; BiE wonders why…

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Dec
0

Here come the Men in Red and Blue!

Dear CSKA Moscow Studios,

BiE was happy to hear that the exciting new cinematic blockbuster from your studios has now entered the production phase. The choices for leads in the “Men in Red and Blue” (or “MiRB” – nice bit of online-centric marketing consciousness shown there, might BiE say) motion picture are intriguing, indeed. Sonny Weems and Viktor Khryapa definitely have that je ne sais quoi-level of star power; BiE likes the idea of Khryapa as an invincible Schwarzeneggeresque action-flick hero for years to come.

But BiE digresses. With MiRB in pre-production, BiE hereby offers his services as songwriter for the soundtrack. My CV is attached … nah, that’s a lie. There is no CV. Let’s say instead that Os Davis is just some guy with a strong willingness to wrap.

Below run the lyrics to the proposed theme song, “Men in Red and Blue.” Thank you. My people will be waiting to hear from your people.

Yours,

Os Davis

“Men in Red and Blue”
© BallinEurope.com, 2012

Here come the Men in Red
(Oooh, in the red and blue)
(Oooh, in the red and blue)
Here come the Men in Red (Red and Blue)
You’re certain to remember

Yeah, yeah, yeah
The good guys dress in red, remember that,
Just in case we ever meet head-to-head and make contact.
We call ourselves the M.I.B.R.
And what we got means we got to go far.
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Jul
51

Vlado Ilievski: FIBA partly to blame for FYR Macedonia defeat

How do you say “sour grapes” in Macedonian? In looking for reasons for his side’s loss to Team Dominican Republic in Olympic qualifiers, Vlado Ilievski sounded off on FIBA organization itself.

Teams from South America had more time for preparation,” Ilievski is quoted in FYR Macedonia-based Dnevnik. “They played in continental championships and were [in sync]. We had players whose seasons ended on June 15. I was injured and I was with the team for just 10 days. How can you prepare in such a short time? This is no excuse for losing, but at least we tried. We had a chance to become the first team from Macedonia to play in the Olympics and so we are disappointed. If we’d won, we would have had two more chances, but life goes on. Thanks to this generation [of players], the world knows about Macedonia…”

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Jun
1

The top 10 plays from the Russian PBL in 2011-12 (even some not by CSKA Moscow)

As chosen by online voting, here are the Russian PBL’s top 10 plays of 2011-12. In case you’re wondering, yes, CSKA Moscow is all over this thing with a couple of alley-oops involving Andrey Vorontsevich and a ridiculously effortless longer-than-halfcourt pass from Milos Teodosic to Andrei Kirilenko.

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May
4

Ramunas Siskauskas: The BallinEurope video tribute

On Monday, European basketball great Ramunas Šiškauskas announced his retirement from the game: A story that was noteworthy enough for even North Korean sports fans to be notified. In his official statement, Šiškauskas said that he’d “made my choice in the middle of the season. It was not connected with anything specific – I just feel I should stop. I can only be excited about my career” and that “I am glad I was able to quit as a significant player, playing for such a great team and organization as CSKA Moscow.”

At 33 years of age, Šiškauskas put together a 16-season career with BC Sakalai Vilnius, Lietuvos Rytas, Benetton Treviso, Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow plus seven years with Team Lithuania in FIBA and Olympic play – good for a gold and two bronzes.

And in that decade and a half, Šiškauskas amassed just under 1,500 points in seven Euroleague seasons on 49.8% shooting including 42.3% on threes. His back-to-back EL titles earned in 2007 and ’08 are among his many individual-career and team highlights … aw, hell. Let’s dispense with further formalities and get to the Ramunas Šiškauskas career tribute in traditional BallinEurope fashion, i.e. with lots of YouTube clips! We’ll miss ya, Ramunas…

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May
3

CSKA Moscow takes VTB United League title; first in history-making triple crown?

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to the 2011-12 VTB United League champions – to the surprise of few, CSKA Moscow.

The Red Army’s 74-62 victory over Unics Kazan in a rematch of last year’s final represents not only its second VTB championship in three seasons of the league’s existence, but the first title in a potentially history-making triple crown. CSKA are big favorites to take the Euroleague title (one sportsbook with typical lines had Moscow at 3/4 odds and second-best FC Barcelona at 13/5) and are *serious* favorites (would you believe odds of 1/28?) in the PBL finals against BC Khimki after going 17-1 in the 2011-12 regular season.

(A note to the hopeful: That one CSKA loss in PBL play this season? Yep, handed to them by Khimki back in December.)

In previous VTB championship-winning seasons, CSKA has managed to herd up an impressive lot of trophies: In 2008-09, the Russian league champs were nipped by Panathinaikos in the Euroleague finals and finished a disappointing third in the Russian Cup tournament after taking the VTB United League Promo Cup. In 2009-10, CSKA enjoyed three titles – a triple crown of sorts – in winning the Russian league and cups along with the VTB title; the Red Army finished third in the EL that year.

Also adding to his CV over the course of the VTB final four tournament was Andrei Kirilenko, who was named tourney MVP.

Official league writeup follows the highlights.

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Apr
1

Referee scandals in Russia lead to protest, in Italy to suspensions

Zdovc suspicious

A BallinEurope question has been reopened today, to the detriment of Russian professional basketball’s reputation. About two weeks ago, a PBL game which will likely determine the league’s upcoming playoff tournament saw an extremely high number of, let’s say, questionable calls.

According to Spain-based SoloBasket, these were certainly enough oddity for the losing side, Spartak St. Petersburg, to file an official protest in the wake of the 82-73 loss to Triumph Lyubertsy.

At that time, BiE wondered whether this was an “epic display of flopping, personal vendetta or match-fixing conspiracy.” Clearly head coach Jure Zdovc has at least personally eliminated the “flopping” option.

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Apr
10

Spartak St. Petersburg 82, Triumph Lubertsy 73: Epic display of flopping, personal vendetta or match-fixing conspiracy?

Criticizing the referees is the international pastime for fans of every sport as losses are bemoaned and shortcomings blamed on those unloved (and allegedly) myopic zebras. Nothing new here.

Cynicism and conspiracy theorizing are particularly rife in this part of formerly Soviet-influenced Europe, with anything up to and including Eurobasket losses. Again, nothing new here.

A PBL match of last Wednesday saw playoff-contending Spartak St. Petersburg lose at Triumph Lyubertsy, 82-73, in a crucial match involving a few other clubs. This immediately spawned at least one nicely edited clip of referee miscues from the game which may have cost Spartak the much-needed win. One more time, join in if you know it: Nothing new here.

But.

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Apr
0

BC Khimki Moscow region: In 15th anniversary year, on the verge of lucky three

In the leadup to the 2011-12 Eurocup Final Four tournament beginning on Saturday, Eurosport Turkey basketball commentator Uygar Karaca contributes a series of previews on the remaining quartet entitled “Four Teams, Four Stories” to BallinEurope.

Today, the final chapter of the series is devoted to BC Khimki Moscow region. With VTB United League and Russia Cup titles already in the club’s recent history, will they finally break through with a pan-European championship? Karaca seems to think so…

BC Khimki Moscow region is a relatively young club on the international basketball scene. However, they improved themselves quite rapidly: Coming from the same line of teams such as Avtador, Ural Great, UNICS and Lokomotiv Rostov which presented themselves as alternative powerhouses to CSKA Moscow, Khimki managed to earn a Russian Cup in 2008 and the VTB United League title in 2011. The missing trophy from the shelf is a pan-European prize. The team came close in 2006 against Joventut and in 2009 against Rytas with losses in the Eurocup finals both years. The hosts hope to be third-time lucky on their home court.

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Apr
1

Spartak St. Petersburg: The Hunger of Experienced Rookies

In the leadup to the 2011-12 Eurocup Final Four tournament beginning on Saturday, Eurosport Turkey basketball commentator Uygar Karaca contributes a series of previews on the remaining quartet entitled “Four Teams, Four Stories” to BallinEurope.

Today taking a look at one of the two remaining Russian sides, Karaca writes “Zenit St. Petersburg reached its zenith when they managed to grab the UEFA Cup. Now, president Igor Lypsky, former deputy manager of Gazprom, has the same ambition. Isn’t it time for their citizens to win a European competition in basketball?

Talking about Spartak St. Petersburg is talking about history. Founded in 1935, the club stands as the oldest among the Eurocup Final Four competitors. However, as this marks the first time that Spartak has reached this level of competition, I think we can call St Petersburg experienced Eurocup rookies.

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