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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 +++
Jul
0

Blaugrana maneuvers: Lubos Barton out, Pete Mickael in contract dispute

What seemed inevitable is nearly official, as FC Barcelona gets set to release Lubos Barton. Between the signing of Kosta Perovic earlier in the week and Barton’s troubling Achilles tendon injury suffered late in 2008-09 combined to make Barton redundant for the Blaugrana.

Even with the departure of Barton, Barcelona is currently carrying 13 players on its roster. Expiring contracts include those of Fran Vázquez, Roger Grimau and Gianluca Basile, plus an option on Terence Morris.

The club is also involved in something of a dispute with 2009 signing Pete Mickael.

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May
0

How it feels: The Euroleague quote of the year

What does it mean to win a championship? BallinEurope will let Pete Mickael explain it, as he did so eloquently. When asked “How does it feel?” the defensive master stated simply:

“I feel complete. For the first time in my life, I feel complete.”

And that, my friends, will be the capper on BallinEurope’s 2009-10 Euroleague season. Au revoir for now from Paris, France.

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May
1

Barcelona takes Euroleague title, 86-68

It’s official: FC Barcelona is the no. 1 team in Euroleague 2009-10. Powered by Final Four MVP Juan Carlos Navarro’s 21 points and playing ranking of 23 plus some swell defense again from Pete Mickael (who got BallinEurope’s vote for Final Four MVP), Barcelona controlled the game throughout and Olympiacos was unable to ever close the gap to fewer than five points after the first quarter.

Congratulations go out to the Blaugrana for an excellent Euroleague season and here’s to wishing one of Europe’s finest teams of the past two decades continued success in Spain.

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May
0

“We are here to work”: Opening up the post-Euroleague semifinal quotebook

Happy birthday wishes today to Theo Papaloukas!

Since last night’s games ended, it’s been a blur of press conferences and meetings for us here in the press section at the Euroleague Final Four … so here’s another round of wit ‘n’ wisdom from the men guiding and playing the games.

On winning
“Yesterday, we played beyond our limits. My players gave everything. We need the rest.” – Olympiacos coach Panagiotis Giannakis

“I think I owe Josh [Childress] my life for saving me. I tried to win the game, but I saw the shot was going to the left and I didn’t know what to think, but all of a sudden Josh came from out of nowhere and dunked it. Luck always has something to do with the game and today luck was on our side.” – Theo Papaloukas

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May
0

Must-see YouTubes: Highlights from the Euroleague Final Four semifinals

Childress was king; no joshing

While BallinEurope attempts to awaken after one intense basketball evening, we present a compedium of clips from the games last night. Those of us on press row last evening, as the Olympiacos-Partizan game went into overtime were of a single-minded opinion. To wit: “Those folks in the ‘States don’t know what they’re missing.” In that spirit, here’s some of what you missed.

First up, the CSKA Moscow-FC Barcelona game. Though Pete Mickael’s outstanding defense and the early neutralization of Viktor Khyrapa were really the keys to the game, this clip offers instead a nice mix of plays on both sides of the ball – how would you show a guy drawing fouls on a YouTube video, anyway?

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May
1

Fifteen minutes with CSKA Moscow and FC Barcelona

Ah, open interview day! BiE just got back from the open 15 minutes granted media by the Euroleague with the players of each team. The boys from FC Barcelona and CSKA Moscow – particularly the outstanding Pops Mensah-Bonsu; more on this momentarily – generously gave of some time after practice to take questions from eager media members ranging from Eurosport television to … well, to BallinEurope.

Spanish-language media was well represented at the event – hey, why not? Espana’s dominating every other aspect of European basketball this summer – and perhaps due to this (plus a lotta hype), the topic of conversation no matter who was at the mic ultimately always turned to Ricky Rubio. Ricky himself managed to show up to the practice floor just in time to exchange helloes with Pops before getting down to the business of basketball.

A typical exchange featured Ramunas Siskauskas and went something like the following.

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May
3

Euroleague Final Four head-to-head matchups: CSKA Moscow vs. FC Barcelona

With the Euroleague Final Four mere days away, the giddiness increases at the prospect of figuring that, yes, without hyperbole, basketball fans could well be getting a complete slate of four classic games. While FC Barcelona and Olympiacos are the heavy favorites (and, ahem, BallinEurope.com’s teams predicted to make the finals at the beginning of the 2009-10 Euroleague season), the prospective top dogs will have no easy way with it.

Case in point: Barcelona. While the Blaugrana continue to look unstoppable, coming off the decisive best-of-five Euroleague series win over Real Madrid and a historic 73-54 blowout perpetrated at Murcia in ACB play, CSKA Moscow is precisely the team they don’t want to face: The Red Army certainly has the potential to give the Barça frontcourt fits, in particular.

BiE’s informal area-by-area briefing on the first Euroleague Final Four game – together with patented BallinEurope Fearless Prediction, naturally – goes something like this.

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Apr
0

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Barcelona vs. Unicaja (in English)

On Saturday, perhaps the marquee matchup on the ACB slate – if for historical significance only – will be the FC Barcelona vs. Unicaja match. The league’s official website has quite the extensive collection of facts ‘n’ figures about this match and the 15-year record of meetings between these two clubs, of which BallinEurope attempted to extract the most useful bits.

The vital stats
The game tips off in Barcelona (you can watch it live online at ACB 360). Barça attempts to continue its home-winning streak, now at 28 games. Unicaja is riding a three-game win streak in the ACB, its second such this season.

Jimenez and Navarro: Team Spain’s last two captains face off
Carlos Jimenez passed Spain’s national team captaincy baton to former Memphis Grizzlies/current Blaugrana player Juan Carlos Navarro this past summer. With Navarro at the head, Spain took the 2009 Eurobasket title. Of course, under Jimenez, the Spainards took gold in Japan at the FIBA World Championship in 2006.

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Apr
8

Source: Messina sighted in Bologna; Sanikidze coming to Madrid?

Me? On Real Madrid? Really?

BallinEurope is the recipient of a nice bit of hot gossip this morning, for which we’d like to thank our anonymous-by-request source.

The source tipped BiE off to a sighting of Ettore Messina in Bologna. According to the source, Messina “wasn’t carrying any shopping bag … just a mobile phone.”

So perhaps Messina (last seen disconsolately shaking his head on the sidelines as FC Barcelona took apart his Real Madrid squad for the seventh time this season) hadn’t yet purchased anything at Bologna’s boutiques…

…or perhaps, suggests the source, the coach could have been there to discuss Georgian big man Viktor Sanikidze as a possible antidote to Pete Mickael and Barça’s inside game…?

BiE supposes we’ll have to wait and see whether Messina’s not-so-social visit bears any fruit on-court or whether the Whites have other options to explore.

Incidentally, whatever happened to that Qyntel Woods thing, anyway?

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Apr
0

¡Barcelona vs. Madrid today! ¡Rubio! ¡Llull! ¡Navarro! ¡Pete Mickael! ¡Ante Tomic! ¡ACB playoff positioning at stake! ¡Messina’s nightmare continues!

“It’s like a nightmare, isn’t it? It just keeps getting worse and worse.” – Tom Cruise as Vincent Lauria, The Color of Money

“I’ll be back.” – Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger, any number of movies

Here they come again: For the eighth time this season, Real Madrid attempts to defeat the beast that is 2009-10 FC Barcelona: It’s a feat the Blaugrana have resisted all but once this season on their way to their current 47-4 aggregate record. And oh yes, it gets worse.

Thus far this season, Barcelona has managed to eliminate Spain’s second-best club from Euroleague play and top Madrid in the Copa del Rey final. This week, another Barça win would knock Real’s record down to 23-6; presuming Baskonia manages to defeat 16th-place Meridiano Alicante, they would knot up Madrid in second place with six games to play thereafter.

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