This one goes out by request to BallinEurope’s Lithuanian agent Y. … with Team USA coming together to play the Dominican Republic today – with or without Chris Paul – BiE tries to answer the question “Who [if anyone] can beat Team USA?”
A few gauntlets have been thrown by the Americans already, the least of which is certainly not the roster itself. That roster, one more time, is the following.
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks) Continue Reading…
The list includes: Jose Calderon (Toronto Raptors); Juan Carlos Navarro, Victor Sada (FC Barcelona); Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull, Felipe Reyes (Real Madrid); Rudy Fernandez (Denver Nuggets); Rafa Martinez, Victor Claver (Valencia BC); Fernando San Emeterio (Caja Laboral Baskonia); Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers); Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzles) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Not bad, eh? And now we can speculate as to who might be the odd man out. This might be the toughest decision Scariolo has to face until met with the challenge as to how to cover Kevin Durant and Lebron James when both are on the floor for Team USA…
Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to the first entrant into Euroleague 2012-13, BC Khimki Moscow region, with their win over BC Valencia in the Eurocup championship game yesterday. In a possible Euroleague title-game preview – at least in terms of home bases – the Russian side topped the Spaniards, 77-68. In the consolation game, Lietuvos Rytas bagged a bronze medal in taking out Spartak St. Petersburg, 71-62.
Game highlights and official writeup of the final match follow.
After examining each of the four finalists this week, Eurosport Turkey basketball commentator Uygar Karaca considers a few key players, matchups and tendencies that could affect today’s championship match – plus highlights and an Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™! Well, sort of.
It’s another final day for Eurocup. This means that we’re going to see one side hopping around and celebrating after a huge victory and on the other side, players leaving the court with faces looking to the ground and hearts broken with disappointment. Which one will play the victor’s role: hosts Khimki or their Spanish opponents Valencia? Can we make a prediction?
Basketball enthusiasts fairly know that it’s not fair to merely name one team as favourite. So I will try just to put forth some ideas, to try to reach some conclusion; i don’t know yet whether I will reach one or not.
Firstly, as a reminder, last year saw Russian side UNICS Kazan taking the Eurocup title against Cajasol Sevilla of Spain. Then we must consider the recent experiment we’ve seen: In the semifinals, we had a chance to observe that these two finalists have two different faces. Both can defend the basket aggressively and can find easy points – and vice versa. One thing to note is that in the 2009-10 Eurocup final, Valencia played ALBA Berlin and we can say that Kosta Perovic, Matt Nielsen, Florent Pietrus, Victor Claver and Sergiy Lischuk were just merciless while defending. The latter three remain with Valencia and scoring from low post plays will not be easy for Kresimir Loncar, Khimki’s main aggressor under the rim.
Another point was the ability of Spartak St. Petersburg to find open shots against Khimki in the Final Four match. The Eurocup season in general showed us that Khimki kept their rivals’ scoring very low on some occasions but not quite frequently. Valeriy Likhodey did significant damages to Khimki especially in the second half and Nick Caner-Medley’s shooting-oriented game can do the same.
Of course, we have to mention brilliant coaches like Luis Casimiro, Paco Olmos and Fotis Katsikaris when we talk about Valencia. However, it is very obvious that some ex-Yugoslavian coaches will always have a special place in the hearts of Valencians.
Big-name NBA refugees Rudy Fernandez, Serge Ibaka and Tiago Splitter will soon be heading back to the ‘States, thus making yesterday’s Real Madrid-Valencia Basket game the last appearance for each in Spain in 2011-12. Fernandez and Ibaka left Los Blancos in quite good position, leading the way to the 81-64 win against the short-handed Valencia before a crowd of just under 11,000; thanks to the margin of victory, Madrid is in a statistical tie with FC Barcelona atop the Liga Endesa table and is just six points behind the Blaugrana in overall point differential.
Here’s more fuel for the fire vis-à-vis American players in Europe: Re-imports Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf were notables in last night’s Eurocup opening night for Asvel Villeurbanne as the French side overcame 2009-10 champion Valencia Basket.
Whoever questions NBA stars’ ability to adapt to the European game may see Parker’s performance of last night to be a partial answer: The locked-out San Antonio Spur essentially iced EuroCup Player of the Week honors in scoring 34 points for Asvel, including 13 in his team’s high-flying 29-point fourth quarter. Parker also dished five assists and added one steal to his stat line.
Meanwhile, Ronny Turiaf came off the bench to become one of Asvel’s five double-digit scorers, contributing 12 points and five rebounds over 25 minutes in the win.
And suddenly, the Spanish influence on the Euroleague has been reduced to just one team in the final four – exactly as many squads as Greece, Israel and Italy’ll have. Caja Laboral in the end just didn’t have enough answers for Maccabi Tel Aviv’s depth and star power, while Panathinaikos displayed the blueprint for taking out FC Barcelona in dominating the baseline and constantly playing the aggressor in driving time and again to the basket. (Of course, it helps if you have Dimitris Diamantidis in the lineup as well…)
And kudos to Montepaschi Siena for successfully shrugging off a horrible game one loss in what might have been a disaster for morale while reestablishing the hyperquick-moving, high-scoring offense that had faltered a bit in the Top 16 round.
Real Madrid hosts Power Electronics Valencia on “Wednesday or Thursday” to determine the last entry into the Euroleague Final Four, and – BiE’s repeating it here out of shock – España’s only team to go this far.
Highlights from last night’s games, as well as the officially-selected top five plays, follow.
For your convenience, BallinEurope brings you a quick collection of highlight clips from Euroleague Playoffs games one last night. Below the break, relive (or don’t, if you’re a Montepaschi Siena fan) the posterable moments from four games’ worth of home-team victories. Enjoy!
On a lazy Sunday before the ACB tips off, what better way to wile away a few minutes than checking out some recent video clips? BallinEurope has a half-dozen short vids encapsulating basketball this week from The Continent and ‘States. Enjoy!
• Weirdness and excitement in Spanish basketball? You bet! BiE recalls that this was about the time last season when Real Madrid’s season turned shaky and FC Barcelona began pulling away for top seed bragging rights in ACB play. While Madridistas may be feeling a little déjà vu today after a heartbreaking 69-68 overtime loss at Unicaja Malaga, Real hasn’t lost quite the same way ever.