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Nov
2

Lokomotiv & Maccabi record last-gasp wins in Euroleague thrillers

The Turkish Airlines Euroleague is well under way but the action isn’t letting up anytime soon, thanks to some thrilling games on round four.

The pick of the night’s matches came from Group D as Eurocup champion Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnoda defeated Panathinaikos Athens 69 – 72 in an exciting match. Lokomotiv led for most of the game, the most it led by was 43 – 56 early in the fourth quarter before Panathinaikos made its comeback and leveled the game at 69 – 69 with six seconds to go.

It was Krunoslav Simon who made the difference, burying the game-winner in the final second to give Lokomotiv the win.

There were more important wins in Group B as EA7 Emporio Armani Milan grabbed an important 62 – 76 victory over Brose Baksets Bamberg, evening out its record in Group B at 2 – 2.

Bamberg was on the back foot as Milan held the lead for most of the game. Nicolo Melli of Milan made a pair of three-pointers to give the visitors a 33 – 43 lead at halftime, but Bamberg fought its way back and reduced the deficit to two points early in the fourth quarter. However, a strong defensive display from Milan ensured that a comeback didn’t happen, with a pair of Keith Langford jumpers securing a Milan victory.

Back in group D, another thriller took place in Lithuania as Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv grabbed a tight 74 – 76 victory over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. After its shock win over Panathinaikos in the opening win, Lietuvos’ has yet to record a win and losing by the narrowest of margins will be scant consolation for the team.

Maccabi led by as many as 18 points during one point, but Rytas pulled back and ensured that the final quarter was full of thrills. Rytas eventually went in front to go 71 – 70 with 1:55 to go. With the two sides tied at 74 – 74, it was Tyrese Rice who scored the winner with 3.5 seconds to go.

The remaining games that night saw Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade picking up its first Euroleague victory in Group B by defeating Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 63 – 73.

In Group D, Tadija Dragicevic saw off a stubborn Zalgiris Kaunas side 72 – 61 thanks to an impressive fourth quarter display, while Real Madrid made sure its flying start to the season continued with a 66 – 85 win over Strasbourg. Madrid’s victory meant that it tops Group B with a 4-0 record, making it the best four-game start in the competition this century.

- Quinton O’Reilly (@qoreilly)

Nov
0

Madrid continues unbeaten Euroleague run with dominant win over Milan


As the season heads into the winter months, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague is hotting up with some cracking games as the campaign gathers pace in Group B and C.

The showcase match for Group B came courtesy of Brose Baskets Bamberg who edged past Anadolu Efes Istanbul 88 – 86 in a thrilling game that went right down to the wire. There was only 1.3 seconds remaining on the clock when Casey Jacobsen clinched it for the winners. He scored 23 points overall and was helped by Anton Gavel who scored 17 points, Jamar Smith put 14 points on the scoreboard while John Goldsberry contributed 8 assists for Bamberg.

Efes made it difficult for Bamberg by being incredibly effective when on the offense. A scoring rate of 15-of-21 two-point shots and 5-of-7 three-pointers before halftime meant that the team took a 44-51 lead at the break as well as extending the margin to 52 – 66 midway through the third quarter. However, Bamberg didn’t give up and thanks to back-to-back three-pointers by Jacobsen, the team started a 20 – 2 run that saw Bamberg lead 70 – 66 with nine minutes to go.

The lead was increased to 84 – 77, but Efes’ Kostas Vasileiadis singlehandedly brought the team back to life. The decider came at the final minute as a jumper by Jamon Gordon gave Efes a 85 – 86 lead with 6.8 seconds left. Bamberg called timeout and Jacobsen rounded off an impressive game by scoring the winning shot with only a second to spare.


The other Group B game that night saw Real Madrid continue a dominant start to its campaign by defeating EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 93 – 74 at home. The win meant that Madrid remains the only unbeaten team in the group while Milan dropped to fourth place.

Leading for the entirety of the match, Madrid were in total control thanks to Sergio Rodriguez who finished the first half on a 22 – 5 spurt, ensuring the score was 52 – 31 during the halfway mark. Nikola Mirotic scored 15 of his total 19 points in the first quarter alone, Rudy Fernandez tallied 16 points during the game, while Felipe Reyes bagged himself 14 points and 9 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Group C saw Stelmet Zielona Gora making history by securing its first ever victory in the Euroleague by beating Montepaschi Siena 73 – 65. Led by Lukasz Koszarek and Vladimir Dragicevic, Zielona Gora stayed in contention before Przemyslaw Zamojski secured the win with 7 points in the final half minute.

Oct
0

Spain: Real Madrid roll to Supercopa title – Highlights

Liga Endesa champions Real Madrid added the Supercopa title over the weekend with wins over Bilbao Basket and FC Barcelona. Here’s what you might have missed.


Jaycee Carroll led a rain of threes for Real Madrid in Friday’s semi-final win over Bilbao. The Liga Endesa champions went deep early and often, crushing their opponents 100-61.


The final was a repeat of last year’s Liga Endesa playoffs final, where Real took the title in Game 5 over Barcelona. This edition of El Clasico ended with the same victor as RMB won 83-79 to lift the Supercopa.

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
2

Real Madrid tops FC Barcelona for first Spanish title since 2007; Reyes MVP, Jasikevicius with flashback performance

BallinEurope sends out congratulations this morning to Real Madrid, which closed out a most successful season by taking the decisive game five of the Liga Endesa championship series, 79-71, in yet another “El Clasico”-level thriller. The title represents Los Blancos’ first ACB championship since 2006-07; though title is Real’s sole trophy this season, the win plus a Euroleague runner-up bid has to add up to the club’s finest run since Juan Antonio Corbalán was running point in the early to mid-1980s.

Felipe Reyes was named MVP of the Liga Endesa finals; Reyes turned in yet another efficient performance in game five, contributing 14 points and drawing a whopping seven personal fouls in under 21 minutes of playing time.

Reyes’ show (not to mention the actual win) overshadowed an incredible individual game from Sarunas Jasikevicius, as the old guy played like he’d tapped into his personal 2005. After going just 191 seconds in Madrid’s game four loss, Jasikevicius constantly got/created easy open looks in his under-19 minutes for a huge 23 points on 6-of-9 overall shooting and 8-of-8 from the line.

Unfortunately for the Blaugrana, aside from Joe Ingles’ excellent night, Barcelona shooters could managed just 7-of-33 success overall, including an 0-of-11 mark beyond the arc. (On the other hand, Saras and Ingles did make for one heckuva highlight clip…)

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May
8

Spanish media: Bogdanovic coming to Brooklyn; Splitter rebuffs wacky Real Madrid overture

It’s good news for international hoops fans into the NBA in a pair of stories via Spain-based Marca today.

Earlier this morning, the outlet reported that Mikhail Prokhorov and his Brooklyn Nets will buy out Bojan Bogdanovic’s contract with Fenerbahce Ulker for some $570,000. Bogdanovic was originally drafted by the Miami Heat at no. 31 overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, and his rights subsequently bounced to Brooklyn through the Minnesota Timberwolves in a series of trades.

For Fenerbahce this season, Bogdanovic was good for 15.9 points in 28.25 minutes per game in Euroleague cumulatively – and 20.5 in just over 32½ in the Top 16 round. Back in Turkey, Bogdanovic averaged 13.0 in 25.3 minutes.

Any buyout of Bogdanovic’s contract would become official on July 1.

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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
1

Podcast: Interview with Ricky Rubio; wrapping the 2012-13 Euroleague season, NIJT; reviewing The Wrestler

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #35 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced “Talking the Charge” podcast series is now available online and is downloadable from iTunes – and o boy, it’s a good one.

Days after Olympiacos made European basketball history, we’re still amazed by another incredible run by the Reds and so discuss the context of this back-to-back title victory. Also up for discussion are reasons why Real Madrid and FC Barcelona should be proud and CSKA Moscow a bit ashamed. And what about that Red Army side? Will they blow up the team? What is the future of Ettore Messina, Milos Teodosic and Nenad Krstic with the club after a most disappointing Euroleague finish?

We also weigh in on the results and performances of the Nike International Junior Tournament, with particular reference to the finalists, champions Club Joventut Badalona and runners-up FC Barcelona – an extreme contrast in styles vis-à-vis club development within the economic realities of European sport in the 2010s.

Ricky Rubio WolvesOf course, this show’s highlight is the brief interview with none other than The Human YouTube Highlight Clip himself, Ricky Rubio. In remarkably succinct fashion, La Pistola weighs in on this year’s Euroleague Final Four, the past frustrating season with the Minnesota Timberwolves (and the importance of Nikola Pekovic) and the possibilities for Team Spain in the upcoming Eurobasket 2013 tournament.

Finally, our sports movie review of the week focuses on the 2008 film The Wrestler featuring Mickey Rourke in an outstanding tour de force career-comeback performance.

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.

Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

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May
40

Instant history: Olympiacos dominates last 30 minutes, tops Real Madrid, 100-88, for back-to-back titles

No matter which way this year’s Euroleague championship played out, history would be made with Olympiacos chasing a repeat championship and Real Madrid its first in 18 years. And as it turns out, fate’s scribe was writing with Red(s) pen: Once again, tournament underdogs Olympiacos ended up EL alpha dogs with a 100-88 win over Real Madrid for only the third repeat title of the last 25 years.

(Olympiacos BC image courtesy Euroleague)

Olympiacos: They are the champions — again

Real Madrid jumped out to an early lead as All-Euroleague first teamer Rudy Fernandez accounted for six points and two assists on his team’s first 10 points, finding Sergio Llull again and again; the two would combine for 16 in the first quarter alone. Los Blancos’ 27-10 lead after the opening stanza might have been considered enough against an ordinary team – but Europe’s comeback kids are hardly ordinary.

Pero Antic’s three to start the scoring in the second quarter got the Olympiacos fans back to their feet –more importantly triggering a 13-2 run with contributions from Kyle Hines and Kostas Sloukas to bring the Reds to within seven at 29-22. And highlight-reel Reyes-to-Slaughter alley-oop dunk aside, the Reds fairly well owned the second 10 minutes, outscoring Real 27-14

Of particular note in the second 10 minutes was Stratos Perperglou stifling Fernandez, limiting him to just two points on free throws; in fact, Perperglou’s defensive play was representative of Olympiacos’, as nearly half of the Madrid points (six) in the quarter were made at the line, while six Real turnovers were forced.

Vassilis Spanoulis, remarkably quiet for so long, finally broke his personal cold streak with a three after the first minute of the third quarter and a subsequent three would give Olympiacos its first lead at 48-45 – must’ve been something concocted at halftime … another run – this one 15-5 – appeared to have Real on the ropes in the third, but Los Blancos weren’t finished yet, momentarily retaking the lead at 56-55 after a pair of jumpers from Fernandez.

Among the highlights in a pressure-packed final five minutes of the third were two consecutive stops of Fernandez after he’d run up seven in the stanza already; among the lowlights, Sloukas assessed for a technical after flopping. Nikola Mirotic, uncharacteristically plagued with foul trouble earned his fourth PF – one of 10 committed by three members of the Real frontcourt – late in the third quarter as well. After 30 minutes, it was a new ballgame: 61-61.

With 90 seconds gone, Spanoulis reentered the court to palpable tension. A section of Reds fans maintained their trademark noise, but many were strangely silent while the Madridistas clung to edges of their seats.
The death blow may have come on a hidden play, as Acie Law forced Llull to bounce a dribble off his foot and into the backcourt – Spanoulis’ followup three would ultimately seal the deal from 70-62:

While Law and Sloukas and Georgi Shermadini went on to score from various spots on the floor, Jaycee Carroll’s three-pointer – just one of three Madrid shooting attempts in the fourth quarter’s first five minutes – stood alone as a Real success from the floor. By that time, the Reds’ lead had ballooned to 82-70 and the Spanish side simply did not have an Olympiacos-like miracle comeback in ‘em.

And no Spanoulis, either.

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May
0

Euroleague championship game: Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™

BiE’s got enough time to throw these out there, so here goes nothing … since in this debacle, we went with a final score of 72-60 – albeit with way wrong finalists picked – we’ll run with it: Olympiacos 72, Real Madrid 60, to complete the amazing back-to-back. And your Euroleague Final Four MVP will be … Kyle Hines.

(Regular readers of this ‘site of course realize what this likely means: Los Blancos take their first EL title since ’95 and, say, Felipe Reyes will take the individual award; wager accordingly.)

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