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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 +++
Sep
3

NBA to use nicknames on jerseys, will Euroleague follow suit?

With the NBA announcing its plans to introduce player nickname jerseys, we here at BiE look at what could happen with Euroleague adopting the same idea.

The NBA is going to have a few match-ups next season where players wear nicknames on their backs instead of their real names. Some are obvious, like King James, The Truth, and AK-47. Others are clever, like Shuttlesworth for Ray Allen. And there will be a few forced ones given players just don’t all have nicknames. For the Plumlees I suggest Not Miles and Not Mason.

As with anything so silly and blatantly rooted in marketing, of course we started thing of how this would work in Euroleague. There are some obvious ones, like La Bomba and DDD. This site loves it some Spanoulis but we’d actually feel guilty putting V-Span on his back. There’s no question the nickname partly exists because English speakers have issues with his name. So Spanoulis gets to pick his own nickname and preferably one that ties the tongues of Anglophones even more.

There’s so much potential here outside of the obvious ones. Bojan Bogdanovic and Bogdan Bogdanovic could easily go with Not Bogdan and Not Bojan but that’s just scratching the surface. These three are our favourites.
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Sep
0

EuroBasket: Parker, France, finally get the best of Spain

It took overtime, it took Tony time, but France finally got the best of Spain. Now they move on to the final of EuroBasket 2013.

Drama does not mean quality. There were extended periods of fantastic basketball when France played Spain on Friday night. There were equally lengthy spell where the play was horrid. Overtime certainly fit the latter but it followed a fourth quarter of breathtaking ball. After quietly riding to the top of the scoring charts in this tournament, Tony Parker finally made his presence felt when his country needed it most.

In 37 minutes of play Parker exorcised the demons that plagued French basketball, due largely to the Spanish golden generation. Most of them were there and delivering. Marc Gasol had 19 points and 9 boards but he also gave the ball up 6 times. Rudy Fernandez landed alley-oops at the business end of the game, en route to 17 points. Jose Calderon was there in body but he left his shot in the locker room.

Parker however would have to carry most of the load on his own. Nicolas Batum was awful. Alexis Ajinca made some bonehead plays. Boris Diaw and Florent Pietrus gave support inside but for France to win, and avenge 2011 and 2012, it would take something memorable from Parker. In the fourth quarter, it was Tony time. The San Antonio Spur brought France level and then in front. It wasn’t just a momentary spark. The most gifted French baller who ever lived scored 32 and collected 6 rebounds. Like Gasol he had turnover problems but not enough to take him off the floor.

Then came OT. An utter mess of poor offence. Spain struck first, France moved ahead, and then the errors came. It looked like we’d have Sergio Rodriguez and Parker squaring off for five minutes of drama but hero-ball is badly over-rated. The victory would come down to who made the fewest mistakes. Victor Claver’s air ball was one too many for Spain.

So for the third time in their history, France advance to the final of EuroBasket. In 1949 they lost to Egypt in Cairo. Two years ago it was Spain. This time around they face Lithuania. Third time lucky won’t be easy. On paper this isn’t a contest but Lithuania’s depth and organisation means they a far from a straight forward opponent. On the inside they can hurt France. From the outside they have a bunch of options with chips on their shoulders. Parker will be ready. He needs his team mates to be too.

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
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
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
1

Euroleague Final Four semifinals: Top five plays

Right, then, here’s the big league’s official “best of” clip from last night’s semifinal games, starring Rudy Fernandez, Marcelinho Huertas, Juan Carlos Navarro, Giorgi Shermadini and Nenad Krstic with his only two points in CSKA Moscow’s debacle…

EL 2013 FF banner468x60

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Jan
8

Rudy Fernandez: D’Antoni “doesn’t understand Pau Gasol,” “one of the world’s best centers”

Pau Gasol, Rudy FernandezWith so many observers, players and blogosphere fanatics weighing in on both perpetual trade-bait Pau Gasol and his currently sorry-looking Los Angeles Lakers, it’s no surprise that Spanish-language media outlets have taken to speaking with Pau’s Team Spain teammate Rudy Fernandez on the maddening situation.

In a piece appearing in El Confidencial under the headline quote “Pau Gasol is going through a difficult time because D’Antoni does not understand,” Fernandez defended the Laker further by explaining that Gasol “still brings things to the team and has a good philosophy to help the team.” In an echo of steadily increasing murmurs and related posts online, Fernandez believes that making Pau a jump shooter is not playing to the Spaniard’s strengths.

Spain-based Blog de Basket expounded a bit further on Rudy’s remarks made on the radio, quoting the Madridista as explaining that “…D’Antoni is a coach who likes to play with [a faster, small-ball game] and Pau does not. He has proven to be one of the best centers the world and if you pass it inside, he’s going to take something safe, but D’Antoni doesn’t understand this and Pau shoots [from outside].”

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Nov
0

It’s official: Sergio Llull a Madridista through 2017-18

Surely nothing can temper the giddy enthusiasm Houston Rockets fans are feeling today, thanks to a ridiculous performance on Opening Day by their team’s new acquisition, ol’ What’s His Name, so BallinEurope will sneak in this bit of bad news.

Back in August, Real Madrid was reportedly wooing Sergio Llull with a nearly unheard-of six- to seven-year extension, which have kept the Spanish guard on Los Blancos’ roster through at least 2019-20. Resolution was finally announced today and, while Llull’s new deal doesn’t run quite as long as projected, let’s just say that we won’t be seeing him in Texas (or any NBA city) any time soon (if ever).

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Oct
0

Monday hangover: Real Madrid awesome; CSKA Moscow vulnerable; Arvydas Sabonis rules

Right, with the weekend over and many an hour spent viewing the roundball, BallinEurope rounds up some news items – and video clips! – from the week that was.

Could this be Real Madrid’s year? Los Blancos are exactly one Rudy Fernandez miss from a perfect 8-0 overall mark early in 2012-13 after topping Caja Laboral Baskonia, 83-81, in overtime this weekend in the Liga Endesa.

Baskonia got a combined 47 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Maciej Lampe while turning over the ball just once – thus not allowing Real to demonstrate their nice quick transition to the fast break – yet ultimately couldn’t answer what’s looking like the best team out of Spain this season.

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Aug
9

Rudy Fernandez flop set to go viral?

In hopes that the Rudy Fernandez flop in the Spain vs. USA gold-medal game goes viral, here’s a soon-to-be-meme of ol’ Rudy demonstrating his skills in the video game medium courtesy Ali Traore. Brilliant stuff.

And for comparison’s sake, here’s the actual melodramatic-unto-artistic flop itself, which as Beckley Mason of ESPN TrueHoop notes “was worthwhile for Fernandez and Spain. By drawing an intentional, rather than a common foul, Fernandez converted a loose ball into two free throws and possession…” Not to mention inducing several million heart attacks among the USA faithful.

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