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BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ 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 +++
Nov
3

Euroleague week three talking points, part II

Five Euroleague games are to be played tonight, each bearing a number of scintillating storylines – well, okay, maybe not the nearly history-bereft Cholet-Lietuvos Rytas matchup, but you get the point.

For your perusal, then, a few factoids, bites of information and videos in the leadup to tonight’s action. Enjoy the games, and best of luck to Union Olimpija; BiE thinks they’re gonna need it.

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Nov
1

Euroleague week three talking points (part I)

How good is Bogdanovic? Discuss.

Seven Euroleague games go off tonight as the season rounds into form a bit. The marquee match tonight has got to be the Khimki-Baskonia showdown to establish early supremacy in that tough Group A; Olympiacos-Unicaja will surely be worth the viewing as well, although the way the Reds have dominated on their home floor lately will make things difficult for the Spanish side.

In preparation for the festivities, then, BallinEurope presents some talking points: facts, stats, oddities, history and video relating to the games. Enjoy!

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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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Jun
3

What FC Barcelona must do (with special reference to Lakers-Celtics)

¿Where are you, Juan Carlos?

Two teams teetering on the edge, two series remarkably similar in a few outstanding features. With FC Barcelona one game from elimination at the hands of Caja Laboral Baskonia in the ACB championship series, BallinEurope – like so many others – is looking for answers to the Blaugrana’s mysterious woes.

Perhaps some might be found in watching that other series … you know, that one about Lakers-Celtics. After all, that championship pits a team of stars against a team greater than the sum of its parts. That championship has a season-starting favorite against an underrated perpetual contender.

But most importantly, that championship isn’t over, either. Can the Los Angeles Lakers turn things around? Sure, we believe. So certainly hope is not gone from Barcelona’s quarters, either, but the uncharacteristic performances of games one and two must be addressed if there’s to be any tomorrow for ostensibly the best team in Europe.

Throw in the tapes, Blaugrana, and study up on the NBA Championship Series. BiE’s five-part formula for a Barcelona comeback would include the following tenets.

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Jun
6

Giant slayers: Caja Laboral Baskonia wins 70-69, pushes FC Barcelona to brink

Brazil's Huertas: World Cup? What World Cup?

In a season already spiced with big playoff upsets, Caja Laboral Baskonia may be adding the biggest to the list yet, as the Basque Country boys held on through an insane final minute of play to eke out a 70-69 win over FC Barcelona.

And now things in Spain have become suddenly unthinkable as the team touted by some (ahem) as among the recent European basketball club greats must take a 2-0 deficit – and certainly waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay less swagger – on the road.

For Baskonia, the win marked the recent dominance this team has enjoyed over Barcelona, truly making them unusual in Europe. Until last night, Barcelona hadn’t lost to the same team twice in one season since the 2009 ACB playoffs – when they were bounced 2-1 by a team called Tau Cerámica. Oh, and the then-Tau managed to swipe two games from the Blaugrana in the 2009 Euroleague semifinals as well.

And last night’s game was a real classic for the ACB annals to be sure. Terence Morris did a swell Kevin Garnett impression, acting as though Tiago Splitter had elaborated upon his skills in Gasol-esque fashion, crushed the Brazilian underneath repeatedly for an early 6-0 Barça lead.

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Jun
7

Not so fast, hombre: Baskonia stuns mighty Barcelona to take ACB game one, 63-58

Huertas: The other no. 9 in this series

I guess this is why they actually play the games, eh? Caja Laboral Baskonia leapt out to a 12-0 lead behind the dominant play of Tiago Splitter to start game one of the ACB championship finals and hung on for the 63-58 win.

The achievement of Baskonia’s win is reflected in historical statistics: Barcelona has not lost a home game to an ACB opponent since January 2009 to then-Tau Ceramica. The 58 points scored represents Barça’s lowest output in 2009-10; in fact, Barça’s only other sub-60 point game this season was its first loss, the 60-59 stunner at Valencia this January.

Most damning of all may be this stat: In the last 26 ACB championships, the team that takes game one has won 24.

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May
2

Euroleague championship trivia

From the Le Sais-Tu Department comes a few interesting news bites on this evening’s Euroleague Championship participants. Read on, triviamongers!

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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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Feb
0

Sound bites in advance of Copa del Rey tournament

Huertas loves the Cup

Huertas loves the Cup

The party’s already starting in Bilbao to be sure … after all, the Copa del Rey basketball tournament isn’t just a sporting event; heck, it’s not even just another national cup competition. Instead, the “King’s Cup” consumes much of the national population’s attention as determines the class of Europe’s top hoops superpower is confirmed. Concerts and revelry will be the order of the day against a pastiche of top-flight basketball.

Until Friday, though, everyone waits. And the press asks the questions and collects the quotes while practices seem to go on forever. The following is a selection of what’s on the minds of key players, coaches and pundits as the Copa del Rey hype buildup continues…

• “We are the champions and we must defend the title,” says Fernando San Emeterio in this piece on Baskonia of the same name. Teammate Marcelinho Huertas, meanwhile, finds Copa del Rey time to be “different from any league match” and uniquely Spanish: “En Italia no se vive de la misma manera. La ciudad no participaba de la Copa, ni mucho menos.”

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