Spanoulis, Diamantidis, Navarro, more talk about NBA 2K14

Euroleague got some of the biggest names in the game together in Madrid to try out NBA 2K14 which, in case you’ve been away from every form of media, will feature 14 Euroleague teams this season.

Os has already got his copy pre-ordered, once herself gives me permission I’ll be getting my own copy, and suffice to say the presence of Euroleague teams in NBA 2K14 has a lot of fans in Europe excited. Heck, if journalists like us are openly giddy imagine what everyone else is like.

Here’s what the players at the event in Madrid had to say. First up, it’s the champ.
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Monday hangover: Power struggles in Italy, Spain; Zalgiris’ continued rise; Obama vs. the Lakers Rule

It’s never too late for the ‘Hangover (or so BiE’s telling himself). Excuses aside, following are a few Eurocentric impressions, notes, highlight clips – and the no. 1 reason why Barack Obama is thrilled the Los Angeles Lakers went down in the playoffs last season…

Power vacuum in Italy? Coming into 2012-13, most pundits in the European basketball sphere reckoned Montepaschi Siena was due for an off year after an off offseason which saw them downgrade at several positions. And while it appears that Siena won’t be giving up its stranglehold on the Italian national title easily (they’re currently at 4-1; more on this shortly), the team’s dismal Euroleague play indicates this isn’t a Montepaschi team in the mold we’ve become accustomed to.

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Euroleague Power Rankings: 2012-13 Opening Day Edition

All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.

Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)

Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!

The favorites
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.

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NBA turn for Pleiss on ice; may play Spanish ball for four years

Prior to the BBL Supercup in Bamberg of last week, Sport Eagle TV got an interview with Tibor Pleiß, who won two – no, three – consecutive Bundesliga championships and three German Cups with Brose Baskets. Pleiß was drafted at no. 31 overall by the New Jersey Nets and his rights ultimately landed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With Pleiß set to play for Caja Laboral Baskonia this season, OKC fans already know they have to wait; unfortunately for them, it may be something of a long wait indeed – but at least the 22-year-old has his head on straight vis-à-vis the medium term: “I had the chance to go to the NBA, but on my mind was to go to Spain for a couple of years, three, four, to make the next step, to [become] a better player.”

A tad disappointing for European basketball enthusiasts who have been following Pleiß’ progress since making the Bundesliga with the Köln 99ers back in 2006 it may be, but this most likely represents the best choice for a guy who would likely be buried on the bench of a title contender in what should be his formative years.

See below for Pleiß’ discussing topics such as missing the Olympics, the future of Team Germany, playing for Baskonia and his progress in learning Spanish.

Team Germany ended up winning Beko Supercup 2012 with a 78-74 victory over Pleiß’ future teammate Maciej Lampe and Poland.


Getting back to business: After completing threepeat, Bamberg says “Auf Wiedersehen” to Pleiss, Slaughter, Suput

Now that Brose Baskets Bamberg has completed the 2011-12 season with its third straight German Bundesliga title, management there can get down to business – and some serious business they’ll have to take care of, indeed.

First, the frivolity. From the Beko BBL official website, BiE contributor and he in-the-know about all things German sports, David Hein summarized Bamberg’s championship title and current situation as follows.

“Brose Baskets once again proved masterful in dealing with the favorites role as Bamberg confirmed the expectations of nearly all prognosticators in sweeping Ratiopharm ulm in the Beko BBL Finals to compete the incredible double three-peat. It was a testament to Ulm and their amazing season that Isaiah Swann did not allow Bamberg to take Game 3 at home without a fight as he drained eight three-pointers in scoring 36 points. But as usual the depth and balance – and fortitude – of Brose Baskets were just too much: Bamberg won Game 3 by the score of 97-95 to complete the 3-0 sweep and hoist the championship trophy into the heavens of Franconia for the fifth time in the last seven years…

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German Bundesliga playoffs: Bamberg, Ulm grab Games One at home; Pleiss injures knee

The semifinals are underway in Germany and, as always, David Hein has one eye on the action there. Read on to find out about the Brose Baskets Bamberg-Artland Dragons and Ratiopharm Ulm-s.Oliver Baskets matchups in game one … plus, a bit of distressing news for forward-thinking Oklahoma City Thunder fans.

The top two seeds in the German Beko BBL playoffs defended home turf to start the semifinals as two-time defending champions Brose Baskets blasted Artland Dragons, 103-70, while ratiopharm ulm knocked off s.Oliver Baskets, 77-65.

Bamberg’s win over the Dragons could prove costly, however, as star center Tibor Pleiß went down with a right knee injury in the fourth quarter and reportedly underwent an MRI yesterday to determine the extent of the injury.

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Bundesliga roundup: Bamberg show Berlin who’s boss, Artland-Bayern playoff set

From the land of Dirks Nowitzki and Bauermann – David Hein reports on a few happenings in Germany’s top division of basketball as the league gets set to close the regular season and start the playoffs. Read on to find out about Brose Baskets Bamberg laying down the law against Alba Berlin, the Artland Dragons-Bayern München playoff showdown, and how things are suddenly up in the air for the Fraport Skyliners.

Tucker, Pleiß lead Bamberg to big win
Brose Baskets Bamberg once again answered the bell with a knockout as the two-time reigning German Beko BBL champions knocked off Alba Berlin 100-90 in a game that was only a matter of pride for Bamberg, who had long clinched the home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

P.J. Tucker continued his incredible play for Bamberg with 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block while shooting 8-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-4 from long range. In the last five games, Tucker is averaging 22 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks while shooting 61 percent overall from the field, including 45 percent from long range and 82 percent from the free throw stripe.

Tibor Pleiß had a superb game as well with 19 points, six rebounds, two assists and one block for Bamberg, who have won 22 of their last 24 games in the league and bounced back from their loss the previous weekend at Bayern Munich.

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Bundesliga wrap: Double-OT thriller in Munich, Ulm players win awards, Chikoko continues rise

From the land of Dirks Nowitzki and Bauermann – David Hein reports on a few happenings in Germany’s top division of basketball. Read on to find out about Bayern Munich surviving a double-overtime slugfest with Brose Baskets Bamberg; Ratiopharm Ulm taking a bunch of trophies; and Vitalis Chikoko’s continued success in the Bundesliga.

Bayern wins double-OT battle with Bamberg
Bayern Munich and Brose Baskets Bamberg continued to one-up each other in a German Beko BBL showdown which should be chronicled for the as-yet non-existent BBL TV Classic.

In what truly felt like a heavyweight slugfest, hosts Bayern had the final big punches in double overtime as they beat the two-time reigning champions, 107-103. Jared Homan came up big for Bayern in the second overtime with two big baskets while Bamberg just couldn’t find the answer in the second extra session.

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Bundesliga roundup: Bayern Munchen snaps road losing streak; Artland Dragons slain; Tibor Pleiss, Brose Baskets put on show for OK City Thunder scouts

Bauermann, Bayern "Almost crushed by snowball"

From the land of Dirk – Nowitzki and Bauermann, that is – David Hein reports on a few happenings in Germany’s top division of basketball. Read on to find out about Bayern Munich’s win on the road (finally); Artland Dragons’ ignominious first quarter against Ratiopharm Ulm; and Tibor Pleiß’ performance for Oklahoma City Thunder scouts.

All is well and good in the southern German metropolis Munich as FC Bayern finally snapped their road losing streak while Artland Dragons coach Stefan Koch was left dumbfounded with his team’s embarrassing start to the top showdown with ratiopharm Ulm. Oh, and Brose Baskets cruised to another win – by 34 points, despite giving 42 minutes of playing time to three Germans 21 years and younger.

Bayern Munich boss Dirk Bauermann was considering bringing in a sports psychologist to talk his players through their nine-game losing streak in the BBL. But Bayern finally unloaded the 5,000-pound gorilla from their back with an 82-72 victory at Phoenix Hagen – Munich’s first road win since beating BG Göttingen on October 15 – to improve their BBL road record to 2-10.

“The relief could be seen on the players. It was pretty crazy in the locker room and the mood on the bus afterwards was superb,” Bauermann told the Abendzeitung daily after the win, which improved Bayern’s record to 13-11, good for seventh place.

“The snowball had gotten so big that it almost crushed us to death. But now the losing streak is over with,” added Bauermann, whose team would have dropped out of the playoff ranks with another defeat.

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