Boris Diaw starts for San Antonio Spurs, designs new Nike kicks

Here’s one for the basketball sneaker junkies out there. Tweeted the Team France/San Antonio Spurs’ power forward Boris Diaw this morning: “another nice win tonight. here is the shoe i made last night on Nike ID. it’s simple but got swag. what do you think?

As for the nice game itself, the Western Conference matchup saw the Spurs outlast the Phoenix Suns, 110-106. Playing without superstars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, Diaw got the start and managed three points, four rebounds and four assists in 21 minutes of court time. Former Liga Endesa stud and BiE fave Tiago Splitter led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting in just 20 minutes.

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Tony Parker breaks Spurs assist record, goes for 42 in Spurs win

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Team France leader Tony Parker, who wrote himself into the NBA record books by becoming the San Antonio Spurs’ all-time leader in assists yesterday – o, and he also went for 42 points in his team’s 107-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Parker eclipsed Avery Johnson’s mark of 4,476 in the third quarter with his final assist of the game.

Below runs a clip of the record-breaker itself, a feed to who else but Tim Duncan; a full run of game highlights may be seen here.

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NBA Nuclear Winter settling in; Twitter bursts with news of player exodus

You know who benefits from the NBA player lockout? Twitter, that’s who. The website has become an endless source of interest as each event/non-event transpires in the NBA lockout soap opera. Minute to minute, commentators, players, pundits and rumormongers pithily weigh in and/or report on the immediate future of professional basketball in America…

…and Europe! The Continent-centric BallinEurope has unabashedly become addicted to the little birdie’s ‘site, and yesterday proved quite fruitful for those anxiously awaiting more imports into top pan-European and domestic leagues. After the dismal news of Monday and impending dissolution of the players’ union plus imminent anti-trust lawsuits, more and more stars are finally willing to cut the cord to the NBA, bite the bullet and, you know, try that whole European basketball thing.

Below run the results what BiE’s Twitter scorecard from yesterday; stars include the Gasol Brothers, Kevin Durant, Jan Vesely, Joakim Noah, Tiago Splitter, Kyrie Irving and many more.

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Pau Gasol: “A bit distracted,” “A bit exhausted” in Lakers-Mavs series

For the Spanish-language ‘site Marca.com, Los Angeles-based sportswriter Jesús Sánchez recently got some quality face time with Pau Gasol – enough to fill three columns’ worth of stories.

The key news for those looking ahead to the summer, a group that certainly includes Lakers fans and those cynical about the possibility of the NBA actually playing in 2011-12, is that Pau hasn’t quite announced that he will indeed play for Team Spain in the Eurobasket 2011 tournament; he is, however, expected to announce an affirmative decision upon returning to Spain sometime in June. Earlier in the week, Gasol met with national team coach Sergio Scariolo on the subject.

Of course, for those currently devoted to the NBA playoffs, just one thing regarding Pau is on the mind, i.e. “What the hell happened against the Dallas Mavericks?” Translated excerpts from Sánchez’ interview, in which Gasol talks muchly about his Lakers and a tad about an NBA lockout (Hint: Barcelona backers may prepare for giddiness now) follow.

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NBA Western Conference Playoffs: The Eurocentric view

Rumor has it that across the ocean, this basketball league called the NBA is about to begin its playoffs. With the 2010-11 regular season behind us, BallinEurope takes a present-and-future look at the playoff-bound Europeans in the American league series by series, together with musings, meanderings, YouTube clips and those Fearless Predictions™. Today: the Western Conference matchups.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Denver Nuggets
Could it be that someone in the Oklahoma City front office just lost faith in Nenad Krstic? The Serbian was dealt in a second when Kendrick Perkins arrived; now the Thunder has the huge presences of Perkins – now armed with reputation as clutch playoff performer – and Serge Ibaka plus Tibor Pleiß waiting in the wings. Meanwhile, BiE anticipates the possibility of another throwdown between Krstic and Sofoklis Schortsanitis in Eurobasket…

The real European plus for OK City in 2010-11 was Thabo Sefolosha. Averaging between 20 and 30 minutes per game depending on roster health, the pride of Switzerland enters the playoffs shooting 58.3% for April – could Sefolosha be the Goran Dragic of this year’s tournament?

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The Eurocentric 2010-11 NBA Preview (or How the Hoops World revolves around Europe)

With the 2010-11 NBA season tipping off tonight, BallinEurope marks the occasion in the best way possible: By overrating the league’s Continental players and making a few offhand Fearless Predictions™ in the guise of a preview column.

Brief notes and snarky remarks on all 25 NBA teams follow. (Yes, BiE said “all 25.” Since the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and Los Angeles Clippers boasts no Europeans, they can’t really be considered proper NBA teams for our Eurocentric viewpoint.

Southwest Division
Some folks are calling the 2010-11 edition of the Dallas Mavericks its strongest team ever; it’s also a pretty good Team France embryo, with Ian Mahinmi, Alexis Ajinca, and last year’s sensation Rodrigue Beaubois helping make up Dirk Nowitzki’s posse. Unfortunately, the Western Conference may be tougher than Western Europe this year…

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BallinEurope’s 2010 FIBA World Championship power rankings 4.0

BiE was waiting for a result from last night’s Brazil-Argentina game in Spain before preparing this week’s edition of the official BallinEurope 2010 FIBA World Championship Power Rankings.

Now that those numbers are in, the long-awaited list may be unveiled; who’s hot and who’s not? In BiE’s opinion, readings off the lay lines of the ever ether-shifting momentum (plus YouTube videos!) look something like the following.

1. (↔) Spain. It’s been a good news/bad news deal for Spain this week. The bad news is that Team España is finally experiencing a few injury woes, a situation nearly every legitimate qualifier except the USA has faced in July/August: Jorge Garbajosa and Alex Mumbru did not practice yesterday, while Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez will sit tonight against Brazil. The good news: the slightly new-look Spain brought in Sergio Llull and returned Juan Carlos Navarro on Sunday against Argentina to take control of the second half and win, 83-76, in Logroño. Nice arsenal Sergio Scariolo has there.

2. (↑) USA. All right, so BiE isn’t *quite* ready to leap up and start chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” just yet, but maybe Coach K’s run-run-run philosophy can work – at least against lesser-lights like France and China. Maybe former University of New Mexico Lobo Danny Granger can be a go-to guy for the Red-White-and-Blues. Maybe things are as simple as Andre Iguodala’s summation of “We’re the fastest team in the world, so we’ve got to use that to our advantage.” Maybe Lamar Odom can play center against the likes of Spain and Turkey … wait a second, losing some perspective here…

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Where will NBA’s European free agents go?

While everyone else in the basketball universe is watching the minute-by-minute maneuvers of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the like, BallinEurope has an eye on those powers from The Continent who may be moving around within the NBA to help reshape rosters for the 2010-11 season. Our man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, ruminates on the final destinations of 15 European NBA players. Os Davis provides the ever-popular (yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrre) fearless predictions.

Right, so everyone knows this is the summer of free agency, with possibly the top free agents ever to come on to the market in the NBA. In total, there are around 17 European players on the market – right now, we’re ranking the top 15.

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On 2010 NBA Draft night, four Europeans hear names called

See you in Atlanta -- i mean, Oklahoma City -- Tibor!

While there may be a dearth of European rookies actually cracking NBA squads in 2009-10, at least the rights to a quartet of promising Continental players have been picked up on draft night.

Despite a recent injury and thus a lack of NBA combine workout, Kevin Seraphin was the first European player selected in 2010, going just outside the lottery range at no. 17 overall by the Chicago Bulls.

At first seeming to be a teamup of Team France players in Chicago – hey, BiE’d like to see the Joakim Noah-Seraphin duo together in the NBA – Seraphin will actually be serving as trade bait.

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Official 2010 BallinEurope mock draft, version 3.1: Round two, the second 15

One more time, then. BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick concludes this website’s official mock draft with his final 15 choices for round two. As for BiE, well, even if there’s a lack of players from The Continent forecast for picks 46-60, i’m still pleased as punch a UNM alma mater gets in there…

46. Phoenix Suns: Derrick Caracter (6’9”, PF, UTEP, Junior). If Amare Stoudamire is heading out of town to join Lebron James in New York or going somewhere for that ever-elusive max contract, then the Suns may need a new athletic power forward who can continue to run pick-and-rolls with Steve Nash. If Dirk Nowitzki comes to the Suns, Caracter can be a valuable backup.

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