France and San Antonio Spurs star point guard Tony Parker did the ice bucket challenge for ALS. Unfortunately his friend needs to work on his camera phone etiquette. Dude, when filming you have got to turn your phone.
With three Europeans selected for this Sunday’s NBA All Star game, BiE pays tribute to Joakim Noah, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tony Parker.
It was hardly a shock when no Europeans got selected for the starting line-ups of this year’s NBA All Star game but with three players from the continent making the reserves, including two from France, there’s plenty of interest in Sunday’s action from this side of the pond. Here are your three European 2014 NBA All Stars.
Tony Parker – San Antonio Spurs
Season stats: 17.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 6.2 APG 30.9 MPG
Number of All Star selections: 6
Last year was Tony Time as Parker led his Spurs back to the NBA Finals and then finally tasted EuroBasket glory in Slovenia. This has been another stellar season for the point guard who just keeps getting it done for Greg Popovich.
It was a busy Veteran’s Day for the NBA’s European contingent. Tony Parker and Marco Belinelli had big days for San Antonio, Nikola Pekovic had a bigger one for Minnesota but came out on the losing end at the Clippers.
The Spurs put in another insanely balanced performance, spreading minutes and stats across their roster, as they cruised to a 109-85 win over the Sixers. Tony Parker scored 14 points and dished 9 assists in a comfortable victory for San Antonio. Marco Belinelli made his presence felt off the bench, scoring 12 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Boris Diaw had starters minutes for the Spurs, finishing with 8 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists. In limited action, Nando de Colo scored 3 points, grabbed 2 rebounds, and had 1 dish.
The Timberwolves fell in Los Angeles to the Clippers despite a double-double from Nikola Pekovic. The Montenegrin big man had 25 points and 10 boards in the loss. Ricky Rubio had 10 assists to go along with his 5 points. Alexey Shved got 11 minutes on the court but struggled to make an impact, picking up just one rebound for his trouble.
Another double-double for a European big man, another defeat in spite of it. Jonas Valanciunas scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Raptors lost to the Rockets 110-104. Omer Asik had 4 points and 2 rebounds for Houston while Omri Casspi had 5 points, 6 boards, and 4 assists off the bench for the Rockets.
A third double-double for a European big and a third defeat. Nikola Vucevic scored 15 points and had 10 rebounds but finished on the losing end Monday, as the Magic fell 120-105 in Boston.
Timofey Mozgov made good work of his time on the floor for the Nuggets as the Russian scored 10 points and grabbed 5 boards in a 100-81 win over the Jazz. Evan Fournier’s impact was largely muted, with just 2 points for his efforts. Enes Kanter had 12 points and 4 boards for Utah in the defeat while Rudy Gobert had 3 points and 2 boards off the bench.
The Bulls moved to 3-3 on the season as Luol ‘I’m totally hitting the free-agent market whether I like it or not’ Deng scored 12 points and grabbed 5 boards in a 96-81 win over the Cavs.
Nicolas Batum had 12 points and 8 assists for the Trail Blazers on Monday and the Frenchman’s efforts helped lift Portland past the Pistons 109-103.
Ian Mahinmi was a perfect 6 of 6 from the line for Indiana on Monday. The Frenchman scored 10 as the Pacers remained unbeaten with a 95-79 win over the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol had 15 points and 9 boards for Memphis while Kosta Koufos had 8 points and 3 boards.
Sweden’s Jeffrey Taylor scored 10 points and picked up 6 boards for the Bobcats but they fell 103-94 to the Hawks. Dennis Schroeder got just 10 minutes of action for Atlanta, scoring 4 points, while Pero Antic didn’t play. Normally this column doesn’t mention DNPs but it’s Pero so of course we’re making an exception.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points in a losing effort for the Raptors last night but none of his buckets stood out quite like the one above as the big Lithuanian posterised the best player in the game. Valanciunas added 9 boards for his trouble but it wasn’t enough as LeBron James scored 35 points, grabbed 8 boards, and disheed 8 assists in a 104-95 win for the Heat.
Tony Parker had a big night in Denver. Parker went 9-13 from the field as he scored 24 points and had 6 dimes in a 102-94 win for the Spurs. Parker’s French national team-mate Boris Diaw chipped in with 9 points and 8 boards in 26 minutes of play while Italy’s Marco Belinelli had 4 points, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 10 minutes off the bench. Timofey Mozgov had 11 points and 6 rebounds for the Nuggets in 21 minutes of action while Evan Fournier had a minor impact off the bench, grabbing 2 boards and 1 assist in his 9 minutes of action.
Dennis Schroeder continued his impressive start to life in the NBA as he dished 7 assists in Atlanta’s 105-100 win at Sacramento. The German guard added 6 points and 2 boards but managed to pick up 4 fouls in just 19 minutes of game time. Pero Antic matched his career high, admittedly it’s been a four-game career, with 5 points for the Hawks. The Macedonian also snagged a rebound. Most promising for Antic was the trust placed in him on Tuesday night as he got 16 minutes, the most in any of his outings so far, on the floor.
The good news for Mirza Teletovic is he played 12 minutes and the Nets won. The bad news is he shot 0-5, managing just 1 point from the charity stripe, and had 1 rebound. #FreeMirza and bring him home. Andrei Kirilenko scored 6 points and grabbed 5 boards in 17 minutes for Brooklyn as they beat the Jazz 104-88. Enes Kanter scored 21 points and grabbed 8 boards but the Turkish big had 7 turnovers in the loss. Rudy Gobert grabbed 11 boards in 16 minutes off the bench.
Omer Asik had 8 points and 5 assists in Houston’s 116-101 win in Portland. Nicolas Batum had 13 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 3 boards in a losing effort for the Blazers. Spain’s Victor Claver saw just a minute of court time.
Ian Mahinmi (Pacers) and Gigi Datome (Pistons) both had quiet nights as Indiana rolled to a 109-100 win in Detroit.
Andrea Bargnani scored 6 points and grabbed 2 boards as the Knicks fell 102-97 to the Bobcats.
EDIT: Thanks to the guys at Swedish Basketball for pointing out that Jeff Taylor had season highs of 13 points and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes for Charlotte.
Ukraine’s Viacheslav Kravtsov scored 3 points off the bench as the Suns beat the Pelicans 104-98.
And finally, two of Europe’s most storied ballers clashed in Dallas on Tuesday night. Dirk Nowitzki took the W over Pau Gasol as the Mavs beat the Lakers 123-104. Dirk had 11 points, 8 boards, and 4 assists for Dallas while Pau scored 10, had 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Spain’s Jose Calderon had a good night for the Mavs, with 12 points, 5 assists, and 4 boards.
(That was a rhetorical question.)
Right, then. Here’s what we’re looking at in the NBA season to come.
• Tony Parker and his French Foreign Legion. The San Antonio Spurs, who first dipped into international talent when they drafted that guy from the Virgin Islands back in 1999, added yet another non-North American this offseason to go with Parker, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter et al in Marco Belinelli. The thought here surely is for the Western Conference champs to supplement shooting off the wing and supplement they shall.
Meanwhile, pundits aplenty (all the way up to “Bill and Jalen” over at Grantland.com) wonder openly about the psychological effect of heartbreaking losses in game six and seven of last year’s finals. BiE’d say that this ain’t no ordinary team and despite never having been in this position (i.e. as the previous year’s runner-up) to start a season, the Spurs’ll shrug it off. What cannot be so easily brushed aside is ol’ Father Time, who’s clearly gaining on Ginobili and surely must be sneaking up on Tim Duncan…
• Marcin Gortat’s fortunes on the Wizards. As part of an all-out – and possibly bald-faced – salary dump/preparation to tank for the draft lottery, the Phoenix Suns dumped The Polish Hammer in the eleventh hour to a suddenly impressive-looking Washington side. Continue Reading…
But enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get right to the headliners. From the post-games of last week’s Eurobasket 2013 final matches come words from perhaps the biggest names we’ve ever had on the show. First up is 15 minutes’ worth of post-game press conference from the peerless Tony Parker along with Team France coach Vincent Collet in the afterglow of Les Bleus’ triumphant gold-medal win over Lithuania.
Following this is the positively gregarious Ricky “The Human YouTube Highlight Clip” Rubio after Team Spain’s bronze-medal win; in the post-game, hard-working David Hein gets La Pistola to weigh in quickly on his national team’s future as well as the importance of Nikola Pekovic.
But that’s not all: new BallinEurope editor-in-chief Emmet Walsh has introduced himself at length online but gets audio room in which to stretch his wings when he guests on this edition of Taking the Charge. Emmet tells us about his motivations for running BallinEurope.com and his love of the European game before he and Hein face off in a “Fact or Fiction”-like round of Q&A regarding some thematic motifs. What does Emmet think about, say, Olympiacos’ chances for a Euroleague three-peat? Tune in to find out…
Finally, the sports movie review of the week is a documentary set in the world of Emmet’s other sports love, that utterly unique game called Gaelic Football. This Irish national television production is called “Jimmy’s Winnin’ Matches” and is one fantastic look at how important a coach/trainer/manager – in any sport, really – can be.
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.
After being carried into the final by Tony Parker on Friday night, the rest of the French team stood tall as a second quarter run sparked their charge to the title.
Were it not for the golden generation of Spanish talent, this likely wouldn’t be Tony Parker’s first EuroBasket title. Were it not for Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Alexis Ajinca, he likely would have suffered a second defeat at the final hurdle.
Parker was a one man army against Spain in the semi final but that was never going to suffice against Lithuania. The breadth of options at Lithuania’s disposal meant there was no way a solo show would suffice. After so-so or worse games against Spain, the rest of the French line up showed up when it mattered most.
After 11 games and ups and downs, France and Lithuania enter Sunday’s EuroBasket 2013 final with a clean slate. The only thing that matters is who is in front when the final buzzer sounds.
Key man: Tony Parker He is the tournament’s top scorer and unquestionably its biggest star. Whatever else happens in Ljubjana today, you can bet your house that Tony Parker will get buckets and lots of them today. It’s not the array of honours he’s won with the San Antonio Spurs that makes him a marked man today. Parker has done enough in the blue jersey of France to make the continent aware of what he can do. Lithuania will be tempted to overload on Parker but given nobody has been able to stop him so far, there’s a more important area to focus in stifling the French offence.
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.
The home side exited EuroBasket 2013 after a quarter final that took a while to come to life.
This game started ugly but Slovenia clearly came out the better of the first quarter. Going in 14-10 up at the end of the final frame, there was reason for the home crowd to be hopeful. Neutrals however well already being overcome with a sense of dread. The offence in the first half was terrible. Slovenia shot 11of 33. France went 11 of 34. It gets worse when you dig inside the numbers. The Slovenians were happy to go deep. Unfortunately their accuracy was vile. Going just 1 of 14 from beyond the arc early, the underdogs weren’t getting the big shots they needed to plant the seeds of an upset. The home side’s futility however was balanced by France’s own failure, going a meagre 9 of 28 on 2s. France went in 26-24 up at the break.
Any kind of a run had the potential to blow this game open. It was France who found it. Pushing 36-26 ahead, Les Bleus developed a cushion and from there the pressure was on Slovenia. Had this been a game where either offence was in passable form, the chances of the hosts countering with a run of their own would have been good. The crowd in Ljubiana however knew their men weren’t on tonight. Goran Dragic was trying to be a do everything player for his side, creating and scoring in a spirited performance, but as Slovenia’s effort to cut the deficit kept hitting a wall he looked like he was trying to do too much.
With 3 minutes to go it was a two-possession game, Slovenia had a shot to make the French nervous. Another offensive set failed and France punished them. Trailing 67-60 with time running out a Bostjan Nachbar three was off. Tony Parker hit a lay-up on the next possession. Slovenia’s next run up the court fell short too and now it was time to foul but the French had time on their side. It was anything but a polished performance but France had done enough. After a first half where offence went to die, France came out hard from the locker room and left the home side in their wake.
Slovenia won’t win a medal here but they will need to make home court advantage count to secure their place in the FIBA World Cup next year. France’s place in Spain is now locked up. Their next opponents will be a Spanish side that ran riot against Serbia.