The Euroleague season is over, so I am officially allowed to also talk about the NBA. For some Europeans, the NBA is like … evil … so in Europe you have to be careful if you want to talk about NBA and European basketball at the same time. Obviously I do like and admire the NBA, and that is why I’m also going to the NBA finals in June!
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Big Z and Sasha
Last year I went to the NBA Finals and saw Lebron James for the first time LIVE in action. I even got to talk to him in the locker room and watched him warming up three hours prior the game. I can tell you – this guy is bigger than you think, quicker than you think and jumps three times higher than you think. Of course, as do each of the remaining playoff teams, the Cavaliers have European players with a big impact on the team. When you talk about impact, you probably already know that we’re talking about Zydrunas Ilgauskas from Lithuania, but Aleksandar “Sasha” Pavlovic ofSerbia was also a key factor for Cleveland during last year’s success.
Although they reached the NBA finals last year, it looks like they have no chance at all against Boston. The Celtics kept them to 72 and 73 points in the first two losses and it looks like Cleveland doesn’t have an answer right now to that kind of defense.
US blog to read about the Cavs: And One – Cleveland.com
4. San Antonio: Tony P.
I am not a fan of Tony – not at all. I can’t even explain why but the French version of Mickey Mouse is a guy I don’t like. Maybe it’s because of his wannabe rapper thing, his hot wife Eva Longoria or because of his “NON” to the French national team, but I can’t bring in personal issues when I want to provide reasons to follow the NBA finals, right? So, Tony Parker, GREAT, WHAT A PLAYER, *clapping*, *screaming* – I guess it helped to think about Eva while writing about Tony (Thanks Eva).
US blog to read about the Spurs: Pounding The Rock
3. Utah Jazz: Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur
Andrei is probably pretty happy that he did not make the move to Europe, as he threatened to do in the beginning of the season. Utah is the new version of the San Antonio Spurs: unspectacular but effective basketball. Besides Lithuania, Russia is the big force in Europe, with CSKA Moscow just crowned as Euroleague champion and Russia taking the European championship title for Russia last year. Even for Americans, Russia is really interesting since Andrei Kirilenko’s national team point guard is J.R. Holden. Right now, the Jazz are battling the Los Angeles Lakers.
US blog to read about the Jazz: Basketball John
2. New Orleans Hornets: Peja!
Germans probably won’t support the Hornets that much – they destroyed Dirk and their beloved Mavericks – but if you’re a fan of European basketball, you will love the Hornets. Their great point guard Chris Paul, who is a member of the “pass first” point guard generation just as Steve Nash, is a joy for every basketall fan into team play. This guy in combination with our great shooter Stojakovic from Serbia should be reason enough to follow the NBA Playoffs. After beating the Mavericks and now close to sending the Spurs home to San Antonio this team deserves all respect from (Ballin)Europe.
US blog to read about the Hornets: Hornets24/7
1. The possible Boston vs. Los Angeles final
Even European fans must LOVE this kind of final – just because of the history. When basketball in Europe was not even half as big as it is today, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird battled each other in basketball games that defined our game forever. Although I’m a big fan of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett I doubt that these two great players will ever reach the status of Bird and Magic, but that’s exactly why even Europeans admire the Celtics and the Lakers.
Besides this little history lesson, there is another European reason why to follow this final – well, actually to cheer for the Lakers: Sasha Vujacic (Slovenia), Ronny Turiaf (France), Vladimir Radmanovic (Serbia & Montenegro) and of course Pau Gasol (Spain).