While much of the basketball hype from the ‘States in currently focused on tonight’s scintillating NBA championship game six, BiE today runs a quick jaunt through Europe’s championship action, with video-embedded stops in France, Spain and Germany. Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™ at the very bottom.
First up, congratulations to new LNB champs SLUC Nancy, who earned a 2011-12 Euroleague bid in nipping Cholet Basket, 76-74, in France’s one-game winner-take-all championship final yesterday.
Despite shooting a woeful 26-of-89 overall (that’s just over 29%), Cholet managed to stay in the game by dominating the boards. Randal Falker was good for nine rebounds in the game, while Antywane Robinson, Team France’s Luc-Artur Verbobe and Samuel Mejia each contributed six, as Cholet won this battle 41-28.
No matter, though, as ultimately the two shots that mattered came directly at the conclusion of the match. Game MVP and high-scorer John Linehan put in his 14th and 15th points of the game with right around three seconds left on the clock to give Nancy a two-point advantage. On the final possession, Mejia tossed up an airball from beyond the arc at the buzzer and it was game over.
Nancy won its first-ever LNB title in 2008, now bookended by this 2011 trophy.
You can check out the league’s official site for game highlights, but here’s a video of the LNB pulling out all the stops for the game in Paris.
Though not quite enough for Cholet, 74 points was again the winning tally for FC Barcelona in game two of its ACB championship series with Bizkaia Bilbao Basket, with the Euroleaguers besting the upset-minded upstarts, 74-67. This time out, Barca was led by Juan Carlos Navarro, who supplemented another, let’s say, off (4-of-13 overall) shooting night with 9-of-10 free throw shooting and the proverbial tenacious D.
After taking a 40-31 lead into halftime, Barcelona ballooned that lead out to 48-36 and held Bilbao to a wee nine points in the third quarter to put the game beyond BBB’s reach for the remainder of the game.
Game three in the best-of-five series will be played on Bilboa’s home floor on Tuesday night at 8.45pm CET (2.45 EST).
In Germany, game three in Bundesliga championship play saw Brose Baskets Bamberg cruising to a 90-74 (that number again!) victory over Alba Berlin for a 2-1 series lead. The decisive victory in “Freak City” was led by the multi-dimensional attack of Casey Jacobsen (3-of-5 on threes), Anton Gavel (8-of-8 on free throws), and Kyle Hines (a sweet 5-of-7 down low): Each contributed 15 points.
Here’s the very awkward post-game press conference with coaches Muli Katzurin and Chris Fleming together with a moderator taking journalists’ questions; call it the American viewpoint, but BiE isn’t exactly sure why this is organized like this…
Game four in the best-of-five series is scheduled for Tuesday night in Berlin at 8pm CET (2pm EST)
Finally, the Official BallinEurope Fearless Prediction™ (or Predictions™) for NBA Championship game six: Dwyane Wade controls the game, going off for, say, 28 points, hits the clutch shot and draws more infuriating comparisons to Michael Jordan in the blogosphere. But also setting things up for a dandy game seven. Miami Heat 90, Dallas Mavericks 88. (This of course means that folks in Dallas should start partying now.