Who cares if the games are meaningless in any real sense? BallinEurope missed the Euroleague American Tour and NBA Live Tour games tremendously in 2011 – one item doubtlessly on BiE’s list of underrated casualties of the player lockout – and is thrilled to see them back.
In just a couple of hours, the Boston Celtics and Fenerbahçe Ülker will tip off the first of eight games to be played in five days’ worth of international club clashes, as teams in both continents’ big leagues prepare for 2012-13 seasons. This evening, a few notes, links and videos for you themed on these tours; naturally, BiE’ll be doing this in the time-honored tradition of the ESPN TrueHoop Network, i.e. bullet-style. To catch tonight’s and the other games, head over to Euroleague TV.
• The Dallas Mavericks’ goal on their European road trip? To build team chemistry. Also, on Saturday in Berlin, Dirk Nowitski expects to seat some 100 friends and family. Loftily stated Dastardly Dirk, “I told the NBA for all the crap I’ve been doing for them for fourteen years they better hook me up with a bunch of tickets.”
• Turkish media meanwhile describe the Boston Celtics as “rejuvenated” before the 2012-13 NBA season – and Saturday night’s game in Istanbul against Fenerbahçe Ülker – tip off. Naturally, the spirit of ’08 is exhumed and – you’ll never believe this – Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce see lots of similarities between that team and the current edition of Celtics.
• Here’s a clip from the Celtics’ part in the 2007 NBA tour which Rivers calls the experience that which “brought the team together” to later take a championship title over the Los Angeles Lakers.
• Have the upcoming tour match against the visiting Celtics distracting Emporio Armani Milano? The Milanese dropped a 67-64 Serie A game to Virtus Bologna in game two of the Italian league regular season, despite quality performances from Malik Hairston (18 points), Keith Langford (13 points) and Ioannis Bourousis (11 points, 13 rebounds).
Italy-based Il Pallonaro points out that Montepaschi Siena, traveling to the US to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs, did not have the disadvantage of stiff competition as did Milano. Siena’s originally-scheduled game two against the just-promoted Brindisi was switched to October 26 in deference to the Euroleague tour and Montepaschi took care of business in that game to the tune of 92-65.
• Matt Janning reveals the primary concern on the minds of his Siena teammates: getting American stuff! “Most of the talk about this upcoming trip was about what everyone was going to buy and primarily, how many bags they planned on bringing back to Italy. Whether it be sneakers, candy, movies or the latest Apple products, there was a wide range of things discussed. The other hot topic was food…”
• Euroleague fantasy basketball guru and general man-in-the-know Javier Gancedo – soon to be guesting on a “Taking the Charge” podcast (end gratuitous plug) – interviews Real Madrid’s Sergio Rodriguez for the big league’s official site. Sergio plays down the significance of the preseason games a bit, but admits that his team wants to put on a good show in Spain.
• And without further ado, here’s FYR Macedonia hero Bo McCalebb and coach-of-legend Sergio Scariolo introducing the festivities. Let’s get the cross-continental party started!