“No basketball anymore”? Are you serious? The next two days will see some 34 games played out in the top three European basketball competitions: Euroleague, EuroCup and FIBA Eurochallenge.
Below, BallinEurope presents some links, highlight clips and like on some of the competing teams starring Igor Rakocevic, Tiago Splitter, D.J. Strawberry and that Williams guy, among others. O, if only BiE had time to properly cover all this basketball … sorry, the NB-what?
• Rod Higgins of the Basketball Post provides much food for thought going into Montepaschi Siena’s game against Unics Kazan on how Igor Rakocevic affects the Italian side’s game plan: Has Ferdinando Minucci sacrificed trademark defensive trickery at the cost of a faster game with another shooter?
On the other hand, perhaps Minucci’s master plan with Rakocevic is just crazy enough to work … tonight provides another nice litmus test: Unics Kazan is middle of the Euroleague table in terms of turnovers at 13 per game while Montepaschi is fifth in team scoring at 84.0 points per game.
• Once resembling a super team, CSKA Moscow entered last week’s PBL game against Krylya Samara short-handed; with Andrei Kirilenko now out for two games minimum, the situation approaches near-critical mass as the Red Army hosts Žalgiris Kaunas. Will a holey CSKA still have enough against the outmatched-on-paper Žalgiris?
Said head coach Jonas Kazlauskas in the post-game: “The thing that worries me is that Kirilenko is injured seriously. [Milos] Teodosic is injured. Taking into account that [Darjus] Lavrinovic is not practicing with the team yet, [Nenad] Krstic had a high temperature … I don’t want to get back to the difficult situation we had last season.”
So, Krstic’s back tonight while the other three above-mentioned won’t be suiting up; adjust your Euroleague fantasy rosters accordingly.
• Speaking of playing/not playing, Da’Sean Butler won’t be on the VEF Riga roster for the team’s Eurocup game against BC Khimki Moscow region – indeed, BiE believes Butler hasn’t yet left the ‘States and is not even 100% sure that the “European team” the locked-out San Antonio Spur’d claimed to have signed with is in fact Riga – but he’s anxious to get there.
• Which naturally leads to Butler’s NBA teammate Tiago Splitter; he’ll be making his 2011-12 Eurocup debut when his Valencia Basket host Telenet Oostende. Splitter went for an impressive 12 points and 10 rebounds in his team’s squeaker of an 86-83 win at UCAM Murcia in ACB play.
• In the leadup to the Anadolu Efes-Partizan game, um, here’s a picture of Sasha Vujacic:
• Incredibly, Hapoel Jerusalem posted its first win against Maccabi Tel Aviv in 21 years in a 78-64 shocker on Sunday – and D.J. Strawberry says it “wasn’t even our most important game of the week.” According to Strawberry, that would be Jerusalem’s Eurocup match against Cibona Zagreb.
Reports the Jerusalem Post: “Hapoel’s 80-71 defeat at BC Donetsk in its Eurocup opener means its situation inGroup A is already complicated just one game into the regular season, making a home win against Cibona crucial to Jerusalem’s hopes of finishing in the top two and advancing to the last 16…
“Zagreb’s streak of 20 straight years in the Euroleague ended this season and its Eurocup campaign got off to a nightmare start when it was thrashed at home 101-71 by BCM Gravelines of France.
“We need to win our home games in Europe, starting on Tuesday,” Jerusalem coach Oded Katash said. “There is good reason to celebrate after the win against Tel Aviv, but I told the players to put the party on hold until we beat Cibona.”
• Yet another Spur isn’t playing. Tony Parker’s shoulder injury will keep him out of Asvel Basket’s game against Lukoil Acadmic in Sofia; this will mark the first time Asvel plays without Parker since his arrival. Said head coach Pierre Vincent, “We still have a team capable of playing. It is certain that Tony makes a difference, especially in the pick-and-roll. We’ll see if others can take over. And there are other solutions to implement.”
Incidentally, the guard/team executive stated that he and Boris Diaw “have already spoken. If the season is canceled, I will make him an offer for him to come play with me and Ronny [Turiaf].”
• Deron Williams and his Beşiktaş Milangaz meet BG Göttingen in Eurochallenge play tonight. From the In Case You Missed It Department, the Eagles’ troika of D-Will, Semih Erden and Marcelus Kemp wasn’t quite up to spec in TBL play on Saturday; Erdemir handed heretofore undefeated Beşiktaş its first loss of the season by a score of 88-84. Williams went 6-for-16 overall in scoring 16 points and contributing eight assists, Kemp was 5-of-15 for 15 points and Erden battled foul troubles throughout, seeing less than 16 minutes of playing time. In that one, Erwin Dudley (!) was the top scorer for Beşiktaş with 19 points and Zoran Erceg (!!) had 16 points to go with his team-high six rebounds.
It’s been a rough 2011-12 in Göttingen, meanwhile. The team sits dead last in the Bundesliga at 1-8 while going 0-2 in Eurochallenge play, last losing to ZZ Leiden, 80-71, at home in EC play last week.