Sorry, the N-B-what? While Euroball fans can certainly take pride in the outstanding number of Continental players still competing in the big league overseas – a list that includes Team Turkey’s Omer Asik, Team France’s Joakim Noah, Team Britain’s Luol Deng, Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Lithuania, Team Switzerland’s Thabo Sefolosha, French sophomore Rodrigue Beaubois (sort of; the 23-year-old has been mostly listed as “inactive” during the playoffs), old master Peja Stojakovic, and of course “Deadly Dirk” Nowitzki – multiple times the excitement is going on in Europe right now with tournaments happening all over.
Ready for some serious do-or-die action in Spain, Lithuania, Romania and Germany? Read on!
In Spain, what should be one heck of a dogfight (BiE still can’t believe Euroleague club Unicaja Malaga had to fight for the no. 8 seed) tips off tonight with the Malagans taking on FC Barcelona in the ‘Palau at 8.30pm CET (2.30 EST). The ACB brain trust has put together quite the interesting promo for the Spanish playoffs entitled “Canastas imposibles.”
Forget Dude Perfect and his ilk: The Nikola Mirotics, Louis Bullocks, Ricky Rubios and Josep Franches of the world can make the monster circus shots while bringing a complete game as well. (Hey, when’s the last time the ‘Dude went for a double-double in Spain…?)
Over in basketball-mad Lithuania, Žalgiris Kaunas has avenged the snapping of its 27-game domestic league winning streak by reeling off three wins in a row to take a commanding 3-1 lead over perpetual rivals Lietuvos Rytas with last night’s 83-71 victory. This may be the 13th straight time these two monsters have met in the LKL finals, but it doesn’t mean the Green Death is any less stoked.
And in Romania, the playoffs roll on; once again, Adi Micinic of TotalBaschet.ro recaps some action for us.
Last weekend, the finals of the Romanian basketball championship started. In the best-of-seven series between seven consecutive-time champion CSU Asesoft, and three-time runners-up U Mobitelco BT Cluj-Napoca, the score is even at one game apiece after the first two games played at Ploiesti.
Saturday, in Game One, U Mobitelco scored 29 points in the decisive fourth quarter while Asesoft responded with only 13, for the final score of 89-79 in favour of Cluj-Napoca. Former University of New Orleans Privateers forward Kyndall Dykes scored 36 points for Cluj-Napoca, while Romanian national team captain Mihai Silvasan added 26 with 6-of-9 three-point shooting.
On Sunday, in Game Two, CSU Asesoft prevailed by a final score of 82-69. Kevin Ford was top scorer with 20 points, while TotalBaschet regular-season MVP Catalin Burlacu added 16 points and nine rebounds. Also, former Bentley guard Jason Westrol contributed 16 points and seven assists.
Games Three and Four are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and will be played in Cluj-Napoca.
Meanwhile, in Romania’s unique best-of-three playoff to determine third place in the league, Steaua Turabo Bucharest took two straight to earn the bronze. Bucharest topped Gaz Metan Medias in game one, 90-73, by closing out the game on a 16-0 run. Last night, the Bucharestis closed things out with an 83-77 win behind Virgil Stănescu’s 28 points.
Finally, Euroleague fans will certainly be keeping one eye on the Bundesliga playoffs in Germany. Who will represent Deutschland in the big league for 2011-12? Based on last season’s insane tournament in which all four of the top seeds were bounced in the quarterfinal round, not even BiE is foolish enough to make a Fearless Prediction™ in this one.
Things are a bit saner in 2011, with the favorites – Brose Baskets Bamberg, Artland Dragons, Deutsche Bank Skyliners and Alba Berlin – all advancing. Despite Bamberg’s domination of the regular season at 32-2 (a full six games better than the Skyliners), BiE wouldn’t be surprised to see any of these four squads playing EL ball this fall.
Following are a couple of clips to get you into the schwing of things; check out the play of the night from Alba Berlin’s 81-80 squeaker over the Skyliners and some highlights from the quarterfinal round … who needs those dudes in South Beach, anyway?
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