Right, with the weekend over and many an hour spent viewing the roundball, BallinEurope rounds up some news items – and video clips! – from the week that was.
• Could this be Real Madrid’s year? Los Blancos are exactly one Rudy Fernandez miss from a perfect 8-0 overall mark early in 2012-13 after topping Caja Laboral Baskonia, 83-81, in overtime this weekend in the Liga Endesa.
Baskonia got a combined 47 points from Nemanja Bjelica and Maciej Lampe while turning over the ball just once – thus not allowing Real to demonstrate their nice quick transition to the fast break – yet ultimately couldn’t answer what’s looking like the best team out of Spain this season.
At 83 points in 45 minutes of play, Madrid’s scoring in the Baskonia game was actually down from its averages in Liga Endesa (90.0 per game) and Euroleague (84.33). As BiE reckoned, Real has created an impressive point-per-possession offense anticipated by the offseason signings of Fernandez and Dontaye Draper joining the likes of Jaycee Carroll, Felipe Reyes, Sergio Llull, etc. etc.
Speaking of depth, how about the embarrassment of riches Pablo Laso has to choose from? Despite going into OT against Caja Laboral, no single Blanco played more than Nikola Mirotic’s 31 minutes. Ten of the 11 available players saw court time and all scored; nine contributed at least one assist (though not, somewhat surprisingly, Carroll); and nine snagged at least one board (including five, somewhat surprisingly, from Carroll).
It may be early, but BiE’s now considering Real a serious threat for both titles in 2013…
• Is CSKA Moscow showing more signs of fallibility? After not exactly disposing of Euroleague opponents in three wins, the Red Army took its first loss of 2012-13 in Lithuania yesterday, falling to Žalgiris Kaunas there, 76-66. Armed with a 54-53 lead going into the fourth quarter, CSKA fell apart in the final 10 minutes and … if you think this is going to lead into an item about Milos Teodosic, you know BiE well.
• Teodosic Watch: Milos played far less than usual – Through three quarters, he’d only seen about 13 minutes of playing time with an 0-of-4 shooting mark, four rebounds and two assists. Perhaps this particular fourth-quarter no-show can be chalked up to a cold night. In the final stanza, Teodosic whiffed on two threes early and a third long miss with about one minute to play essentially iced the victory for Žalgiris. Teodosic’s numbers in the fourth: 0-of-3 shooting, one assist, zero everything else.
• Still legendary. Speaking of Žalgiris, the Legends Game was also held in basketball land yesterday. According to the VTB’s site, “Arvydas Sabonis dunked and drained three-pointers –” Wait, *what*?!?!? Isn’t this the guy who had a rather serious heart attack 13 months ago?
Shortly after getting discharged from the hospital back then, Sabonis lamented that “Doctors told me I can’t smoke, can’t drink, can’t play basketball. All that’s left is sex.” Quite the interesting training regimen the legend must have employed then, eh?
Incidentally, here’s video proof that Arvydas still has one or two hops left in ‘im.
• “The Genius is Back,” proclaims the Liga Endesa official website proclaims of Juan Carlos Navarro, who shrugged off heretofore career-low averages across the statistical board with a 21-point, eight-assist showing against CB Canarias. “I needed a game like this,” says La Bomba.
• Courtside presidential faceoff: In case you missed it, Barack Obama recently topped his chief competition for the presidency, Mitt Romney, in a one-on-one game of hoops. Not really a surprise, but the victory could help in those swing states…
• Finally, we give thanks. This Los Angeles Lakers fan formerly a bit concerned about the relative lack of depth on this year’s team would like to thank profusely the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and/or Santa Claus for this. The Laker Nation became approximately 866.75% more thrilled about our already exciting chances this season after this story broke. And with NBA tipoff tomorrow…