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Author Topic: § EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments News & Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket  (Read 540621 times)
Euro Fan
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Posts: 651

« Reply #12 on: Sep 21, 2011, 02:56:47 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Fun Final

The best EuroBasket of all time was organised in a country where the game is a religion and the fervent Lithuanian fans created a magical, high decibel atmosphere.

The fun Final was icing on a beautiful cake with lots of run and gun, uptempo action and it ended with the logical crowning of Europe's Dream Team, Spain, which recorded a rare back-to-back in EuroBasket competition.

France played chin to chin with Spain and made some good runs, but Juan Carlos Navarro & Co always found a solution or a miracle shot at the end of a possession to keep them at bay.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia was better at slowing down Spain's runaway freight train in their Semi-Final, but this was because France has the thoroughbreds to keep up but not the excellent and consistent execution that the Spanish players have developped together over the last decade.

Don't forget that this group went through some heavy disappointments before it became World Champs in 2006 and France can look at Spain's recent past and use it as a blueprint for its own future.

The French just need to develop the same shared experience with this roster but in any case they are already fully satisfied with reaching their first EuroBasket Final ever, and getting a direct ticket to London and in knowing that basketball has become, once again, a major sport in France in terms of popularity and TV ratings!

The fact is, Spain are dominating European sports in general and their sports system and infrastructures can be a blueprint for anyone these days!

The two key stats that favoured Spain in the Final were points off turnovers and blocked shots (Serge Ibaka!) which proved that the Spanish defense fueled, and was just as good  as, its brillant offense.

That was not so much the case for France which gave up an historical number of points.

Individually, Navarro was in the twighlight zone from the Quarter-Finals onwards and his best friend Pau Gasol seemed happy to let him walk off with a much-deserved MVP trophy.

I should say run off because no one can catch the Barcelona star who looks like you and me off the court but is a unique player on the court thanks to his quickness and technique which are similar to Tony Parker's.

Navarro's shooting off of one foot or while moving to his left is unstoppable and he has a variety of cool moves that young players should admire and copy like his catch-and-shoot off of screens, his teardrop shots from all angles and his change of direction dribbles before dishing  assists out of the high pick-and-roll.

What a pure genius this guy is while being exactly the contrary of typical modern sports stars who all look like body-builders!

You can say the same thing for Parker (a mature leader now) who joined Juanca on the All-Tournament team along with Mr All-Around, Andrei Kirilenko (whose foul trouble against France in the Semi-Final was key), Bo McCalebb who helped Macedonia become the revelation of the tournament while turning the heads of some NBA scouts, and last but not least, Pau Gasol.

The gentle giant was go-to insurance as usual down low whenever Spain needed a big play and his pairing with his brother Marc worked fabulously within the framework of a team of stars who accepted to share the ball, self-sacrifice on defense and watch out for each other  as Pau so pertinently pointed out after the Final.

The coaches of the Final Serge Scariolo and Vincent Collet can be proud of the way their players bonded together for the common cause from day one.

These two smart coaches also intelligently let their players take centre stage and I would say the same thing for the referees who did a good job and were less penalising to NBA players compared to the past while also giving more baskets plus the foul in continuity situations when players attack the basket the way they do in the NBA.

The one change I would make in the EuroBasket formula would be to give one rest day before those decisive classification games for the last two spots at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament which logically went to Lithuania and Greece.

All of this top notch play in Lithuania has me salivating already for the Olympics in London where Spain will try and upset  Team USA in the battle of the Dream Teams and France can legitemately hope for a medal.

What do you think?

by George EDDY from FIBA

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Mariana 69
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Posts: 201

« Reply #11 on: Sep 14, 2011, 10:32:51 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

It's Olympic crunch time !!!
 Eight team, six places - who'll be booking their place for London?

With the second round now behind us, London now quite literally gets closer for eight teams as the tournament moves west to Kaunas for the final stages.

When EuroBasket arrived at the same stage in the previous tournament that doubled as an Olympic qualifier in Madrid, Spain in 2007; six of the eight teams that were there then are again here now in 2011. Of those six teams Spain, Russia, Lithuania and Greece would go on to book Olympic berths whilst Slovenia would fail in their bid to experience the Olympics for the first time in their short history, and France would not be able to return for the first time since winning silver back in Sydney in 2000.

Joining those six in the final eight are newcomers F.Y.R. of Macedonia who have never before made it to this stage in a tournament and hence never been to the Olympics; and Serbia who are hoping to return to the Olympics following an eight year absence.

Playing in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday, Spain will be confident of moving one step closer to direct Olympic qualification when they take on a Slovenian side whose time in Lithuania has to date resembled something of a rollercoaster. Slovenia's recent talk - at least to the media - has been that a top six finish and the subsequent Olympic Qualifying Tournament berth are where their ambitions lie.

Having exceeded expectations by making it this far, F.Y.R. of Macedonia will be feeling the pressure released from their shoulders, which may well be a key factor when taking on Lithuania, for whom the pressure will mount every day, in the second of Wednesday's semis.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia Head Coach Marin Dokuzovski has seen little minutes from his bench in this tournament and fatigue in his key players may start to play a role. Coupled with the fact that it looks likely that inspirational starting center Todor Gechevski will miss the game with injury, F.Y.R of Macedonia could be struggling against the Lithuanians, who will have the unwavering support of the crowd behind them and who benefit from an extra day's rest.

With some teams looking to the future by bringing a number of fresh faces to this year's tournament, France is one team bucking the trend with their minds firmly set on winning EuroBasket and worrying about the Olympics later with French Head Coach Vincent Collet telling FIBA that this team was brought to play this tournament alone with no places within the side guaranteed for next year.

On the other hand, Collet's Greek counterpart Ilias Zouros has stated time and again that this tournament's team is one for the future, with a number of veteran players staying at home or being left there. Zouros' work in progress will have the ultimate test against a French team bringing back Tony Parker and Joakim Noah who were both rested in France's previous outing.

The last time that Russia needed to qualify for the Olympics they didso by beating World Champions Spain in the final of EuroBasket 2007. If they are to take the same direct qualifying route here then they are going to have to continue the tournament as the only unbeaten team up until the gold medal game.

Fresh off a win over F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Russia also showed they can get the job done without star Andrei Kirilenko who had an off-night shooting.

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Yet despite their unbeaten status, Russia remain wary as they prepare to take on Serbia who only made it this far when Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova missed a buzzer-beater that would have instead put his team in the last eight.

Having arrived to this point in such a fashion Serbia will now be all the more determined not to go home and as Russian Head Coach David Blatt pointed out to media, they will also be all the better for having had a rest day more than the Russians.

from FIBA

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Posts: 89

« Reply #10 on: Sep 07, 2011, 04:15:34 AM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Greetings! Eurobasket of surprises

The first round of the strongest Eurobasket of all time is over and some surprising things have already occurred.

For example, in Group C who could have predicted that Croatia would be already eliminated, that Finland would qualify for the second round with F.Y.R. of Macedonia, and that the latter would dominate Greece for first place!

Group C was wide open from the start and it was only fitting that the third qualifier would squeak through on a three-way point differentiel. Unreal! When I commentate these games on TV I always insist that the final margin is almost as important as the result because when you base the standings on so few games, the point differential is often decisive.

The equally wide open Group D was another case in point, where Georgia sneaked through despite losing its last game to Bulgaria. If point differential is hard to explain to casual basketbal fans, it does make EVERY possession important.

In the second round, Russia and Slovenia should logically emerge as quarter-finalists, led by their NBA stars, Andrei Kirilenko and Goran Dragic. Kiri is dominating the stat sheet for the top notch Russian team that has recuperated its best players and wants a repeat of their amazing 2007 finish. Dragic can't buy a three point shot but is still playing a good all-around game while being significantly helped by Erazem Lorbek the leading scorer and rebounder for a Slovenian team that only lost by one point to powerful Russia. F.Y.R. of Macedonia and Greece should join them in the quarters and the second tour will be themed, in my opinion, by teams jockeying for position in order to avoid Spain in the quarter-finals!

The Spanish demonstration vs. Lithuania and its fans was absolutely incredible. Spain was younger, quicker, and more intense from the opening tip behind a Juanca Navarro festival and the Lithuanians looked like they were running in mud. When you added up the speed and shooting of the outside players with the size and technique of the inside trio of NBA stars, Spain looked unbeatable. Ibaka's second half was so good that coach Scariolo decide he could let Pau Gasol rest his ankle the next day against a resuscitated Turkish team,another surprise entrant who was saved by Great Britain beating Poland the last day. Without Pau and worn out by the short turnaround after the emotional Lithuania win 18 hours earlier, Spain looked human again missing open shots and only scoring TWO points in the fourth quarter, proving that one must be doubly careful vs. a team that dodged elimination miraculously! Maybe Spain got a little overconfident, something they will want to avoid in the second round when they play Germany, Serbia and France!

For me, it is much less clear which teams will qualify for the quarters out of Group E compared to Group F, even though France starts out in the best position after going 5-0 in the first round behind their brillant MVP candidate, Tony Parker and his other NBA pals, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, Joakim Noah etc. France will want to immediately punch its ticket for the quarters vs. Turkey on wednesday in a high pressure battle which arrives a bit rapidly for a tired and beaten up BUT euphoric French squad playing its best basketball since 2005 (bronze medal in Belgrade). The France-Serbia matchup was the best played game(they saved the best for last!) of the first round by far with lots of points,excellent execution,suspense, and spectacular action and it only seemed fitting that the result should be decided on an unlucky miss from close range after Serbia rained in eleven amazing three-pointers! Both teams deserved to win this one but the turning point was when Milos Teodosic was eliminated for five fouls at the end of regulation on a flagrant foul he should have avoided!

For once, France was just as mentally tough and determined as the Serbs which is a good sign for what lies ahead for them. In my opinion, they will qualify with Spain, Serbia and Lithuania but it won't be easy for any of them! What do you think?

by George EDDY from FIBA

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Posts: 73

« Reply #9 on: Sep 03, 2011, 08:57:28 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

EuroBasket - NBA players with key roles

After writing about Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker last week, I would like to go into the key roles that many other NBA players will have at the EuroBasket.

This week I will concentrate on Groups A and B, by far the strongest groups and next week we will look at groups C and D where Russia, Greece, Croatia and Slovenia line up as strong favourites to make the Quarter-Finals.

In powerful Group A, you have the two probable finalists in Spain and Lithuania plus FIBA World Championship finalists from Turkey who emerge as favourites to go to the Second Round.

For Spain,  the top seven players played or will play in the NBA as major actors (not as benchwarmers), which proves their talent level and their shared experience in winning big games since 2004 is unparalleled; they are everyone's favourites!

Playing all but one of their preparation games at home was good for filling the federation's coffers and pleasing the home fans, but we must not forget that their only loss came against Lithuania in Kaunas. Maybe they should have played stronger opponents away from home.

With Linas Kleiza, their best scorer in Turkey, absent, the NBA presence on the Lithuanian team is less important but former NBA players, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Darius Songaila can still take and make money-time shots and Jonas Valanciunas has a brillant future waiting in Toronto and a role to play at the Eurobasket.

The fabulous support of their basketball-loving home crowd should give them wings!

Turkey should qualify as the third team from Group A behind Ersan Ilyasova and Hedo Turkoglou but turning the page on the Bogdan Tanjevic era and the euphoria of last summer's World Championship Final won't be easy as we have seen with Turkey's up and down results during the preparation games.

Chicago's brillant scorer, Luol Deng, will have to move mountains by himself to get Great Britain into the Second Round but it will be fun watching him try.

Group B is by far the most dense with Serbia and France as clear favourites but fighting off Italy and Germany won't be easy.

Serbia, like Lithuania, is more of a European style roster but their results in the last two years speak for themselves. If Milos Teodosic stays a calm leader throughout, he should be the best point guard at the EuroBasket along with Parker.

Tony leads a French team where the top seven players play in or were drafted by NBA teams.

France has by far the greatest athletic potential of all the teams in Lithuania, which can translate into some lockdown defence when needed as in 2005 when they won the bronze in Belgrade.

However, the defensive leader then was the Phoenix Suns' Mickael Pietrus who is injured and will be missed along with the Knick's energetic Ronny Turiaf.

France won nine out of 10 preparation games but only played four tough opponents and six of the wins were too easy. Maybe they should have played more top flight teams at the end of their long preparation schedule.

The pressure will  be on from the get-go because Italy has three NBA stars to build around and Germany has two and these two teams feel that they can go to the Second Round too!

The big question for Italy is, can their trio of NBA shooters share the ball and play enough defence to qualify?

For Germany the question is: can Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman (who will probably score half their team's points) get enough scoring help and quality play from the guards to qualify?

The irony for the teams that qualify for the quarters from Groups A and B is that possibly their toughest opponents will already be behind them, but as we all know, anything can happen when all the marbles are riding on one game!

In any case, the teams in Groups A and B will have to take the competition step by step because being upset by a weaker opponent just one time might mean you don't qualify for the next round! What do you think?

George Eddy from FIBA

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Coach E Smith
Jr. Member
Posts: 399

« Reply #8 on: Aug 18, 2011, 04:30:51 PM »

EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket

Spain scarily good

There will only be two tickets for London up for grabs at this summer's EuroBasket in Lithuania and one of them seems almost pre-stamped for a scary good Spanish squad.

Of course favorites don't always pan out but in Spain's case, there are so many factors in their favor, you just have to bow down to their excellence.

Let's take a look at those factors in the light of their three easy wins against France, Lithuania and Bulgaria to start off their preparation for the upcoming Eurobasket with a bang!

By the way, in those three wins coach Sergio Scariolo played the piano with his roster, limiting the playing time of his biggest stars who were still quite efficient.

He can afford to bring them along slowly in order to reach peak form during the elimination round. For example, Juanca Navarro scored 19 points in 12 minutes in the latest win v Bulgaria on five of seven shooting from three-point land.

Wow! This golden generation of Spanish players has come of age together around the Gasol brothers, Navarro, Rudy Fernandez and Calderon to name a few, and Scariolo had so much talent on hand he left the excellent Barcelona center Fran Vasquez at home.

I know a few national team selections where he would have been the best inside player!

Since this generation has played and won together for so many years, their team chemistry is off the charts and they circulate the ball and hit the open man with their eyes closed! These guys don't take many forced or bad shots and that is the sign of a champion. It's like they have an internal honor code for the group and bad shot selection is just not acceptable.

Okay, you might feel I paint too rosy a picture because in the recent past, sometimes Juanca and Rudy would be competing to be the top dog offensive threat from the wing, but this is only natural in such an elite hyper-competitive setting. Everyone will keep their ego in check for the greater good as they usually do because of the dominance and leadership of Pau Gasol, the ultimate go-to player in European basketball.

Now that his brother Marc is as good as he is, Spain has a double-whammy inside presence and you can make that a triple with the arrival of Serge Ibaka to bring athleticism and shot blocking to the already powerful mix. Not since the golden generation of Yugoslavia ( Divac, Radja, Kukoc ) have we seen such an impressive trio of in the paint superstars.

Spain has all the answers for upcoming defences in Lithuania and a seductive, fan pleasing, spectacular style to boot!. They can play really fast thanks to their quickness and steals on defence or slow the game down and pound the ball inside while surrounding the Gasols ( excellent passers ) with dead-eye three point shooters.

About the only tactic left for opponents is to leave Ricky Rubio open and zone up around the big men with alot of help from Rubio's defender.

That's when Scariolo can go to Calderon, a much better shooter and so on and so forth. This team has no weakness, ah, except maybe one... or two...

They must avoid getting overconfident or complacent and they must avoid arrogance and constant complaining with the referees which we have regretted in the past.

Of course, an upset is always possible but frankly, after lining up all these factors in Spain's favor, I have a hard time believing they won't get a direct ticket to the London Olympic games in September!

by George EDDY from FIBA

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