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Author Topic: § EuroBasket & European Basketball Tournaments News & Analysis • Análisis Torneos Europeos de Baloncesto y Eurobasket  (Read 529794 times)
Posts: 89

« Reply #10 on: Sep 07, 2011, 06:15:34 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, 10:57:28 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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Posts: 399

« Reply #8 on: Aug 18, 2011, 06:30:51 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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Posts: 77

« Reply #7 on: Jul 30, 2011, 10:42:18 PM »

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

FIBA clears NBA players to play abroad during lockout

FIBA has confirmed it will approve the transfer of players under contract with the NBA deciding to play for clubs of FIBA affiliated leagues during the on-going lockout.

During a lockout NBA players who continue to be under contract with an NBA team are free to play anywhere they want, whether for their national teams and/or for club teams.

If an NBA player requests to play for a club of a FIBA affiliated league, the NBA will not object but will state that the player will have to return to his NBA team as soon as the lockout ends. Consequently, FIBA will deliver a letter of clearance subject to the receipt of a declaration signed by the player, stating that he will return to his NBA team when the lockout is over.

“As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labour dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled,” said FIBA Secretary General and IOC member, Patrick Baumann.

“In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account,” he added.

“We are delighted to see that, in spite of widespread doubts related to the lockout, National Teams competing in this summer’s Olympic Qualifiers will be able to count on the participation of most of their NBA stars.”

Any NBA player deciding to play during the lockout, does so at his own risk, notably if he sustains an injury.

FIBA has stated that it is up to the clubs to decide whether or not they shall sign a waiver clearing them of any responsibility towards the player in case of injury and other reasons preventing him from returning to the NBA and from fulfilling his obligations vis-à-vis his NBA team.

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Posts: 99

« Reply #6 on: Apr 09, 2011, 01:48:51 AM »

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

Here come the batmen!

At the beginning of the third quarter of the Euroleague quarter-final decider between Real Madrid and Power Electronics Valencia on Thursday night, an 11th player entered the game.

A bat began to dart this way and that, dipping as low as eye level for the players.

The ball flew through the air, but so did the bat.

Valencia's players might have believed that was a good sign for their team because the bat is the symbol of their city.

There are bats on manhole covers in Valencia, above the town hall, on team shirts - everywhere.

What they may not have realized, though, is the affinity Madrid's players have with that winged creature.

"That's our lucky bat," Clay Tucker said.

"We practiced with bats all week long.

"Once the bat came, I told everyone we were going to win."

So, while Manu Ginobili swatted a bat to the court while playing for San Antonio last season in an NBA game and earned the nickname Batman, there was no chance of his Argentina teammate, Real Madrid point guard Pablo Prigioni, doing the same.

Maybe the bat just wanted to be a part of history because Madrid wrote a famous chapter in theirs by beating Valencia 66-58 on Thursday to win the five-game series, 3-2, and reach the Final Four.

The last 10 minutes were something you won't soon forget, but would like to.

It was ugly.

Like an NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago on a bitterly cold Sunday in January, it was a defensive struggle with the last period ending 8-7 in favor of Madrid.

All that mattered for Madrid was their victory.

It had been 15 years since the famous club had reached the Final Four.

The coach everyone expected to take Madrid to Barcelona was Ettore Messina, but he upped ship and left after a home demolition at the hands of Montepaschi Siena at the end of the Top 16.

The loss didn't impact Real Madrid in the standings as they had already clinched top spot, but Messina rightly pointed out that if fans are going to spend time and money to watch the team play, they deserve the best the players have to offer and against Montepaschi that night, maybe they hadn't given their best.

Messina's departure could have done two things.

It could have sent the club into a tailspin, or helped unify the players and fans, which is what he said he hoped would happen.

As the 3-2 series triumph over Valencia suggests, Messina's exit did the latter.

It brought everyone closer together.

"Messina's a great coach," said Tucker, one of the players left stunned by the coach's departure.

"He's a great person on and off the court and you can't take anything away from that.

"He made the decision to walk away from the team and we couldn't do anything about that.

"We respected his decision.

"But it did help us mentally in coming together as a team.

"With that happening, it prepared us for this (five-game series) and we were ready to get through it."

The man that deserves a lot of credit for Madrid reaching the Final Four is Emanuele Molin, Messina's longtime assistant.

Instead of leaving with his boss and good friend, Molin told Madrid he wanted to finish the job that Messina had started.

"It was a very strange situation for him," Tucker admitted.

"Messina and Molin had been together for what, 20 years?

"The one thing about Molin stepping in and taking his place, we kept the same system.

"Had another coach come in, it probably would have taken us a little bit more time to get used to it.

"So we were fortunate to have Molin step in."

One other thing that saved Madrid is the passion that exists at the club.

Madrid basketball is historically important, and you felt that during this entire five-game series.

They won two of the three games at the Caja Magica and also came from behind and won Game 3 at Valencia.

Everyone was at Game 5 on Thursday night, including club president Florentino Perez and football superstar Ronaldo.

The most important figures, though, were the banner-waving, drum-beating Madristas.

They created an awesome, ear-splitting atmosphere.

It was loud, intimidating.

The noise was continuous and gave the Madrid players a lift.

There were also the journalists of Madrid, some of whom Messina took a parting shot at when he left the club.

There were hugs in the mixed zone because those journalists had seen the basketball team play second fiddle to Barcelona for so many years.

"It made a huge difference," Tucker said.

"The fans really came out and supported us.

"We packed the house tonight and like you said, that ugly fourth quarter got us through."

At least one aim has been accomplished for the season.

Madrid has ended their long spell without a Final Four appearance.

"With the way this club is, and the surrounds, I'm amazed they haven't been to the Final Four in such a long time," Tucker said.

"But every team goes through a stretch where they don't get any championships, in the Super Cup or the ACB or getting to the Final Four.

"Now that we've got past that stage, it's up to us to go and try to win the Final Four."

Jeff Taylor from FIBA

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