Tag: Eurobasket

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Highlights from France’s European championship win over Lithuania

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With this game opposite a slate of NFL football on a Sunday afternoon, not a lot of you were likely doing what I did — stream the game at home and watch it.

So for you, here are the highlights from France’s 80-66 win over Lithuania, which gave France its first ever European championship. Parker had 12 for France, but it was really Nicolas Baturm who led France’s 18-3 second quarter run that gave them a comfortable lead they never surrendered. Boris Diaw chipped in 15 for France.

As he should have been for his two-week performance, Tony Parker was named EuroBasket’s MVP.

Enjoy these highlights, because it’s the last really competitive basketball you will see until Oct. 29 (no, we are not counting preseason games as competitive).

Turiaf’s hand has healed, he’s ready whenever season starts

Ronny Turiaf, Mike D'Antoni
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It’s one of the risks of playing for your country — injuries.

Ronny Turiaf was supposed to play for France in EuroBasket, but he broke his hand in a tune-up game against Great Britain. The good news for Knicks fans is that the Energizer Bunny off the bench told NBA.com his hand is nearly healed and he’s ready to go whenever the league is.

“I’m out for another week or so and am just waiting to see if the fracture is fully healed or not and then I should be good to go,” Turiaf said.

“I really don’t have any other choice, so it’s not something I think about if it’s hard or not to not play. It’s not by choice and is now just a chance for me to deal with the adversity. And when I fall down I’m going to get up and run at you even faster, so I have no doubt that something great will come from my play in the long run.”

Say what you will about Turaif, do not doubt his desire and ability to come back.

The Knicks need a big man who can be the anchor on defense and on the boards to pair with their starters. Turiaf is a fantastic guy to have coming off the bench for 15-20 minutes a night, bringing energy. He’s a great guy to have brining his energy to practice and not letting guys coast. You just have to not expand his role beyond what he can do.

NBA draftees at EuroBasket: Kanter looks good, Rubio not so much

Spain's basketball player Ricky Rubio talks to the media after the presentation of the Spanish basketball team for the upcoming Eurobasket 2011 championships at Madrid's Arena
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We tried to watch as much of EuroBasket as we could, and when the games were on our eyes were were drawn to recent NBA draftees who have not been in the league. Frankly, I know Pau Gasol is amazingly skilled. I know Joakim Noah can defend. I know Tony Parker is dangerous when he gets in the lane.

But I don’t know much about Enes Kanter (of the Jazz) or Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors), and the book was out on Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves)?

So what did I think?

Ricky Rubio (Spain): Rubio came off the bench for the eventual champions, shot 23 percent for the tournament and averaged 1.5 points and 2.3 assists per game. It’s safe to say he was unimpressive.

To be fare, part of that was the Spanish system — Rubio’s job was to feed the Gasol brothers inside, hit Juan Carlos Navarro curling off a screen and not do much else but stand as a jump shooting decoy nobody thought would get a pass back. The system called to slow it down and Rubio is built for transition (please take note of that Rick Adelman).

That said, there is reason for concern. Both last season with Barcelona and this summer his development seems to have stagnated, and he has to develop some kind of steady jumper to impact the NBA game. Things are not as bad as some T-Wolves fans fear — Rubio is a good defender, is 6’5” and still has crazy passing skills. But his game has got to develop and this should make the folks in Minnesota a little concerned.

Enes Kanter (Turkey): A Turkish assistant coach ripped him, but he didn’t look too bad to these eyes. It seemed to match up with the scouting report the wise Sebastian Pruitti put out there a while back — his one-one-one skills are impressive and show potential at both ends, but his recognition and reaction to team play are slow. He is not a great help defender, he doesn’t recognize and hit the open player on a pass out of the post as often or quickly as he should.

But he shot 59 percent and drew a lot of fouls. He looked like a guy who could develop into something impressive, a guy who could force the Jazz to see if Paul Millsap can play the three in a couple years. But that is another issue for another day.

Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania): Raptors fans should be smiling. Big smiles. The best proof is that in the first game of EuroBasket Valanciunas played only a handful of minutes at the end of a blowout win, but by the end he was playing key minutes for a veteran-heavy team. Valanciunas shot 66 percent for the tournament, can rebound and is a wicked finisher on the pick and roll.

There are issues — turnovers and the deer-in-headlights look when the double team arrived on the block — but there is a lot to like and a lot of potential in this 19-year-old. He may be the biggest steal of this draft (and he only fell to No. 5).

Spain wins European championship behind Gasol brothers

Spain's celebrate their victory at the e
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Spanish basketball fans should buy Mr. and Mrs. Gasol a dinner and a nice bottle of wine.

It’s because of their sons — Pau and Marc Gasol — that Spain is the champions of European basketball for the second time in a row. Spain beat France 98-85 in the championship game of EuroBasket Sunday to earn the title. France and Spain both earned automatic berths into the 2012 London Olympics by reaching the finals, which in and of itself is a huge win for France.

Pau Gasol had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the title game and was the steady force throughout the tournament. Mark Gasol had 11 points, six rebounds and two blocks against France.

The tournament MVP however went to former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro, and deservedly so. He had 27 points in the final game and outplayed Tony Parker (who had 25 and carried the French offense throughout the tournament). Navarro had 25 or more points in all of Spain’s elimination games.

The French team is loaded with NBA talent — Joakim Noah had 11 points but fouled out, Boris Diaw had 12 and Nicolas Batum had 10.

Russia, Macedonia, Greece and Lithuania all did well enough this tournament to earn berths in the pre-Olympic second chance qualifying tournament next July. That tournament features the countries from around the globe that just missed out on earning a berth this year fighting for one of three last-chance spots in the games.

EuroBasket: Spain, France earn Olympic berths with victories

Juan Carlos Navarro
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Spain, the silver medal team in Beijing who gave the United States all it could handle in the gold medal game, will be back for the London Olympics. They will be joined by a French team led by Tony Parker and Joakim Noah.

Friday Spain and France won their games to advance to the finals of EuroBasket. Both teams want the European championship, but they have gotten the two automatic bids from the continent to the Olympics.

Here are some breakdowns:

Spain 92, Macedonia 80: Macedonia’s team reminded me a little bit of the 2000 Philadelphia 76ers — they played fantastic defense and counted on one small, quick guard to create a lot of their offense. Then eventually they ran into just too talented a team.

Macedonia led by one at the half, 45-44, and it felt like an upset. Bo McCalebb had carried the Macedonian offense to the semifinals and he had 25 in this game.

But he was not the best guard on the floor, that was Juan Carlos Navarro. He took over in the second half scoring 19 third quarter points and finishing with 35. Pau Gasol finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

Macedonia still had a fantastic tournament and will be in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament next summer, a second chance to surprise some teams and sneak into the games.

France 79, Russia 71: Russia’s strategy was to give Tony Parker jump shots, not let him penetrate. It was pretty successful, but Parker still hit 9-of-20 shots on his way to 23 points, and nobody accounted for Nicolas Batum, who had 19 points on 8 shots.

France plays good defense, if they get enough offense they are hard to beat. If Parker’s jumper is falling at a decent rate they are hard to beat. Both those things happened, Russia could not maintain floor balance with their defense and the result is France going on to the Olympics.

Andrei Kirilenko had 21 points and Timofey Mozgov had 12 for a Russian team headed to the pre-qualifying tournament next summer (where they should be a favorite to get one of the last-chance Olympic spots).

The Spain against France final should be interesting. Spain has a long front line — Marc and Pau Gasol as well as Serge Ibaka — but their help rotations have been spotty this year. If Parker can get into the lane he can cause trouble for them. Spain is the favorite, they crushed France in a friendly this summer. (You can throw out Spain beating France at EuroBasket, Parker and other key French players sat that one out.)