Home of Basketball Sat, 25 Apr 2015 15:18:05 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Empowering underprivileged children through basketball (pics) Sat, 25 Apr 2015 09:40:58 +0000 California native Nikki Mahoney, after a professional basketball career in Europe, decided to found SPLASH (Sports, Peace, Love, Awareness, Schools, & Humanity), a foundation that aims to help underprivileged children in the world’s worst slums.

Nikki has travelled to over 40 countries and as she states on her Instagram account she is “Traveling the World’s Greatest Places, Seeking Out a City’s Worst Slums, and Empowering its Children through Sports.”

You can check out her blog, where her travels are documented here.

If you wish to know more about SPLASH, click here and if you want to get involved in a variety of ways you can click here.

We will leave you with some pictures of her beautiful Instagram account:

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BC Khimki thrashes Gran Canaria, closes in on second title Sat, 25 Apr 2015 05:45:12 +0000 Khimki Moscow Region is just one step away from its second Eurocup title after drubbing Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 91-66 in Game 1 of the Eurocup Finals on Friday at Gran Canaria Arena.

Khimki hosts Game 2 of the two-game total-points series next week knowing that a win – or a loss by up to 24 points – will make it the 2015 Eurocup champion and hand it a berth in the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season.

Egor Vyaltsev scored a season-high 18 points and Petteri Koponen also netted 18 points, while Paul Davis tallied 17 points and Eurocup MVP Tyrese Rice totaled 13 points and 5 assists for Khimki, which shot at a blistering pace; It’s 72.2% on two-point shots set a Eurocup Finals record.

Khimki also made 47.8% of its threes and outrebounded the hosts 25-34. Kyle Kuric scored 23 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting and Eulis Baez added 18 points and 7 rebounds for Gran Canaria in defeat.

Davis had 10 first-quarter points and got help from Vyaltsev and Rice to give Khimki a 19-21 edge after 10 minutes. Koponen led a 0-8 run, which made it a double-digit game, 19-29. Vyaltsev kept pacing Khimki, but Kuric and a three-point play by Oriol Pauli got Gran Canaria within 33-40 at halftime. Gran Canaria found a go-to guy in Baez, who almost singlehandedly brought the hosts back into the series, 47-49.

Davis stepped up for Khimki and a buzzer-beating jumper by Koponen restored a 54-59 lead after 30 minutes. Vyaltsev made a pair of threes and Koponen scored 7 points in a 1-16 charge to open the fourth quarter as Khimki ran away with the game – and possibly, the series.

Khimki coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:

“I’m really happy that we had one of the best games of our season in the final. It’s like a double victory. I want to thank our players, because we had a lot of problems with injuries, but everyone that was on the court gave 100% effort and the result was what you saw. Now I think we have really good chances with the last game at home and this 25-point advantage. We must focus because we took this first step towards the cup and must take the second one. This game is history and we have to look to the future and have the same effort that we had in this game. I don’t think it will be a problem to have the players concentration. ”

Gran Canaria coach Aito Reneses Garcia:

“First of all, congratulations to Khimki. They played much better than us and that is the most important thing. We can analyze the mistakes we made, but the most important thing is that they played much better than us. Our main mistakes were to start the game with too much respect, which didn’t allow us to play at our usual level when we were fresh. They took advantage of it and that was our first mistake. Then we have to agree that we arrived in a bad physical condition at the end of the game. Their physical power and speed allowed them to break the game, hitting 7 of 8 three-point shots in the fourth quarter. There was a moment, midway through the fourth quarter, in which the team was frustrated. I tried to tell them that this game was not the end of the series and that nothing was lost by losing at home, but the team was frustrated. What we have to do when you reach a final in such a big competition, and you play against a team that does as well as Khimki did, you don’t have to be sad. I gave my players an example: if I play a chess game against any of you and win, I can be very happy, but if I lose against the world champion, do I have to be sad? It is logical to lose. We have to use this to learn; we don’t have the physical strength, speed or talent that some of their players have, but we have use this to learn and avoid keeping our head down with this loss.”

Source: Eurocup Basketball

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Hezonja will declare for NBA Draft Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:42:55 +0000

It was announced today by Jonathan Givony that Mario Hezonja will declare for this year’s NBA Draft. Though he might not become the first pick as he has claimed recently.

The 20-year-old Croatian prodigy became a regular member of Barcelona’s first team last season. Hezonja averaged 7.7 points per game in Euroleague this season and just 1.6 the year before.

Hezonja is expected be a Top 10 pick this year. According to various mock drafts he’s projected to a 7th overall pick.

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Messina on the list for Oklahoma City Thunder Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:31:36 +0000

Ettore Messina could become the first European head coach in the NBA. reports that he is on the list of candidates to replace Scott Brooks.

UConn coach Kevin Ollie and Florida coach Billy Donovan are reportedly at the top of the Thunders GM Sam Presti’s list of potential candidates. Ollie, however, declared that he’s staying with UConn Huskies.

Since the beginning of this season Messina is an assistant coach of Gregg Popovich. It’s his second time in the NBA. Messina has also worked as a consultant for Mike Brown at the Los Angeles Lakers.

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European Domestic Leagues send official letter to FIBA Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:44:51 +0000

The principal domestic leagues around the continent have agreed to send the following official communication to FIBA Secretary General Mr. Patrick Baumann:

Dear Patrick,

ECA and its Domestic League Shareholders (the undersigned) gathered in Barcelona, Spain on 15 April 2015, and agreed to send this letter expressing their remarks and a common position regarding the “FIBA Competition System and Calendar as of 2017”, within the April 2015 deadline given by you in the letter sent on 23 January 2015.

•National Teams are an important part of basketball and must be supported by ECA, its Domestic Leagues and Clubs as they have been for the past 15 years.

•Clubs form the base and foundation of all basketball activity worldwide. As a result they must be represented and involved in all decisions that have an impact on their activity.

•ECA, its Domestic Leagues and Clubs reject the scheduling of National Team games during the club calendar. The draft windows during the club calendar are unacceptable as a result of this.

•A solution has been found by FIBA with regards to the NBA and its Clubs participation in the FIBA Competition System and Calendar as of 2017. ECA and its Domestic Leagues request to sit down once more with FIBA in order to find a suitable solution, maintaining the principles that are shared by all basketball stakeholders.

•Clubs activity generates the large majority of the entire basketball business, and it is the Clubs who take care of player’s welfare. National Federations must respect the clubs activity and continue to take care of player’s welfare by:

Ensuring at least one month’s complete rest for all players worldwide; establishing a global insurance program for National Team training, games and competitions; sharing revenues from National Team Competitions with clubs in order to compensate their player’s release as is already the case in other team sports.

We look forward to the above remarks being addressed in a prompt and timely manner, and remain available for any further clarifications as necessary.

Best regards,


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Final Four line-up set, Euroleague QF round up Thu, 23 Apr 2015 22:02:38 +0000 Olympiacos progressed to the Euroleague Final Four by ousting Barcelona 71-68 in a thrilling tie in Piraeus, thus winning the series 3-1.

And it was shades of the 2012 championship game as Georgios Printezis hit a game-winner on the buzzer to send the Catalan side packing. But while nothing may top his floater against CSKA Moscow, three years ago, the Greek star has given his side a shot of repeating a similar feat in Madrid.

“When the ball came to me, I didn’t have the time to think about,” Printezis explained. “I just shot it and God helped it to go in. The main reason we are here is because we have strong character and we can beat any team playing good or playing bad.”

Vassilis Spanoulis led Olympiacos with 17 points as the Greeks advance to their third Final Four in five years.

“It’s all about a huge success,” Spanoulis said. “I think that we deserved to advance to the Final Four and I am looking forward to playing there and fighting for the best possible result. We proved that we can beat any opponent, not only in a single game but in a series as well.

“The turning point for us was the way we lost game one there. We have been very frustrated because of our bad performance and the defeat hurt our egos. Barcelona is a great team and you have to be very strong in order to beat them three times in a row.”

Ante Tomic led Barca with 13 points.

While there was despair for Barcelona, there was joy for their rivals Real Madrid who aim to make it third time lucky as they went through to the Final Four, thanks to a 76-63 win over Anadolu Efes in Istanbul.

Real Madrid won the series 3-1 and will appear in their third straight Final Four.

“We had incredible success as a team,” Real coach Pablo Laso stated. “We are really very happy. We fought really hard from the beginning till the end. Anadolu Efes also did the same. They performed extremely well in defence all series. We moved the ball really well in offense and made the right choices in the second half. This was the key for the win.”

Rudy Fernandez led Madrid with 17 points with Sergio Llull adding 14 points and five assists as they overturned a 39-33 half-time deficit into a 51-49 lead at the end of third. The Liga Endesa side and last year’s Euroleague runners-up struggled to keep pace with their Turkish counterparts until they retreated to the locker room and began the second half.

From there, Real Madrid played sublime basketball and now get the chance to play at their home venue, becoming the first team since Panathinaikos in 2007 to compete in a “home” Final Four.

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Tyrese Rice moves from Final Four to Eurocup MVP award Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:52:33 +0000

Every time Khimki Moscow Region needed a go-to guy this season, playmaker Tyrese Rice was there to make the difference. Rice has been unstoppable all season as he led Khimki to the Eurocup Finals. His great performances night in, night out throughout the season have not only given Khimki a chance to win its second Eurocup title, but earned Rice the honor as the Eurocup Most Valuable Player for the 2014-15 season. Rice led Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague title last season, during which he claimed Final Four MVP honors, and he has carried his personal momentum into the 2014-15 season as a dominant player in the Eurocup. He started all of his team’s 22 games entering the Eurocup Finals and scored in double figures in 20 of them, including the last 13 showdowns. Rice leads the 2014-15 Eurocup in total performance index rating (410) and points (378) and is second in fouls drawn (105). He is also second in per-game scoring (17.2 ppg.) and fourth in index rating (18.6). Highlighting his MVP tendencies, Rice stepped up in the most important games; he recorded the best accumulated index and scoring average in both the quarterfinals (22.5 ppg., 24.5 PIR) and semifinals (25 ppg., 22.5 PIR) in leading Khimki to the Eurocup Finals. For always being there for his team and getting better as the season progressed, Tyrese Rice is Euroleague Basketball’s choice as this year’s Eurocup MVP!

The Eurocup MVP is part of an awards structure that recognizes the finest Eurocup players for their efforts on the court throughout the season. Rice’s selection was made by a panel of Euroleague Basketball’s in-house experts based on his and his team’s performances during the Eurocup regular season, Last 32 and elimination rounds. Statistics and performance index ratings were taken into consideration for the award, but did not alone determine the winner. The list of previous Eurocup MVPs includes last season’s winner, Andrew Goudelock of Unics Kazan, 2013 MVP Nick Calathes of Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 2012 MVP Patrick Beverley of Spartak St. Petersburg, 2011 MVP Dontaye Draper of Cedevita Zagreb, 2010 MVP Marko Banic of Bizkaia Bilbao Basket and 2009 MVP Chuck Eidson of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Goudelock is scheduled to lead Khimki into Game 1 of the Eurocup Finals on Friday in Gran Canaria. The second and last game of the finals is set for the following Wednesday, April 29, in Khimki.

Rice let there be no doubt regarding his abilities from the very beginning of the season; he scored 16 points in Khimki’s season opener against VEF Riga and 22 in a road win at Union Olimpija Ljubljana. Rice reached the 20-point mark three more times during the regular season – twice against Zenit St. Petersburg and once more against VEF in the Latvian capital. Rice made 65.6% of his two-point shots and 87.5% of his free throw attempts to average 15.6 points and 4.9 assists for the regular season. Rice opened the Last 32 with a 25-point performance against FoxTown Cantu. He kept scoring in bunches throughout the Last 32, while boosting his assist average to 6.3 in those six games and hitting 47.8% of his three-point shots. When the elimination rounds started, Rice knew it was crunch time and brought out his best basketball. He had 22 points and 6 assists in Game 1 of the eighthfinals against Zenit and sent Khimki to the next round with another strong performance – 15 points and 7 fouls drawn – in Game 2. When Khimki visited Valencia Basket in the quarterfinals after being eliminated by the same team last season, Rice was ready, leading his team to a 75-76 win with 27 points. He added 18 points and 10 assists in Game 2 to launch Khimki to the semifinals. Rice showed no mercy against Banvit, scoring 22 points in Bandirma and 28 at home to seal Khimki’s ticket to the Eurocup Finals.

Source: Eurocup

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Eurocup Final: Gran Canaria vs BC Khimki – the “forgotten” climax Thu, 23 Apr 2015 11:30:07 +0000 It’s a fixture that has been overlooked over the last three weeks, mainly due to the Euroleague quarter-finals taking place, but Gran Canaria and BC Khimki will lock horns in the first leg of the Eurocup final on Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Eurocup, the prestige of their finale itself has been lost not just with the business end of the Euroleague season in progress but with the game being played over two legs, instead of the excitement of a one game showdown, fought at a neutral venue.

Last season, Valencia were crowned Eurocup champions after defeating Unics Kazan over two legs. But the damage was done after the first quarter of the second leg, as the Liga Endesa side won the opening tie 80-67 then romped the first ten minutes of the second game 16-4, leaving Unics with a double-digit deficit not only on the night but also on aggregate.

From there, the game was a non-event. Everyone inside the Basket Hall Arena in Kazan knew that the game was up.

But the main point is that finals; or showpiece games should never be decided over two legs, as it ruins the entire stature of the game overall. A meaningless final is risked if the first leg is a blowout.

In any event, BC Khimki have maintained Russia’s consistency in the competition’s main event by being involved for five straight seasons.

They just don’t want a repeat of what happened to Unics Kazan last season.

Gran Canaria will appear in a Eurocup final for the first time in their history and it is a richly deserved honour. They have only tasted defeat once in 22 games this season and one of the key components to their success in the tournament, Walter Taveres believes that his side have to be smarter and up their intensity in order to qualify for next season’s Euroleague.

“Our main weapon has been team work, all season long,” Taveres said. “We play really well as a team, especially on defence. Another big key is being able to be really focused, be 100 percent into the game from the very beginning of it.

“We play with a lot of intensity and we hope to be in the best physical condition we can to do that in both games, be as aggressive and tough as possible so that our defence make them feel uncomfortable.”

The first leg will be played in Gran Canaria on Friday with the second tie in the Moscow Region on Wednesday.

Quotes by Javier Gancedo.

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CSKA punch second 2015 Final Four ticket, Euroleague QF round up Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:41:08 +0000 CSKA Moscow produced a defensive masterpiece in routing Panathinaikos 74-55 Wednesday at Olympic Sports Center Athens to win their best-of-five playoffs series 3-1 and take a spot at the 2015 Euroleague Final Four.

Nando De Colo led all scorers with 18 points, while Andrei Kirilenko added 13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, Kyle Hines scored 12 and Sonny Weems 11 for the winners.

Nikos Pappas paced Panathinaikos with 11 points, Loukas Mavrokefalidis and James Gist added 10 each and Dimitris Diamantidis tallied nine points and five assists in defeat.

“I think we got the message in Game three when Panathinaikos really came out hard in the second quarter, tied the game, and then in the third quarter came out with high intensity,” said CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis.

“They had really good ball movement and made a lot of shots. We did not give them that opportunity today. I think that 55 points we allowed today in their home, with such great atmosphere, speaks that we are also a good defensive team.”

The Russian giants went on to limit Panathinaikos to 12 points or less in three quarters in a game where they never trailed after the third minute.

Andrei Kirilenko, who is now finding his form since his move back to CSKA from the NBA dominated early to give his side a double-digit lead in the first quarter.

James Gist helped Panathinaikos get back within three in the second quarter, which ended at 32-37. A Nikos Pappas triple made it 41-45 in the third quarter, but a 0-13 CSKA run essentially put the game out of reach and CSKA marched towards the victory and a ticket to Madrid.

“I don’t know if CSKA is a better team than Panathinaikos, but at the end of the day they beat us and usually the better teams wins,” Gist admitted afterwards.

“Unfortunately, we played two very bad games in Moscow and we allowed them to build the 2-0 deficit. We improved our game here and managed to beat them once, but tonight was very tough.” contributed to this report.

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Janning wins it, while Olympiacos hold advantage, Euroleague QF round up Wed, 22 Apr 2015 09:40:22 +0000 Olympiacos turned their series around by beating Barcelona 73-71 in an exciting game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus.

Olympiacos now take a vital 2-1 lead in the series and could stamp their ticket to the Euroleague Final Four if they win game four on Thursday.

Tomas Satoransky hit two three-pointers to get Barcelona in front, but very quickly, Olympiacos seized control with Bryant Dunston scoring as they took advantage of the bad offensive choices their opponents had, 12-10.

The two sides were trading blows until Olympiacos went on a 6-0 run with Vassilis Spanoulis and Dimitrios Agravanis, to finally end the opening quarter in front 26-23.

The second quarter lacked the quick pace that the first ten minutes witnessed and the two teams tried to put the ball inside the paint.

Georgios Printezis’ shot behind the arc gave the home side a 33-27 advantage but when Juan Carlos Navarro returned, Barca had the better of the play and they tied the game at 36-36.

Ante Tomic commited his third foul one minute before the end of the half and a new 8-0 run this time from Olympiacos, sent the two teams to the locker room and the hosts up 44-36.

Printezis scored the first points of the third to give Olympiacos a double-digit lead but Justin Doellman was the one who found the solutions that his team needed to return and with six personal points and as a result Barcelona had the edge right before the 30 minute mark 60-59.

But Olympiacos were the more assured of the two team and despite late Barca heroics, the Reds came away with the vital win.

After the game coach Barcelona coach Xavi Pasqual stated that both teams could have won this one,

“It was a complicated game, we had good and bad moments but we must be more stable, but I am satisfied with my player’s attempts,” he said.

Olympiacos coach Giannis Sfairopoulos appeared very happy after the big win: “We had control of the game, we were a better team and we got a fair and square win, “ he said.

He also thanked Olympiacos’ fans mentioning that they boosted his team towards the win. Finally he stated: “It is very important for me that we play as a team and I don’t care who scores the most points, I want everyone to contribute.

We won because of our good defense both away and at home and we will be ready for the next game.”

Anadolu Efes gave themselves hope in the race for a Final Four spot as Matt Janning’s game-winner gave them a 75-72 win over Real Madrid.

Jaycee Carroll had tied the game up with a three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left but Anadolu went down court and Janning let fly from deep and it dropped straight in.

“It feels great,” Janning admitted afterwards. “Obviously we’re still alive. All we had to do was come here and win a game and we did that. Now we just [got to] focus on getting another one on Thursday. I think if we play like we did tonight, we can compete with them for two more games, so that’s what our goal is. ”

“My team is growing up game by game,” Anadolu Efes coach Dusan Ivkovic said. “On his three, we were supposed to make the foul, but Carroll scored. But the gods are looking down, and they know we are working well and great, and they helped us score the last three.”

Janning led Anadolu with 21 points but they still trail the series 2-1.

John Hobbs contributed to this report.

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