Pana’s semi-final with Olympiacos was one of the best European games I’ve seen in ages. If I didn’t tie myself down with the BBL Finals in Birmingham, I would of bought a plane ticket to Berlin, and gone straight to the o2 world arena – the atmosphere was incredible!!
Props go to the two Talkbasket reporters who made the journey to Berlin. Great reports and info on the weekend and sounds like they had a blast.
While they were in Berlin, I was in Birmingham – for those who listen to the podcast will know that already. It was the BBL Finals, and four teams were battling it out for the BBL’s biggest prize.
The first day in honesty was a non-event, as both semi-final games were blowouts. The heavily fancied Newcastle Eagles beat Plymouth Raiders comfortably, 93-71. A garbage time 6-0 run at the end of the game made the score a little more respectful, but the game for me was over at half-time.
After a close first quarter where both teams were a little nervy, Newcastle started building their lead and won the quarter 29-14 to take a double digit lead at half-time.
Leicester Riders coach and BBL legend, Rob Paternostro joined us on the press table during the beginning of the game, and was speaking to a person called Dave Forrester, probably one of the most knowledgeable basketball heads I know. Also he’s from Newcastle so he was cheering on the Eagles. Just so you know, I had a journalist by the name of Simon Rushworth sitting the other side of me – also a Geordie. I pick where I want to sit well if you catch my drift! Haha…
The second game was a contest I was actually looking forward to, as Everton Tigers played Leicester Riders – the latter appearing in their first finals weekend since 2001. Riders had a number of seasons occupying the basement positions of the BBL, so it was great to see them in Birmingham, and they had the majority of the support as well. The NIA was a sea of red t-shirts as Leicester fans made the very short drive to England’s second city.
After a close first quarter and a few exchanges in the second, The team from Liverpool stamped their authority on the game and won it 84-68. It was the final most people expected, Eagles v Tigers. The top two teams in the BBL all season, and it was fitting that they lock horns one last time.
Can I mention that despite trying to produce the podcast whilst in my hotel room. I gave up as even with my headphones on full blast, my room had to be directly below the function room, where a loud Indian wedding was taking places – all I can say is they sure know how to celebrate so I went to the bar and practically lived there for the night, and switched channels as the bar man let me have the remote control whilst sinking bottle after bottle of Corona.
I arrived for day two, and no joke was the first press member there, and I was slightly hungover (I have another Geordie to thank for the wake-up call). As I sat down and got myself ready to relax for the all-star game, Dave arrived, seems no-one cared about the all-star game bar me and Dave and we sat back and watched an exciting all out offensive display from GB-BBL and Rest of the World-BBL. Rest of the World won it, don’t know what the score was.
As more people started piling in, both Everton and Newcastle were warming up, I managed to catch up with Plymouth’s Gaylon Moore, great player and a great guy. Hope he’s enjoying his summer off?
Newcastle won the final, 87-84. Evertons Richard Midgley scored 36 points, and set the standard as his 36 was the highest tally of points set by a player in a final. In my view, looking at his stats, he deserved MVP by a country mile – eventhough he was on the losing team. I caught up with BBL and Eagles chairman, Paul Blake after the game, it’s on the pod – if you haven’t heard it.. LISTEN TO IT!
Newcastle further proved their superiority, by taking their third BBL trophy this season, and their fourth playoff success, more than any other BBL side.
I will be doing regular podcasts here on Talkbasket, I want people to get involved in it, at some point, you will get bored of hearing my voice every second, so it would be nice to get others on it too – hit us on [email protected] – It’s the same if you have any ideas or if you want me to cover any European leagues, We’re always out to improve.
I am here also to show you hoop heads that there is a basketball league here in Britain, and rather keep it in the dark, I will try to expose both the British Basketball League and the English Basketball League (the tier below), as much as I can.
Right, I will end this now and give my fingers a rest. Catch you soon.