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Sunday, May 9th, 2010 at 3:18 pm  |  19 responses

Euroleague Final Stage Live Blog!

It’s Ricky Rubio vs. Josh Childress for the Euroleague title.

by Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures

Ricky Rubio will be wearing an NBA jersey two seasons from now. Josh Childress might beat him by a year. But in all of the press conferences leading up to tonight, neither have muttered those three letters; they have some things to take care of in France first. Either Ricky’s Barcelona or Childress’ Olympiacos is 40 minutes away from a spot atop the European basketball world as the Euroleague championship tips off tonight. It should be a fun one. For any questions you may have regarding personnel, please refer to your Euroleague Player Guide.

FIRST QUARTER

A quick three by Kleiza from the wing. Rubio answers with a deuce. Next trip down it’s a Teodosic two. Not to be outdone, Pete Mickeal strokes one for Barcelona. So yeah, I think we might see some scoring in this one. With teams that averaged 58% shooting in a combined 42 games, I’d expect nothing less.

Kleiza should think twice before trying to dunk on Fran Vazquez. Now he’s clutching his hip. So maybe thrice.

Gianluca Basile steps inside the three-point line for the first time all season. Wait a minute, sources are telling me it may be the second time. We’ll have to go to video review. It ended well though, as Terence Morris drills it in with two hands on the baseline. Those are the types of bunnies that left him with an 82% shooting mark this year from inside the arc.

It’s 28-19 in favor of Barcelona at the end of the first. Oly/Barca combined to go 6/10 from three-ville and Barcelona didn’t turn it over once. Oly needs to step it up a bit on defense. Not their forte, but unfortunately an inescapable part of basketball games (defense, that is).

SECOND QUARTER

The Barcelona fútbol team walks in through the tunnel as the second gets underway and they draw one of the biggest ovations of the night. Can’t I have just one romantic weekend alone in Paris with basketball? Lionel Messi is hoop-blockin’.

Kickin' it in Paris.Theo Papaloukas just made JC Navarro look stupid silly on the break. Vujcic picks up the loose ball and gets it going on the break, shovels it aside to Theo who inside-outs Navarro and yams all over the place. Either there’s something in the water or it’s 2006. One or the other.

Side note: aforementioned break was started by an Olympiacos steal. Their first turnover forced all night. Took them 15 minutes to do it. If you wait around for Barcelona to make mistakes, it probably won’t happen guys.

Fran Vazquez is channeling his inner-Serge Ibaka. Five blocks already and it’s not even halftime.

Ricard Rubio steals one in the backcourt and lays it in. The first pocket he picked belonged to Ramunas Siskauskas. This time Papaloukas is the victim. Legends, both. Not exactly padding his stats against Bert and Ernie.

Vazquez has his piggyback ride atop Big Sofo cut short by the whistle.

Rubio gets what was coming to him: ripped in the backcourt himself. Childress was the aggressor, Ioannis Bourousis drops it in with nobody around.

It’s 47-36 Barcelona with 21.3 seconds left until the half and here comes Pat Beverley, aka Euro-Mario West.

A Childress steal and a quarter-court heave leaves us at 47-36. Halftime.

HALFTIME

Here comes the ‘future of European basketball’ as the All-Tournament team from this weekend’s Nike Juniors accept their awards. The PA Announcer needs to give it a rest though: “And now…and now Insep is lifting their trophy…because they are…the winners! From Paris! The locals, they will be playing for great European clubs one day. Like Olympiacos or Regal Barcelona, both of those clubs. And very many…other clubs! In Europe!” We get it, big guy.

Barcelona: Navarro 12, Mickeal 10, Rubio 7.

Olympiacos: Bourousis 9, Teodosic 7, Papaloukas 8

THIRD QUARTER

Anyone have a Richter scale handy? Sofo sives on the floor for the loose ball, scoops it into Josh’s hands and he goes baseline for the bucket. Olymiacos cuts the lead a much more manageable 7.

I don’t think Scoonie Penn and Victor Sada think much of each other. So that brings the “People who don’t think Scoonie is super awesome” count to 1.

Leads still at 7, 52-45 after Kleiza and Mickeal trade hoops. 5:29 to go in the quarter.

Just saw an Olympiacos baby. On its (A baby can be an ‘it’ right?) ears, a pair of giant headphones. That’s what I call loving parents.

If you let him chill around the rim, his N’Dong is bound to be all up in your Boniface, Ioannis. And one. A Bonified three-point play.

Navarro hits a little running, floater-ish, hook shot thing. I want to say his ‘trademark’ move, but he shows me something different every time he leaves his feet.

Kleiza comes down on the other end and posts up Morris. Pumps, pivots, puts it in. If it has a name, Giannakis should call that play more often.

64-50 at the end of the third. Not looking good for Linas and Co.

FOURTH QUARTER

Rubio gets thing going with a rip and a lay-up on the other end. Milos Teodosic jogs a few steps behind and watches him toss it off the window. Maybe somebody should let him know this is the Euroleague Final. How about some hustle, Mr. MVP?

So I hear that kid from the Twilight movie is starring in the new Stretch Armstrong movie. Depending on how far along they are in production, Boniface should get a look. Elastic-armed block on Sofoklis. Nasty.

Just handed in my ballot for Final Four MVP. Rubio if Barcelona closes the deal, Childress if Olympiacos has a miraculous 5:09. Rubio’s had a quiet night tonight and only dished two assists, but I can’t vote for Navarro after his ice cold semifinal. It is a cumulative award after all. Also considered Pete Mickeal who has 14 tonight and had 8 in the first quarter against CSKA. He was absent for the next three periods though, so Rubio gets the hardware almost by default. My guess is my fellow media men will give it to Navarro. That just seemed like the boring move.

Even after watching nearly every game of his Atlanta career, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him this heated. The mouth guard has saved ESPN some ‘bleeps.’

Rubio hasn’t played since I voted him as my MVP. If these other guys start piling stats, it might end up looking like a premature decision. And he has the warm-ups on. Not good for me.

The M-V-P chants are raining down on Navarro as he shoots his free throws. I wonder how Milos Teodosic feels about this one.

He probably feels worse after missing that three. We’re under a minute and an Erazem Lorbek long one makes it 86-65.

Can someone please get a picture of Ricky Rubio sitting on Fran Vazquez’s shoulders? I have a feeling we’ll be seeing that one on Euroleague.net tomorrow morning.

And a 3, and a 2, and a 1…Regal Barcelona finishes their season with an amazing record of 21-2. Now the conversation begins: is this the best team in European history? There’s certainly an argument.

PA Announcer: We are aware Barcelona won. We are aware Olympiacos lost which makes them ‘the second best team in Europe.’ Chill. Let the moment breathe for a minute.

Kleiza didn’t like the feel of that silver around his neck. Took it off instantly.

And your Final Four MVP is…Juan Carlos Navarro. So that’s a Euroleague MVP, a championship and a Final Four MVP in two years since his voluntary departure from Memphis. I doubt he has any regrets. This is Juan’s second title, but the 2003 squad belonged to the legendary Dejan Bodiroga. Now Juan’s got one all to himself. He’ll never say it, but that has to feel terrific.

Freddie Mercury to the rescue! “We Are the Champions” drowns out my good pal, the PA guy.

FINAL STATS

Olympiacos: Childress (15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers), Kleiza (13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 4 turnovers), Papaloukas (12 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 turnover)

The Champs: Navarro (21 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 assists), Mickeal (14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals), Rubio (9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers)

Easily the best postgame quote, courtesy of the classy Pete Mickeal: “Unbelievable. I feel complete. For the first time in my life, I feel complete.”

What a weekend. Thanks, SLAM.

Nick Gibson is the creator of Euroleague Adventures, an American blog/podcast devoted to international basketball. He’s convinced Trajan Langdon is the next Chris Mullins and still thinks the Cavs will rue the day they passed on Darko. He is taking a year off of school to travel around Europe and track Nikoloz Tskitishvili’s development which, frighteningly, is far less expensive than a semester at Syracuse University. He can be reached at freaknick@euroleagueadventures.com.

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  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    About Navaro’s “little running, floater-ish, hook shot thing”, yes, it is his signature move actually…

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    Man, the defense is really tight in Linas… Barca’s coach has ‘read’ him really well. And don’t give the ball to Josh… He can’t get a shot in!

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    Ricky and Navarro are killing tonight… Great duo!

  • nsgatl

    Another great job. Enjoying coverage of this final EL F4 game.

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    “Even after watching nearly every game of his Atlanta career, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him this heated. The mouth guard has saved ESPN some ‘bleeps.’”

    It’s not just Josh… I can assure you about that…!

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    We have a champion ladies and gentlemen…!

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    It was really disappointing that there was no coverage of the Partizan-CSKA matchup… It was a wonderful game! Bo didn’t have the game he had with Olympiacos, but he was there when he was needed. Too bad they lost from CSKA… Bo deserved more after all.

  • http://slamonline.com Nick Gibson

    @Boy Sanchez – On the Navarro shot, I realize it’s his signature shot, but I’m always impressed with how he adds a different twist every time. Thank you for all of your comments tonight brother.

  • http://soundcloud.com/boy-sanchez Boy Sanchez

    @Nick Gibson…: Yes that’s true about Navarro. He’s amazing in that one. You are welcome! I wish I could follow your blog during the whole game. And didn’t Bo and Veseley deserved more?

  • bberry

    Good stuff.

  • Agent 87

    The semis Partizan-CSKA was really a great game despite the loss for the serbian and with a red hot Langdon in the first half (22 points).
    Barcelona was too strong: better game and more rotation.
    And Navarro best player was predictable after his terrible semi.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Nick, thanks for the great coverage.

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Hot Topics

  • anen

    Everyone contributed and it led not just a win but a Blowout win yeah!!! Barcelona Best team in the continent

  • JoeMaMa

    You have to start thinking, if Olympiacos doesn’t take the title next year, the Josh Childress experiment will be called a failure. They brought him in to win it all, no question. I know it’s not fair to pin that on one player, but that’s what will happen.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/all-decade/main-page/i/64902/4259/euroleague-all-decade-selection-theodoros-papaloukas?lang=en&itemid=64902&mid=4259&tabid=1143&itemname=EUROLEAGU PAPALOUKAS (click on my name)

    huge dissapointment, more later….

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/all-decade/main-page/i/64902/4259/euroleague-all-decade-selection-theodoros-papaloukas?lang=en&itemid=64902&mid=4259&tabid=1143&itemname=EUROLEAGU PAPALOUKAS (click on my name)

    on the game: The better team won. Simple as that. At the same time the fact that we were not allowed to give it a try whenever we were getting close to 5-7 points (through terrible officiating with the guy with number 19) is leaving us with an even worst taste in the mouth…and although i was expecting something like this, it is always bothering when you see it first hand. Olympiakos lost the game at the begining cause our defence was terrible mainly because our guards could not follow the speed of Navaro (who made the usual unguardable shots and was simply unstopable) and Rubio. At the beginning of the second half our coaching staff send together on the court scoonie and beverly and barca made succesive mistakes but they were given again breath by their friends in orange… The bottom line is that (as i told here 2 years ago) we will never win anything having Josh in our team. in big euro games the defence gets tight and leaves him open intentionally. In both games he was terrible for the most part except the time that the game was decided (final) or the other team was left without players(end of semifinal). It was sad seeing him going like a fool towards a wall of bodies under the basket were he usually lost the ball or hit the ground. In the end we lost our composure and a game that should be close (again we should have lost) ended with 20 points….Anyway, we were dissapointed but at least we won easily the battle of the fans…now a few random notes:
    …..at the 3rd place game ,3 minutes before the end Mac caleebb jumps for a rebound between the 2 russian big men and he grabs it by leaping at least 1m vertical, the most amazing moment of the weekend, unbeliavable…..our fans managed to start a fight again between them, with the subject being if Giannakis is a good coach or not….Siskauskas is getting older by the day, it is sad but true….Partizan in the final would never give up like we did…. the refs were so provocative in the final that made even the always calm Josh get crazy 4:26 before the end….when i saw ther football team of barca on the front row i knew that, in order for us to win, we should play much-much better than them. We never did….at the begging of the second half and after 2 minutes of suffocating defense on Rubio, Beverly is stealing him the ball while having his body all – around Rubio’s like a glove. After that he screams at his face “i will kill you today” (i had the best angle for this, he was looking towards Olympiakos bench and i was standing right behind) and fortunatelly he is not called for a technical. Most funny/strange/scary moment of the weekend….

  • hi

    Papaloukas, what do you think about Giannakis? If you don’t win the greek league this year, will he go?……..I personally don’t think he’s a great coach but has a very good group of players. Last year he kept teodosic on the bench all year, and now in the final 4 he gave too much time to beverley and penn who are non-factors. They are meant to be defensive players but didn’t play well e.g. against mccalebb. Also, Olympiakos doesn’t seem to have an organised offense. Partizan, which is obviously less talented, set endless screens and move off the ball. Olympiakos seem only to run the 2 on 2 pick and roll, and after that fails they seem too disorganised.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/all-decade/main-page/i/64902/4259/euroleague-all-decade-selection-theodoros-papaloukas?lang=en&itemid=64902&mid=4259&tabid=1143&itemname=EUROLEAGU PAPALOUKAS (click on my name)

    @hi……: if he doesn’t win the greek championship Giannakis is gone 100%. The use of penn&beverly at the beggining of second half of the final was his smartest move of the weekend. Our offence is indded lucking organisation and the automations of the big teams.

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