Tweet of the Day: France Wins EuroBasket Championship

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Tony Parker

France has won the EuroBasket title for the first time in its history, defeating Lithuania 80-66 today.

France

Spurs star Tony Parker led his country to the EuroBasket championship and won tournament MVP for France after 12 points and 3 assists in the game.

Blazers forward Nicolas Batum led France in scoring with 17 points and added 6 boards while Spurs forward Boris Diaw added 15 for the winners.

Former Raptors forward Linas Kleiza led Lithuania with 20 points, Mantas Kalnietis added 19 points in a losing cause.

Parker is now just nine points away from passing Greece’s Nikos Galis as the all-time EuroBasket scoring leader, a goal he will surely accomplish at the next tournament.

The title is significant for France, who fell to Spain several times in recent years. France took down their Spanish rivals in an overtime victory on Friday. The French club were in the tournament for a record 36th year.

NBA veterans Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol sent out their congratulations via Twitter.

France features six NBA players on its roster. Led by Parker, the team went into the crowd after the game to celebrate with fans.

 

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Brett Poirier is a contributor to Sheridan Hoops.

Eurobasket ’13 Group B Preview

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EuroBasket_2013_logoGroup B

Likely to advance

Flag_of_Lithuania.svg1. Lithuania

One of the most fully loaded squads in his year’s Eurobasket, the Lithuanian squad is poised to be one of the juggernauts of this year’s competition. Veteran point guard Sarunas Jasikevicus will be sitting this one out, but the Grateful Dead’s favorite European basketball team will be a force to be reckoned with.

Starting with Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, the Lithuanians will be loaded with horses in the paint. Valanciunas had a solid rookie season, but seems poised to use this summer as the springboard to becoming one of the NBA’s most dominant big men. Playing alongside experienced big men like Robertas Javtokas and the Lavrinovic brothers, Darjus  and Kristof, this will be a team that owns the middle of the floor. Add in Rockets forward Donatas Montiejunas, a young big who has made big strides in the past two years, and it seems obvious that this team will have a stacked front line.220px-Jonas_Valanciunas_by_Augustas_Didzgalvis

That is without mentioning forward Linas Kleiza, the vanilla guerilla, whose high energy style of play and competitive nature would put any team in the mix to advance. Toss in former Dukie Martynas Pocius, and European stars, Renaldas Seibutis and Mantas Kalnietis, and you have a squad that is a legit contender to take home the gold.

It will be very tough for Lithuania to knock off Spain, Greece and France, but this is a rugged team with a mix of experienced stars and up-and-coming big guys that can take a big step. The Lithuanians have a ton of passion for basketball, and it should be a surprise to no one if they fly home from Slovenia with a medal.

Macedonia flag2. FYR Macedonia

The darlings of the 2011 Eurobasket, Macedonia returns the core that came out of nowhere to compete two seasons ago. Led by American Bo McCalebb, who is arguably the best American playing in Europe right now, Macedonia can compete with anybody.200px-Bo_McCalebb_Eurobasket

Capable of taking over a game by himself down the stretch, McCalebb will be aided by new Hawks signee, Pero Antic. A superb rebounder and defender with a dependable outside shot, Antic plays with the type of spirit that allows him to make a huge impact on a team. Guard Vlado Ilievski, brings a lot of high level experience, and his production will likely be the deciding factor of whether Macedonia makes noise again this summer, or fades back into the shadows.

However, with Bo McCalebb running the show, the Macedonians will surely be a tough out, and are almost a lock to advance to the next round.

Flag_of_Montenegro.svg3. Montenegro

Coming into the tournament without Nikola Pekovic, who just recently signed a new contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, would have been a major blow if not for the development of Magic center Nikola Vucevic. After a proving himself to be one of the NBA’s top rebounders this past season, the fate of the Montenegrin squad rests on his massive shoulders.

Joining Vucevic will be former Boston College and current Maccabi Tel-Aviv point guard Tyrese Rice. Rice has made big strides over the past two seasons, rising to the ranks of the Euroleague elite, and can be the piece that propels this squad to advance  this summer, and possible push  this team to be a monster in the World Cup next summer if Pekovic rejoins  the squad next  year.Nikola Vucevic

A big question mark for this team will be  the production of Bucks second round pick Bojan Dublijevic. A super talented young center, Dublijevic will need to produce to bring the type of depth that is usually required to succeed in these types of competitions.

While it is certainly far from a lock for Montenegro to advance, the combo of Vucevic and Rice makes them strong at basketballs two most important positions, and will ensure they are a tough matchup every night in Slovenia.

Headin’ home early

Flag_of_Serbia.svg4. Serbia

Thought to be a possible contender in this tournament, the Serbs were crushed when they found out former Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic will be missing this summer’s games with an injury. Teodosic is the straw that stirs this drink, and without him it will be very hard for Serbia to succeed in this tournament.

While Dusan Ivkovic, one of Europe’s top coaches, will be manning the sideline, and Nenad Krstic will still be bringing his awesome low post moves, it will be tough for Serbia to compete with many of its top veterans sitting out this summer. Fenerbahce forward and 2012 second round pick Nemanja Bjelica will provide a lot of versatility to this squad, and should have plenty of opportunity to show he has taken his game up to the next level as he enters the prime of his career.Krstic-Serbia

For Serbia to advance, Golden State Warriors first round draft pick Nemandja Nedovic will need to have a breakout summer. He is a super talent, but right now he is inexperienced at this level, and will need to step up and be a leader at the tender age of 22, for this squad to make it to the next round.

It’s sad to look at the Serbian squad, knowing that if you combined all the former Yugoslavian nations into one team, they would undoubtedly be a contender for a medal in every international tournament. While basketball is rightfully far from concern when issues like state independence, civil war and other political decisions are made, one can only wonder what could have been from a basketball standpoint had Yugoslavia remained one united basketball federation.

Flag_of_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina.svg5. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Spending the majority of the 2012-2013 seasons riding the bench for the Brooklyn Nets, Mirza Teletovic will get an opportunity to remind Europe just how dominant of a scorer he can be as a featured player. While there are rumors that Fenerbahce is trying to woo Teletovic out of his contract with the Nets, those are absolutely baseless since Teletovic has a strong desire to show he can hang in the NBA, and the Nets have very little to gain from giving up on him without getting back something valuable via trade.Teletovic-Bosnia

His Bosnian squad however, was stuck in a difficult group, and should have a lot of trouble advancing. Teletovic may be a great scorer, but it remains to be seen if a supporting cast of Zack Wright, Nihad Djedovic and Edin Bavcic will be enough to keep this team playing longer than one week. Either way, this should be an entertaining team to watch, if only to see if Teletovic can bring something to a Nets team that is likely to contend this season.

Flag_of_Latvia.svg6. Latvia

With Andris Biedrins sitting out of the tournament for personal reasons (busy spending his money?), and Davis Bertans shelved due to injury, it will be tough for Latvia to compete, let alone win a game, in this caliber of competition. Davis brother Dairis Bertans will need to play a big role along with sharp shooter Janis Blum for Latvia to look respectable in this year’s competition.

GROUP A PREVIEW  |  GROUP C PREVIEW  |  GROUP D PREVIEW

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Mighty Moke’s Top 25 Remaining NBA Free Agents — July 17 Update

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Mike Miller

Mike Miller

If you had a nickel for each time you read the word “amnesty” since July 1, you would probably have as much money as Chris Paul.

The good news today, though, is that you will not have to be overly concerned with the 2011 CBA’s amnesty provision until next summer.

By rule, an NBA team that wishes to waive a player via the amnesty clause must do so within the first seven days that immediately follow the July moratorium. That deadline was yesterday.

And amnesty was the story of Day 16 on the NBA free agency front.

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Evening News: Pistons make offer for Rondo; Raptors amnesty Kleiza; Kidd pleads guilty

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Hello and welcome to the Evening News.

As free agency continues, we’ll keep you updated every evening.

What’s happening today?

Amnesty Day: Heat waive Miller, Raptors drop Kleiza

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Mike MillerAfter saying he would not use his amnesty provision, Heat president Pat Riley changed his mind and used the one-time clause on Mike Miller, saving owner Micky Arison millions in luxury tax.

Tuesday was the last day for teams to waive a player via the amnesty provision, and Riley chose to let go of Miller and his $6.2 million salary. In a statement, he indicated that he tried to find a taker for Miller in a trade but was unsuccessful.

“After many discussions internally and a sincere effort to explore the trade market, we made a very difficult decision to use our amnesty provision on Mike Miller,” Riley said. “Mike had an incredible impact on the Miami Heat; helping us to three Finals appearances and winning back-to-back world championships.