Posts Tagged ‘A Bit of Basketball’

I saw this Nike ad that LeBron James made recently. I got to admit, Nike are working really hard on making LeBron James look good again, since he did damage his “brand” after that horrible ESPN special he had in July. You do not ditch your hometown team on national TV and expect to get away with it. Tiger Woods might be wondering why didn’t Nike call him instead.

This is one of the first ads that I actually found interesting, and I feel that a lot of people can connect to it, not just LeBron James or any basketball player. Any person can ask himself or other people this question. In this case, LeBron is asking what should he do; should he admit what he did was wrong, should he remind us he did it before, should he believe he ruined his legacy, or should he take the role of the villain?

In this ad, LeBron just seems to be answering the critics by asking meaningful questions. Questions that people have been asking all summer long. Why did LeBron do this? Why did LeBron leave Cleveland? Is it because of the money? I don’t think so, because Cleveland could offer him more. Is it because of the rings? I think so, but isn’t that going to tarnish his legacy? He’ll never be mentioned in the same breath as his idol Michael Jordan. Hell, I don’t think he should be compared to Kobe even.

I personally think he made the wrong decision, and I wanted him to stay with Cleveland. But again, maybe we wanted James to be loyal. Maybe we wanted him to be the Superman of his team, not Robin to Dwayne Wade’s Batman. Maybe we thought he could be better than Mike, and all be witnesses to the greatest.

He doesn’t seem to be or think so. He doesn’t want to be who we want him to be.

He wants to be who he wants to be.

And he wants more thing:

A question to be answered:

What should I do?


The second day of the Round of 16 wasn’t  as exciting as the first, with both games being one sided  from start to end.

The day started off with Slovenia playing Australia, and once again, the European basketball showed its dominanace over the rest (well, not the North American just yet) andas the Slovenians bombed away for 16 3-pointers out of 33 tries and created a huge deficit in the first half that the Australians could never recover from, after an all around performance from the Slovenian team, led by Jaka Lakovic (19 points), Primoz Brezec (12 points) and Goran Dragic (10 points, 8 assists). Patrick Mills had 13 points for Australia.

In the late night game, the hosts Turkey welcomed the French team and overcame an all around game delivered by Boris Diaw (21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and set up a clash with earlier winners Slovenia by beating France 95-77. Dominating the second and third quarters, Turkey left no hope for France to come back, despite the French trying to come back into the game by winning the 4th quarter. Hedo Turkoglu was Turkey’s star with 20 points, helped by Sunan Guler’s 17 points.

As the Round of 16 begins, so do the importance of games. Every game now is a do-or-die for every team, and the best is expected to be brought out from every team.

The first day of the knockout stage was as exciting and tempting as it could get, with Sebia and Croatia tipping it off in a classic rival match. It is the first time both teams play each other in a basketball competition, as the Balkan neighbours fought a war in the early 1990s, and it was one of the best played games so far in the World Cup. Croatia came out strong, leading by 8 points at the end of the first quarter despite the Serbians making 8 of their first 11 shots. Serbia managed to cut the lead to 2 by halftime, and traded the lead 11 times with their neighbours, and eventually came on top by 4 by the end of three quarters. The last quarter started all Serbia, and the Serbians had an 8 point lead, 65-57, with 3 minutes to go, then Croatian guard Marko Popovic attempted to pull a Michael Jordan, impressively bringing the Croatians back into the game, scoring 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, and managed to tie the score at 72. Aleksander Rasic was fouled and made 1 free throw and missed the second, making it difficult for Popovic and Croatia to win. Nenad Krstic led Serbia with 16 points, and Rasic had 5 points in the last 21 seconds as well.

In another rematch of the last World Cup final, Spain and Greece played the main event for the night, in an attempt to make it as great as its predecessor earlier in the day. Spain have beaten Greece in several occasions, including recently  last year in the EuroBasket semis. Spain and Greece kept on exchanging leads at certain points of the game, until the Spanish, with the help of Juan Carlos Navarro, 22 points, and Rudy Fernandez, 14 points (12 in the second half), broke away in the 4th quarter, winning 80-72 to set up a clash with Serbia in the quarters. Dmitrios Dimantidis, who retired internationally after the game, had 16 points and crucial blocks and steals, and Nikolaos Zisis had 16 points as well.

The final day of the group play in the FIBA World Cup took place in style, with only three teams, Lithuania, hosts Turkey, and USA, advancing undefeated to the Round of 16. Argentina, perfect in its first 4 games, shockingly lost to Serbia 84-82, yet earned an extra day of rest in the process. Luis Scola led the way with 32 points, becoming the all-time leader in scoring for Argentina, who led by 13 early in the game but couldn’t hold onto it. Serbia wins Group A and will face Croatia in the Eighth Finals, while Argentina is set to play Brazil, who beat Croatia later in the day 92-74.

Lebanon had slight hopes in qualifying to the second round by defeating Lithuania big and having New Zealand lose big as well. As usual, Lebanon started tough with Fadi El Khatib knocking down his shots and managing to keep the score tied at 16 by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter began with Lithuania managing to break out, until a point where Lithuania was up 30-25, that the Lebanon-Spain scenario came back into play, with a questionable foul being called on Lebanon, that led to Jackson Vroman picking an unsportsman lite foul, leading to a six point play for Lithuania that sort of made the game difficult for the Lebanese to come back. Yet despite it all, Rony Fahed scored 13 of 19 points in the first half to keep Lebanon trailing by 7 by the end of the first half. The third quarter was something similar to the second quarter, with Lebanon being unable to contain the Lithuanians scoring, giving Lithuania a 13 point lead. Yet the 4th quarter started, and by 3 minutes of play, the score was 4-0 for Lebanon, who had in one play six chances, but were only able to score one point of them, giving in to Lithuania’s Gecevicuis’s 16 points and eventually winning the game 84-66 to take a perfect record to the Round of 16 and play China, while Lebanon, despite Jackson Vroman’s 15 points, will once again head back to Beirut wondering how can they improve themselves to advance past the first round after three unsuccessful tries. It is to be noted that starter Matt Freije, Ghaleb Reda, Elie Stephan and Rodrigue Akl did not play this game. On the other hand, New Zealand beat France 82-70 to face Russia, while France will play Group C winners Turkey.

Team USA had a relatively easy game and beat Tunisia 92-57 behind Eric Gordon’s 21 points off the bench, despite having it tough in the first half where the Americans were unable to hold a good lead more than a minute or 2. The Americans will play Angola in the second round.

Other Results:

Angola 55 – 76 Australia,  Jordan 73 – 91 Germany,  Slovenia 65 – 60 Iran,  

Puerto Rico 79 – Ivory Coast,  Greece 69 – 73 Russia,  Turkey 87 – China 40

 Spain 89 – Canada 67

Round of 16 Schedule

Saturday September 4:

6:00 PM:  Serbia vs. Croatia

9:00 PM:  Spain vs. Greece

Sunday September 5

6:00 PM:  Slovenia vs. Australia

9:00 PM: Turkey vs. France

Monday September 6

6:00 PM: USA vs. Angola

9:00 PM: Russia vs. New Zealand

Tuesday September 7:

6:00 PM: Lithuana vs. China

9:00 PM: Argentina vs. Brazil


The 5th day of round robin play in the basketball’s version of the World Cup continued with the great teams making themselves stand out from the rest. Argentina, Lithuania, hosts Turkey, and the USA are expected to top each of their groups, while teams like Canada, Jordan, Tunisia and the Ivory Coast are expected to come out at the bottom.

Team Lebanon played 2006 world champs Spain yesterday in Izmir, and as the game started, the Lebanese team was playing as if they had different players from those that played against France and New Zealand, where behind Jackson Vroman’s play, they managed to come on top in the first quarter by a point. Yet the second quarter started, and the fouls started piling up for the Lebanese, where the calls became so crazy to a point that Vroman blocked Marc Gasol’s shot, and got called a foul and a technical to give him 4 fouls when the game was still mid second quarter. Having been forced to sit out Vroman, Lebanon coach Tab Baldwin had no one else to play defense on the Spanish center, where Gasol managed to score 21 points after only scoring a mere 4, creating problems for the Lebanese team and once again, killing them in the game to give Spain a 91-57 win and improve its chances in qualifying after suffering two surprising setbacks against Lithuania and France. It is to note that the ENTIRE Lebanese team had FIVE assists and TWENTY turnovers. Jackson Vroman led Lebanon with 22 points,  9 rebounds and 2 assists while Marc Gasol had 25 for Spain. Lebanon’s chances for qualifying are very low after New Zealand beat Canada, giving it one more win than Lebanon and making the Lebanese’s last game against Lithuania a must win and for New Zealand to lose by a huge point differential. It would also need a major improvement from its star players Matt Freije, who was scoreless in the loss and Fadi El Khatib, who only had 10 points.

In Group A, perfect Argentina tried to run away from winless Jordan, but managed to do so in the fourth quarter  by winning 88-79. In Group B,  Team USA rolled over Iran in style with an 88-51 win. Group C saw a difficult clash between Turkey and Puerto Rico that saw Turkey rally from behind in the third quarter after a slow start to win its group by defeating the Puerto Ricans 79-77. Group D saw a clash between perfect teams Lithuania and France, where the former team dominated in a 33-12 run that won the Lithuanians the game 69-55.

Other scores:

Serbia 94 – 79 Australia

Angola 92 – 88 Germany

Croatia 84 – 64 Tunisia

Brazil 77 – 80 Slovenia

China 80 – 89 Russia

Ivory Coast 60 – 97 Greece

Canada 61 – 71 New Zealand

4 days on the competition have past, and teams are starting to brighten up while other teams performances are being 180 degrees different from other games. After having a terrfic opener vs Canada, the Cedar Trees suddenly aren’t the same team, as New Zealand was another team to having a shooting perfection night against the Lebanese, handing them their biggest loss so far, diminishing Lebanese hopes of making the second round.

The game took a rough start for the Lebanese, as they were unable to get a shot off while the Tall Blacks came out firing three pointers from everywhere, not looking like the team that lost its first two games earlier in the competition. The Lebanese could never find their groove back in the game, especially with Jackson Vroman catching foul trouble (3 fouls in the first half) and eventually fouling out. Trailing 32 to 16 after the first quarter, the Cedar Trees play never improved, with players such as Matt Freije, who had two great games earlier against Canada and France, had finished with a miserable 4 points on 1 for 7 shooting.  At a point in the game, Elie Rustom commited a double dribble, a fault unacceptable in basketball and only commited by beginners. The game turned out so horrible for the Lebanese, losing 108-76, as it was just the complete opposite for New Zealand, who shot 57% from the floor, mainly due to their star Kirk Penney, who scored 26 points, including 6 3 pointers and Thomas Abercombie had 23 points as well, leading 4 other players in double figures for the Tall Blacks. Fadi El Khatib tried his best for Lebanon, scoring 18 points and grabbing 7 rebounds, but didn’t have the help expected from both Freije and Vroman. Rony Fahed and Jean Abdel Nour had 12 points apiece. Lebanon’s hopes of qualifying depend on them winning one more game, while Canada must beat New Zealand to give the Lebanese one more win than the  former two countries mentioned.

Another disappointing performance came from the defending world champs Spain, who were leading by as much as 18 points through the third quarter. That 18 point lead wouldn’t last for long against the Lithuanians, who stormed back into the game behind Linas Kleiza’s 17 points and was helped by his teammates Martynas Pocius and Jonas Maciulis, who had 13 points apiece to win 76-73. After a great start for Marc Gasol (18 points and 8 rebounds), Lithuania double teamed him, yet his Spanish teammates were unable to take advantage of that, making things easer for Lithuanians to get back into the game. Spain might face Greece in the Round of 16.

Another important clash took place, this time in Group C between the undefeated teams hosts Turkey and Greece for the top spot (most probably). The hosts came up on top from the beginning, riding Ersan Ilyasova’s hot hand to take a lead that would never be relinquished. The Greeks tried bringing the deficit down, but they weren’t able to grasp a lead, giving them their first loss in the tournament 76-65. Ilyasova had a game-high 26  points for Turkey while Bourousis was the only Greek in double figures (15 points).

Other Results:

Russia 72 – 66 Ivory Coast

Puerto Rico 84 – 76 China

France 68 – 63 Canada

When the FIFA World Cup first started, I thought there was something wrong with my TV. There was this constant noise in the background that was really annoying.

Then I found out online that it was the vuvuzela, which through the flow of air produces a loud monotone sound.  At the beginning there were a lot of complaints about the instrument, especially from TV viewers since they were unable to enjoy the game without that disturbing noise ringing in their ears constantly, as the vuvuzela has its own effects on the human health with leading to hearing loss if they constantly hear it.

Eventually, people got used to it (with channels like ESPN and BBC trying to minimize the sound behind the commentary) but it became a symbol of South African football.

Symbol of the 2010 World Cup for football.

But not basketball.

Basketball fans will not have to worry about the constant noise in the back as FIBA has banned the use of vuvuzelas at this year’s edition of the World Cup in Turkey, citing health reasons as a the main issue, and will confiscate them if brought to the game.

“We want fans to enjoy themselves and make lots of noise but not at the risk of spoiling it for others” said Patrick Baumann, FIBA Secretary-General and member of the International Olympic Committee.

Last time you see these vuvuzelas in a basketball court 🙂

Baumann also believes that the vuvuzela is not “appropriate in a confined space such as a basketball arena” and that medical experts believe the “decibel level and frequency can be harmful to hearing.”

The ban will be implemented in all FIBA indoors tournaments.

Finally, a sport that cares about its fans 😉