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Khimki, Zoran Planinic, KC Rivers Eligible for Israeli NT? - Mar 18, 2013

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K.C. Rivers
Last week, en route to my press box seat on row number 14 at Nokia Arena, moments ahead of what revealed to be Maccabi Tel Aviv's heroic 80-79 Euroleague triumph over Khimki Moscow, I caught up with Shay Hausmann, a former executive of Israel's Maccabi Ashdod, who frequently covers the Israeli's Euroleague campaign.

Mulling over the obvious size advantages the Russian's enjoyed over their Jewish rivals, Hausmann said, "For Maccabi to win, they must run Khimki out the gym."

"Full-court pressure defense and a high-paced offense are the only styles of play for Maccabi to be victorious this season," he added.

Hausmann was he right.

Maccabi on the other hand, thinking differently, enrolled in a slow-paced match, allowing a brilliant Zoran Planinic to take full advantage of his lengthy 6-foot-7 frame and exciting handles to post-up defenders, score, and feed Khimki's big men easy buckets.

Though he was fabulous in the first twenty-minutes of the encounter, Planinic's dominance disrupted the Russian's execution down the stretch. The former New Jersey Nets Croatian Point guard / Shooting guard / Small forward, who according to Tel Aviv insiders is high on Maccabi's upcoming recruiting list, recorded key turnovers, displayed poor defense on Ricky Hickman, and was solely responsible for Khimki's meltdown.

Personally, I felt Planinic's nonchalant demeanor and whiny attitude towards the officials, took a toll on his teammates when seeking guidance.

Planinic knew his pitiable second-half had cost Khimki the game and possibly its ticket to the Euroleague Elite 8 series. Shirtless, Khimki's veteran star sat frozen in disbelief on a white plastic chair facing his teammates in sorrow.

Roughly 45 minutes later, Planinic, in a graphic t-shirt, blue above-the-knee shorts, and flip-flops, was last to stroll out of Khimki's locker following the loss.

One victim who appeared frustrated with his lack of touches due to Planinic's dubious decision making was 6-foot-5 shooting guard K.C. Rivers.

Rivers, sprinting the baseline from corner-to-corner, was clutch for Khimki, connecting on 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, scoring 9-of-his-11 points during the final 11 minutes. With Planinic in foul trouble, Rivers could have, and should have done some ball handling to free up Vitaly Fridzon, who was constantly burying shots.

After a quick hand shake with Rivers outside of Khimki's dressing room, the former Clemson graduate and I awkwardly found ourselves communicating in Hebrew. Rivers, it appears, is no stranger to the Holy Land lingo. Marrying into a family with Jewish identity, the 26-year-old journeyman showcased an impressive Hebrew vocabulary. In fact, our overwhelming conversation escalated into Rivers sharing tidbits on the various Jewish holidays and costumes his family observes.

Eurobasket spies informed that European power Real Madrid have inquired about Rivers, a crafty lefty shooter who averages nearly 10 points per game on 50% field-goal shooting, and 38% from deep in the Euroleague.   

Sergio Llull
Real Madrid claim second straight win in Istanbul, enter Final Four - 36 minutes ago
Darussafaka - Real Madrid 78:89 Real Madrid entered EuroLeague Final Four. They celebrated the second consecutive victory over Darussafaka in Istanbul to win the quarterfinal series 3-1. Sergio Llull (190-SG-87) produced 17 points to pace the visitors. Real jumped to an early lead. The Madrid team ensured a 24:21 lead after ten minutes. Real stayed in front throughout the second frame. The Spanish team ensured a 45:38 halftime advantage. Real stayed red hot offensively in the third quar...   [read more]

Janis Timma
Baskonia could land Janis Timma - 1 day ago
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (Liga Endesa) is close to sign 25-year old Latvian international small forward Janis Timma (201-102kg-92) who currently plays forZenit Saint Petersburg in Russia. In 20 VTB games he recorded 13.6ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.6apg and 1.3spg this season. Great year indeed as he was voted to VTB United League All-Star Game. The last season Timma played also at Zenit in Russian league where in 16 Eurocup games he averaged 12.6ppg, 5.4rpg, 3.4apg and 1.3spg. He also played 36 games...   [read more]

Real Madrid regain lead over Darussafaka - 2 days ago
Darussafaka - Real Madrid 81:88 Real Madrid clinched the second victory in the quarterfinal series against Darussafaka. They snatched a tough road win in Turkey tonight. Jaycee Carroll (188-G-83) stepped up with 21 points to pace the visitors. Real got to a quick start. They went on a 26:17 run in the starting period. The Madrid side stayed in charge throughout the second term. Real Madrid established a 46:33 halftime advantage. Darussafaka shifted the gear in the third term. They sank...   [read more]

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Euroleague Standings
 1 Real Madrid 23-7 
 2 CSKA 22-8 
 3 Olympiacos 19-11 
 4 Panathinaikos 19-11 
 5 Fenerbahce 18-12 
 6 Anadolu Efes 17-13 
 7 Baskonia 17-13 
 8 Darussafaka 16-14 
 9 Crvena Zvezda 16-14 
 10 Zalgiris 14-16 
 11 FC Barcelona 12-18 
 12 Galatasaray 11-19 
 13 Brose Bask. 10-20 
 14 Maccabi T-A 10-20 
 15 EA7 Armani 8-22 
 16 Unics 8-22 
Full Standings
Stats Leaders
Points Per Game
  Avg: 21.8
 1. Langford, Unics21.8 
 2. De-Colo, CS.19.4 
 3. Goudelock, Maccabi .17.3 
 4. Wanamaker, Darussaf.16.7 
 5. Llull, Real Madrid16.4 
 6. Teodosic, CSKA16.2 
 7. Bogdanovic, Fener.14.5 
 8. James, Panathin.13.1 
 9. Larkin, Baskonia13.1 
 10. Rice, FC Barcelona13.0 
Rebounds Per Game
 Ekpe UDOH
  Avg: 7.6
 1. Udoh, Fenerbahce7.6 
 2. Melli, Brose Bask.7.4 
 3. Honeycutt, Anadolu .7.2 
 4. Kuzmic, Crvena Z.7.0 
 5. Voigtmann, Basko.7.0 
 6. Zizic, Darussafaka6.7 
 7. Dorsey, FC Barce.6.3 
 8. Dunston, Anadolu .6.2 
 9. Jankunas, Zalgiris6.1 
 10. Singleton, Panathin.5.9 
Assists Per Game
  Avg: 7
 1. Teodosic, CSKA7.0 
 2. Spanoulis, Olympiacos6.1 
 3. Llull, Real Madrid5.9 
 4. Larkin, Baskonia5.7 
 5. Colom, Unics5.7 
 6. Jovic, Crvena Z.5.7 
 7. Guler, Galatasaray5.6 
 8. Heurtel, Anadolu .5.6 
 9. Westermann, Zalgiris5.5 
 10. Calathes, Panathin.5.5 
Steals Per Game
 Charles JENKINS
  Crvena Z.
  Avg: 2.1
 1. Jenkins, Crvena Z.2.1 
 2. Calathes, Panathin.1.5 
 3. Wanamaker, Darussaf.1.5 
 4. Wilbekin, Darussafaka1.4 
 5. Lazic, Crvena Z.1.4 
 6. Larkin, Baskonia1.3 
 7. Guler, Galatasaray1.3 
 8. Jovic, Crvena Z.1.3 
 9. Hanga, Baskonia1.3 
 10. Papanikolaou, Olympiac.1.2 
Blocks Per Game
 Ekpe UDOH
  Avg: 2.1
 1. Udoh, Fenerbahce2.1 
 2. Tyus, Galatasaray1.5 
 3. Parakhouski, Unics1.2 
 4. Pleiss, Galatasaray1.2 
 5. Randolph, Real Madrid1.1 
 6. Dunston, Anadolu .1.1 
 7. Singleton, Panathin.1.0 
 8. Kirk, Anadolu Efes0.9 
 9. Theis, Brose Bask.0.9 
 10. Birch, Olympiacos0.9 

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