Elvir Ovcina has some jewelry!
Telinuds Oostende has won the Belgian League Championship. When we last checked in, they’d taken the first game of a best-of-five series. The series went the full five games. Euphony Bree won the second game, in which Elvir had 12 points and 8 boards. Telindus came back to dominate game three, winning by 19 — Elvir with 15 & 8. Game four was a nailbiter, with Bree erasing a 4-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter, and squeaking out a 1-point victory on their home court. Elvir went scoreless in this one, and grabbed just 5 boards. This set up the deciding game, on Telindus’ home floor.
And it wasn’t even close. The superheroes from Oostende crushed the pretenders 100-77. Elvir had another 15 points and 8 boards. Thus overjoying tribal monk-chefs all over Belgium. Plus look at the size of that cup! And the jaw of the guy holding it!
Meanwhile, in New Zealand… the regular season has wrapped up and Josh Pace’s Nelson Giants are in the playoffs — in fact, have advanced to the final round. The Giants had three games left in the regular season when we last checked up on them. They won all three games to finish the season tied for 2nd place at 13-5. Pace had 16 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast in the first game, 28-7-3 in the second, and 27-5-6 in the final game of the regular season. Tiebreakers meant that Nelson was the 3-seed in the first round of the playoffs — which was a single-elimination game played this past Saturday against the Waikato Pistons. And, just like the NBA’s Pistons, Waikato blew their home-court advantage and got bumped from the playoffs without reaching the finals. Nelson had a 13-point lead going into the final quarter but Waikato rallied back and took a two-point lead in the final minute. But Josh Pace got fouled late and made both free throws to send it to overtime, where the Giants prevailed thanks to some nifty outside shooting by somebody who did not go to Syracuse. Pace played all 45 minutes of the game, scoring 37 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing 7 assists. Here’s a game story from the official league site.
Pace’s final statline for the year was 22.4ppg, 8.3rpg, 4.3apg. This was not merely good enough to make the all-league team — Pace was selected as the NBL’s 2007 Most Valuable Player. Congratulations Josh! Now go make Elvir proud! The championships are a best-of-three and begin Thursday as the Giants face the Easy LPG Bay Hawks, who were the Giants’ penultimate regular-season victim a couple of weeks ago. The Hawks upset the top-seeded Harbor Heat, so the Giants will get home-court advantage in this series. The games will have live online coverage (links can be found here) — not video broadcasts but the familiar online “live stats” feed. The time difference, though, means the game is starting at 3:30 AM EDT. I’ll be up. Will you?
Stateside, the USBL season has ended. Craig Forth’s Albany Patroons finished the season in 2nd place. That would have put them in the postseason tournament — well actually, all the teams get to play in the postseaon, but it doesn’t matter because the Patroons (based on very weak attendance figures) have elected to not play in the USBL next spring, and therefore decided to not participate in the tournament this year. (Probably because it takes place in Oklahoma and they don’t want to - or can’t - pay for the travel.) Craig ends the year having played in 16 of their 23 games, averaging 3.4ppg and 2.8rpg. The Pats intend to continue playing in the CBA during the winter, and maybe they will still have a roster spot for Craiggers when that rolls around.
And finally, a Mock Draft Roundup less than 24 hours from the 2007 NBA Draft. These are all the mocks I could find that included 2nd-round analysis — most of the major sites stop their predictions at the end of Round 1 (and ESPN makes you pay for it).
- NBADraft.net: Nichols #45 (LA Clippers); Watkins undrafted
- Draftexpress.com: Nichols #37 (Portland); Watkins #59 (Phoenix)
- Collegehoopsnet.com: Nichols #39 (Miami); Watkins undrafted
- SI.com: Nichols #34 (Dallas); Watkins #58 (San Antonio)
All will be revealed by this time tomorrow!