Perhaps it’s not saying much in a league in which Al Harrington can go for 46 and 12, but Jared Dudley put up some nice all-around numbers during the first week of the Impact Competitive...

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That's right! We've got some actual basketball to watch. The 2011 EuroBasket Tournament. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "This is a boring event, just a bunch of amateurs...". Wrong! How many NBA players can you spot in this photo? Yep, four!  And as you can see, one of them happens to be the great Boris Diaw in typical Doris fashion. Brings back memories, doesn't it? See, this is no amateur event, its got pros. 

Now hit the jump and I'll give you the info. 

First is the Bronze Medal Game between Russia and the F.Y.R of Macedonia. Afterward, France takes on Spain for the Gold Medal. 

Schedule

Games are on Sunday, 9/18.

Russia vs Macedonia at 7:30 AM PDT
Spain vs France at 11:00 AM PDT

Both games will be streamed on ESPN 3

 

Bronze Medal Game

(9-1) Russia vs (7-3) Macedonia 

Russia

Key Players: Andrei Kirilenko and Timofey Mozgov as well as former NBA player, Victor Khryapa. 

Strengths: Russia is perhaps the best defensive team in this competition. They rank #1 in both steals and points allowed. On offense they have good ball movement as evident by their 2nd place ranking in assists and 3rd place ranking in FG%. They go 9-10 guys deep and everyone knows their role. This is a true team. 

Weaknesses: They don't rebound the ball very well and it's what killed them in their lone loss to France on Friday. Also, despite their good ball movement, they're really just a decent offensive squad. They have no scorers. They don't have that guy who they can throw the ball to and expect to get to the line and draw a foul. That is why they only rank 12th in both free throws made and attempted. Now, that may be better than half the teams in this tourney, but that's only because the rest suck (no offense). 

Overview:  This is still a very good group though, but they rely too much on their defense. However, it's to no fault of their own. They just don't have the weapons to be good offensively and so they have to rely on defense. Hey, it's worked out so far as they've had much success, and now here they are fighting for a medal. 

F.Y.R of Macedonia 

Key Players: Bo McCalebb and Pero Antic.

Strengths: They're the best 3pt shooting squad in this tournament and they're good defensively, but not on par with Russia. They've got that underdog thing going for them though. 

Weaknesses:  Not a good offensive team. They rely too much on the 3-ball. 

Overview: Too be honest, I don't know much about them and so I'm probably not giving them the credit they deserve. What I do know is that they've been the biggest surprise in this competition. Nobody expected them to be here and yet, here they are. That shows me they're no pushover. 

Game Prediction: Russia won the last matchup vs Macedonia due to a game winning, buzzer beater from Sergey Monya. I expect this to be a very competitive and intense, defensive contest. I enjoy watching the Russian team play, so my best bet is on them. Russia takes home the Bronze winning 67-60. 

 

Gold Medal Game

(9-1) Spain vs (9-1) France

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Spain

Key Players: Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, Jose Calderon, Marc Gasol and former NBA player Juan Carlos Navarro.

Strengths: Spain has it all. They've got a good PG, they've got good shooters, rebounders, defenders and they've got Pau Gasol. They're about top 5 in every category and they're loaded with NBA talent as you can see above. 

Weaknesses: I don't think they have one, so I'm going to make one up. They're too confident. Their only loss in this Tournament was due to a 4rth quarter choke in which they gave up a 55-49 lead, allowing Turkey to go on a 16-2 run. 

Overview: For the last 6-8 years, Spain has been one of the top 3 countries in basketball next to Argentina and the USA. Nuff said. 

France

Key Players: Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw. 

Strengths: France can score and they're athletic. That makes them a very intimidating team to guard (Just ask Russia). They too have some good, quality NBA talent. 

Weakness: Their defense is kind of average, but their offense makes up for it. 

Overview: I don't know much about these guys, I've only seen them play once and that was during a win against the undefeated Russians, 79-71 on Friday. Of course, I have to assume they're pretty good. I mean, I don't even need to see their record, just look at those players. Parker and Noah? If they had these guys actually play for them in recent competitions, who knows what they could have done!

Game Prediction: In their last meeting, Spain crushed France 96-69. I don't think that's how it'll play out on Sunday. There is a chance Spain comes into this game too confident and lets France get up on them early. However, I doubt it. This is the Gold Medal Game were talking about! This is for their country!  For that same reason, I don't expect France to just lay down like they did in the last outing. This is their chance to redeem themselves and there's no better opportunity to do that then in the Gold Medal Game!

I expect this to be an exciting one, but someone other than Parker and Noah from that French squad is going to have to step up. And guess who that player needs to be? Yep, Boris Diaw.... Well, good luck France. 

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With apparent headway being made toward establishing a new CBA between the owners and the NBA Players Association, reports have now surfaced that two owners, Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns, have stalled a potential new deal by going against the general consensus of the owners and expressing their objection to many of the terms.

While this rumor has been disputed by David Stern in an article on Probasketballtalk.com, one may still wonder if there is still some truth to these allegations, especially when the star player of one of the teams, namely Steve Nash, adds a little fuel to the fire by retweeting an anti-Sarver rant that was originally posted by Bill Simmons.  See below:

@SteveNash Steve Nash RT @jrich23: @sportsguy33 have some great points about NBA lockout. All fans should see what he have to say.(Go check his twitter rant now!)




This is what the tweet said:




@sportsguy33 Bill Simmons 2 Sarver overpaid for team, spent last few years slicing $$$$ and turned Suns fans against him. Not he wants to blow up the system? Go away.




Nash was then asked this by a fellow fan, to which Nash replied with his answer:



@SteveNash Steve Nash RT @mucorey: @SteveNash Btwn u & ur GF RT'ing @sportsguy33 Sarver rant, suppose ur days as a Sun are over? :( (Nah. I'm a SUN but NBAPA 1st)





While this doesn't confirm that Nash is taking a direct shot at voicing his support of the rant aimed at Robert Sarver, he certainly doesn't do much in the way of defending him either.  In all fairness Bill Simmons had seven total points to make about the NBA lockout, and Robert Sarver was only bad-mouthed in one.  But still, by indirectly co-signing an opinion that was voiced by Bill Simmons against all things Sarver, Nash doesn't exactly appear to be very happy with his boss at the moment.


Suns Jared Dudley Speaks on Lockout

An in-depth interview Suns' union representative Jared Dudley gave to Brian Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune.


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