I travelled to a lot of basketball games in 2015, unfortunately this blog started a little late in the year to capture all of them.
The London Lions had a great run at the end of the 2014/15 season and made it to the BBL playoff final. This meant a lot of away games at BBL venues.
Most notable was the game in Cheshire that clinched the playoff final position for the London Lions. The game was tense to the end. The semi finals are based on aggregate scores and Cheshire actually won the second leg; luckily for the Lions they had secured a big enough lead in the first leg that they were able to proceed to the final.
The final, at the O2 in London, was between Esh Group Eagles Newcastle (to give them their full name) and London Lions.
In January the Milwaukee Bucks played a regular season home game in London against the New York Knicks. This was the Knicks tank season, so it wasn’t one of their better games. Milwaukee managed to put on a good show though.
In February I travelled to New York for NBA All Star 2015. I know there are a lot of critics of All Star but the opportunity to watch some of the biggest names in NBA is something special.
In October I went to Milan for a couple of days to watch the Boston Celtics take on Olympico Milano in a pre season game. You can read more about that here.
Early in 2015 I went to watch the Antwerp Giants at their home venue (which gets extra points from me for having a Haribo stall in the venue).
In September I went to the final weekend of Eurobasket.
Then finally for the year I went to Charleroi to see Spirou play the Antwerp Giants.
You can read more about the last two trips here.
It’s been a busy year for basketball trips (if not for the blog). Next year already looks like it’s going to be every bit as busy.
Euroleague started for the new season in October 2015. As per previous years they have a method for fans to watch the games on the internet. This can be done via a PC, laptop, or mobile device, in theory.
This season they changed provider for the service. The new service launched at the start of the season at a cost of £53.99 for the season. Euroleague were up front with the fact that it would not be available right away using the App but that it would be available soon.
We are now almost at the end of December, at the beginning of the final 16 stage, and there is no new information from Euroleague TV about when the App is going to be fully functional.
Meaning that for anyone who paid £53.99 in October so they could use the mobile app, they have had no Euroleague basketball in 3 months. Euroleague have been contacted by fans, both through email and twitter. They occasionally get responses, but the responses do not provide a date for a functioning app. They occasionally hint at a release date but the last hinted date (late November) has now passed.
They do have an App for the IPhone. It’s fair to say that the App is a little ‘glitchy’, if you decide to watch a game that is not live the App will show you the score. That’s not the most helpful of features.
I contacted Euroleague TV to get some answers but as yet I have not had a response.
It’s disappointing that such a big name in basketball are failing to provide the service they promised at the start of the season.
I missed most of the first quarter of the game.
At the end of Q1 Lions were up by 2.
The second quarter was full of energetic play from both teams. The Lions seemed to be struggling with shot selection, this resulted in a lot of turnovers from them. Despite this they still managed to end q2 up 8 points.
Then it all started to get a little strange.
The Lions were displaying a lot of hussle at the start of the third but they were struggling to get anything to fall. They were making the game look like hard work but they were managing to keep the lead. Right up until the dying seconds of the third quarter. A buzzer beater from the Sharks put them in the lead, except it wasn’t a buzzer beater. The ball was still in the players hand when the shot clock ran out. And there is video evidence to show that.
Unfortunately the BBL does not routinely record games so the referees do not have the option of checking the video replay.
Q4 started with 3 questionable called going against the Lions and it didn’t improve from there . NO calls were made against the Sharks in the entire forth quarter, in fact no calls were made against them in the last 14 minutes of the game.
Realistically no team is going to play 14 minutes and not foul. I can tell you as someone who was there, that the Sharks did foul but for some reason the referees were just not interested in that.
I have completed the basic referee course. It gave me more respect for referees as it is a lot harder to make the calls when the pressure is on but there is no excuse for the bad calls and no calls made in the last quarter of that game.
Amazingly the Lions were keeping it close, the score never really seemed to be representing the flow of the game. But then in the last 30 seconds the Sharks took and kept the lead.
I have no ill will towards the Sharks or their fans but I really hope that the three referees from that game are ashamed of themselves. The BBL really need to start looking at the quality of the referees and the calls they make.