The first round of the NBL begins this week with Basketball fans across Australia chomping at the bite. The same holds true for Spanish basketball fans who this week saw the ACB, the Spanish Basketball League kick off their season.
Joe Ingles and Nathan Jawai are two men who play a big part in shaping the landscape of the sport in both countries. Both men took the court as FC Barcelona Regal faced CB Valladolid who produced an unexpected win over the reigning ACB champions 78-71.
Despite the shock loss Aussie Joe Ingles was dominant throughout the game finishing his team’s high scorer with 18 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. Ingles continued the great form his displayed in the London Olympics and showed there is a good reason why NBA teams continue to show interest in the lanky South Australian. Nathan Jawai, who had a dominant pre-season for Barcelona with a number of 20 point games, was held to only two points in 13 minutes of game time as a result of being in foul trouble early.
Bosnian Nedžad Sinanović did most of the damage for CB Valladolid pouring in 28 points, 10 rebounds and 2 steals which was good enough to win him the ACB player of the Week for round 1.
Perhaps the suprise loss was a case of Barcelona Regal looking onward to their encounter with the 2011 NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks who will make their way to Spain this week. Barcelona is set to play the Mavericks in an exhibition game as part of their lead-up to the 2012/13 NBA Season. The game will be played next Tuesday and will see Nathan Jawai suit up against his former NBA teammate Dirk Nowitzki.
Nathan Jawai was a part of the Dallas Maverick s after being traded by Toronto in the offseason of 2009. Before he could play one game however Jawai was traded to Minnesota as part of a four team trade that sent Euro legend Hedo Turkoglu to the Raptors and delivered four-time All-Star Shawn Marion to Mavericks.
Barcelona will look to be on the opposite end of a huge upset when the play the Maericks. In the past FC Barcelona Regal has had amazing success against travelling NBA teams having beat the Philadelphia 76ers in 2006 and the NBA champion LA Lakers in 2010.