As part of NBA Europe Live, the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns are in Cologne, Germany for the next stage of training camp. They will practice at the Kölnarena on Monday, Oct. 9 and then play each other on Tuesday, Oct. 10, as the second part of a double-header also featuring a matchup of two Euroleague Teams, Maccabi Tel Aviv and CSKA Moscow. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, there will be a second double-header, where the losers and winners of Tuesdays games will match up.
More Europe Live Blogs: Barcelona (Sixers) | Lyon & Paris (Spurs) | Moscow (Clippers) | Treviso & Rome (Suns)

Here's the latest from NBA.com's John Schuhmann and Johannes Berendt, who are in Cologne with the Sixers and Suns.

That's All She Wrote
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 8:05 p.m. ET

The Sixers win puts a wrap on Europe Live. I'll be honest. After last week's loss to Barcelona, I'm surprised to see them going home with two wins in Cologne ... and I know I'm not the only one. But give them credit. They never counted themselves out last night against Phoenix and tonight, they continued where they left off, playing 48 minutes of solid defense.

Before heading back to the team castle, Rodney Carney checked in one last time. Thanks Rodney for being such a dedicated blogger.

There are a lot of others I need to thank, like Johannes for his hard work, Manfred and his crew for the (mostly) safe rides to and from the hotel, Sixers and Suns PR, and of course, those of you out there reading this stuff I've been spewing for the last two weeks ... all five of you.

Peace!


Nothing Left But the Final Numbers
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 5:20 p.m. ET

Allen Iverson and Chris Webber have left the game with three minutes to go and the Sixers up 20. Mo Cheeks calls a timeout to get his new five on the same page.


Back in Control
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 4:58 p.m. ET

The Sixers have built their lead back up to 16 as the third quarter comes to a close and their mascot, Hip-Hop entertains the crowd with his tramoline-powered dunks.

Allen Iverson still leads all scorers with 24 points.


Little Run
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 4:16 p.m. ET

Trajon Langdon just nailed a three to put CSKA within nine with 4:04 to go in the third, prompting Mo Cheeks to call a timeout ... which means it's time for a lucky fan to receive a free X-Box.


Big Run
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 4:16 p.m. ET

CSKA had taken their first lead of the game at 24-23, but the Sixers then scored the next 15 points and finished the half on a 24-6 run. They lead 47-30 at the break.

Iverson leads all scorers with 15 points while Dalembert has 11 to go along with nine boards and four blocks. The Sixers are 4-6 from downtown and four of the CSKA starters have combined to shoot 4-20 (.200).


Sixers Looking Sharp
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 4:00 p.m. ET

C-Webb hit Dalembert with a beautiful no-look for the slam and then nailed a jumper (after another Sammy swat) to give Philly a 10-point lead.

34-24 with 4:16 to go in the half.


Another Close Game
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 3:54 p.m. ET

A nice dish from Samuel Dalembert to Andre Iguodala for the flush gives the Sixers a 28-24 lead heading into a timeout midway through the second period.


Sixers By Four
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 3:36 p.m. ET

It's 20-16 after one, with the highlight of the first quarter being an alley-oop from Iverson to Sam Dalembert. With six points, three boards and two blocks, Sammy looks more like the player we saw against Barcelona than the one from last night.

AI leads all scorers with nine.


Slow Start
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 3:25 p.m. ET

We've got a bit of a defensive struggle with turnovers aplenty as the Sixers lead 11-7 with 4:13 to go in the first. Andre Iguodala picked up his second personal (on a charge) just three minutes into the game.


Sixers and CSKA Tip Off
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 11, 2006, 3:07 p.m. ET

Allen Iverson once again the biggest ovation of the night ... but who is Allen Iverson?

While the Sixers and CSKA were warming up, Shawn Marion filed his final blog of the trip. Thanks to the Matrix for checking in with us.


Suns Take It
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 2:24 p.m. ET

Auf Wiedersehen, Phoenix. Time to go home. Leandro Barbosa bagged a game-high 27 points to lift the Suns over Tel Aviv (119-102). Marcus Banks also contributed 21 points off the bench. Amare will travel home knowing he still got game. He might not be his old self, but there's hope he will be getting there soon. He finished with 11 points.

"You guys have been terrific hosts," Steve Nash told the audience afterwards. "Thank you very much for having us."

Thanks for coming over, Steve.

As Nash left the floor, he shared a moment with CKSA point guard, Theo Papaloukas.



Diaw goes to the rack.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Only Human
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 2:16 p.m. ET

"He's human right now," D'Antoni smiled to the referee after Amare stepped out of bounds under Maccabi's basket. Only moments before, Stoudemire had rocked the house with a one-handed slam over Nikola Vujcic off a Banks feed.

Suns by 14 now -- Diaw just slammed home a missed jumper...


Suns Take Control
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 2:03 p.m. ET

A 16-6 run has given the Suns the edge here in the Kölnarena. Barbosa proved instrumental with five quick points and a steal plus the dish to Diaw for the fastbreak slam. 96-85.


Anybody's Game
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 1:51 p.m. ET

The Suns carry a one-point lead into the final quarter, while the Suns dancers have taken the floor. The crowd is watching in awe…


Tight Game in the Third
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 1:41 p.m. ET

Thomas has given the Suns a nice presence under the basket as he spectacularly rejected two drives. But the Suns can't pull away - they're up by two with three minutes remaining in the third. Amare is back on the court, by the way.


Raining Threes
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 1:27 p.m. ET

The Suns were 9-of-20 from beyond the arc in the first half. Another 3-pointer from Bell has now given them the first lead of the game. Marion followed it up with a thunderous dunk - are the Suns starting to roll?



Nash is keeping the Suns close.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Maccabi By Three at the Break
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 1:05 p.m. ET

As seen yesterday, it doesn´t take the Suns long to blow leads. It doesn´t take them long to erase deficits either. Five 3-pointers in less than three minutes tied the game at 51 with 2:52 to go.

Barbosa (16) and Nash (13) have found their rhythm from downtown - their accurate shooting has helped the Suns back into the game. It's 60-57 Maccabi at the break. Acrobatic guard Bynum keeps taking it to the hole (14), while Rodney Buford has ten points to his name.


A Step Slow
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 12:50 p.m. ET

The Suns appear to be tired and seem to lack focus today. Marion just badly airballed a 3-pointer. Thank God they have Nash, whose triple cut Maccabi´s lead to seven on the next possession.


One Step at a Time
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 12:41 p.m. ET

Steve Nash guessed it would take Amare a while to get back into swing, and right he is. The 23-year-old just got schooled by Yaniv Green who drove past him for two and a foul. 40-30 Maccabi some three minutes into the quarter.


Maccabi Up After One
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 12:33 p.m. ET

"20 seconds is up," Mike D´Antoni shouted into the direction of Maccabi´s bench. It was more of a 40-second timeout for them.

Barbosa, Banks, Jones, Stoudemire and Diaw finished the quarter for the Suns. Not without some problems, though. They trailed by 13 before Jones drilled a three from the corner to make it 21-31. Two foul shots from acrobatic Will Bynum (10 points thus far) then made it 33-21 at the end of the first.


Elya-who?
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 12:22 p.m. ET

Elyahu continued where he left it yesterday, putting up six of his team´s first eight points. Diaw and Marion made their presence known with two nice dunks. Two foul shots from Will Bynum then gave Maccabi a 15-8 edge before a quick basket from Amare, who was first off the bench, and two spectacular moves from Marion kept close the distance. 20-14 Maccabi at the second timeout.


Game Time
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 12:08 p.m. ET

Starting for the Suns are Steve Nash, Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, Boris Diaw and Shawn Marion. They better keep a close eye on Maccabi forward Lioir Elyahu, who was 9-of-11 yesterday to finish with 21 points. Oh, and they better regain their shooting touch. They missed all but four of their 23 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter against the Sixers.

Nash is a huge fan favorite with the crowd over here. He received the loudest ovation during the introductions.


Ready for Wednesday's Games
COLOGNE, Oct. 11 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 11, 2006, 11:40 a.m. ET


Nice choice.
NBAE/Getty Images
Stop, stop. Nicht so schnell! There´s still some work left for you guys.

"I´m ready to go home," Shawn Marion said following yesterday´s 103-100 loss to the Sixers when Phoenix somehow managed to blow a 22-point third-quarter lead. This means the Suns are first on court today, taking on Maccabi Tel Aviv in the consolation game.

We´re curious to see how Amare Stoudemire will be getting along after scoring six points and grabbing six rebounds in 18 minutes. Let´s see how his knees will react to the second game in less than 24 hours.

Too bad Steve Nash won´t be going up against CSKA star Theo Papaloukas. This honor now falls to Allen Iverson later tonight.


Until Tomorrow
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 9:10 p.m. ET

You know Rodney had something to say tonight.

For the game story, I had to borrow the title of one of the posts below. It's not plagiarism if you're copying your own writing ... it's just lazy. But it's late here in Cologne and I need my rest.

Tomorrow is my last chance to get in some sight seeing, my last chance for a while to hang with my main mann (yes, that's spelled correctly - in German) Johannes and most importantly, my last chance to purchase a gift for my wife.

And of course, we've got another double-header for you. NBA TV will have Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Phoenix at 12 p.m. ET and ESPN 2 will have CSKA Moscow vs. Philadelphia at 3 p.m. ET. So tune in for the games and stay tuned to the blog for the rest of the story.


Sixers Win
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 5:33 p.m. ET

Barbosa's desperation heave at the buzzer falls way short and the Sixers have won, 103-100. The score of the fourth quarter was 28-11. We'll be back with a recap.


Still a Chance for Phoenix
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 5:31 p.m. ET

After Leandro Barbosa missed a three, Rick Brunson left the door open for the Suns by missing his first free throw. He nailed the second to make it a three-point game with 0.7 on the clock.


Bang!
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 5:27 p.m. ET

That rookie Rodney Carney nails a three from the left wing to give the Sixers a two-point lead with 10.5 seconds to go. The Suns will have a chance to tie or take the lead coming out of the timeout.


Back and Forth
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 5:15 p.m. ET

Andre Iguodala gave the Sixers their first lead since the first quarter with a three, but the Suns quickly answered. They lead 95-94 with 4:16 to go.


Neck and Neck
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 5:12 p.m. ET

Five minutes to go and a Steve Nash jumper has just broken a 91-91 tie.


The Rookie Can Do More Than Carry Bags
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 4:54 p.m. ET

Rodney Carney led a 10-0 Sixers run to start the fourth, highlighted by a Steve Nash-esque, behind-the-back dish from Andre Iguodala to Shavlik Randolph. After a Shawn Marion putback jam and a Kyle Korver bucket, it's 91-87 Suns with 7:51 on the clock.


Four Fingers in the Air
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 4:54 p.m. ET

It's fourth-quarter time and the Suns lead is 14-points. Still time for the Sixers to make a run, but the CSKA coaches, sitting courtside after their nine-point win over Maccabi, might be focusing on Phoenix right about now.


Running Away
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 4:38 p.m. ET

The Suns have opened up a 22-point lead on a Steve Nash three midway through the third. It hasn't been the prettiest game, but while Marion has 23 points, it has been a team effort. These guys know how to share the ball.


Suns In Control at the Break
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 4:12 p.m. ET


Iguodala skies.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Allen Iverson hits a three at the buzzer to keep the Sixers within striking distance, but Phoenix leads 61-52 going into the break.

Sixers fans should be happy with the play of rookie forward and Europe Live blogger, Rodney Carney, who has six points in 8 minutes, including two putbacks (one of them a one-handed jam) and seems to be all over the floor.

Philly followers should also be happy that their team seems to have fixed their free-throw shooting problem. They're 10-13 (.769) from the line. Turnovers (11) are still an issue though.

Iverson leads all scorers with 23 on 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the line, while Marion is not far behind with 20 on 8-of-12. Steve Nash has seven dimes.


Nice Pass, Boris!
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 4:02 p.m. ET

Boris Diaw just threw a pass out of bounds ... and into the hands of his coach, Mike D'Antoni.

As Diaw headed towards the bench for a timeout, D'Antoni smiled and acknowledged, "I was open."


High-Scoring Affair
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 3:54 p.m. ET

We're midway through the second quarter with the Suns up 44-39. Leandro Barbosa has played about eight minutes, but he has jacked up six attempts from beyond the arc, connecting on three for nine points. The AI meter stands at 18, while Marion leads Phoenix with 16.


Suns by Six After One
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 3:30 p.m. ET

It's 34-28 after one as the Suns finish the quarter on a little 8-3 run. All nine players who have seen action for Phoenix have scored, while only three of the nine Sixers who have played are in the scoring column.


All AI
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 3:30 p.m. ET

Allen Iverson just pulled the Sixers to within one as we take another timeout with 2:29 to play in the first. The Answer now has 17 of his team's 25 points on 6-of-7 from the floor. Both teams are shooting over 60 percent.

And Oscar Goodman and the showgirls are in the house.


Welcome Back
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 3:17 p.m. ET

Amare is in the game, checking in five and a half minutes into the game. Allen Iverson (11 points) and Shawn Marion (11 points as well) are both off to hot starts and Andre Iguodala just rocked the rim to bring the crowd to its feet.

There's a very vocal Suns fan sitting just to my right behind the team's bench. When Amare checked in, he issued a warning to Samuel Dalembert. "You're in trouble now. That's Amare Stoudemire standing next to you, son!"

Suns lead 22-15 on a Raja Bell three as the Sixers take timeout.


Game Time!
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 3:05 p.m. ET


Iverson and the Commissioner meet before the game.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
We're ready for Game 2.

The Sixers put on a bit of a dunking exhibition during pregame that got the crowd pretty charged up, with Rodney Carney getting the loudest reaction.

The biggest ovation during introductions was for Allen Iverson of course, but the one for Steve Nash was close.

Amare looks ready to go, and after the introductions, he made sure to correct the P.A. announcer right in front of us. He's No. 1 now, no longer No. 32. The announcer quickly corrected his mistake. STAT will be coming off the bench. Willie Green is again in the starting lineup for the Sixers.


Who's Got Next?
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 2:21 p.m. ET

Several Suns players are on the floor, with Steve Nash conversing with ESPN's Bill Walton by midcourt.

On the other end, fans are crowding along the baseline, but there's no sign of the Sixers yet.

Jimmy Goldstein is courtside, of course.


Victory for CSKA
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 10, 2006, 2:17 p.m. ET

CSKA is through. They survived a late scare to beat Maccabi 90-81.

Tel Aviv got as close as three points before Langdon drilled a triple to make it 70-64. Smodis then scored eight of his troops´ next 12 points to give CSKA a commanding 82-70 advantage. The forward led all scorers with 24 points, while Lioir Elyahu had 21 for Maccabi.

Moscow have won all three of their Europe Live games thus far. Either the Suns or 76ers will be in for a tough test in the final tomorrow.


Making a Run
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 10, 2006, 1:45 p.m. ET


Halperin is keeping his team alive.
Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images
It´s not yet over. Yotam Halperin netted seven points in the third quarter, including a late 3 -pointer that cut the lead to nine (67-58). The guard has really turned it on. Two more points from him early in the fourth and there are just seven points between the two sides. Time for Papaloukas to regain control.


CSKA In Command at the Break
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 10, 2006, 1:07 p.m. ET

"What is this, what is this?" Impulsive Maccabi boss Neven Spahija has unsuccessfully been arguing with the timekeeper over a shot clock violation. He has every reason to be unhappy about his team - they can't keep up with CSKA at all. A 16-2 run gave Ettore Messina´s troops a 37-19 lead midway through the second quarter.

Papaloukas and Co. really make it look easy. Their whole team is here to play. They already have four players in double figures (Matjaz Smodis, Tomas Van Den Spiegel, David Andersen and Trajan Langdon). Langdon also beat the halftime buzzer with a nice jumper which made it 49-33. Papaloukas has dished out six assists thus far and there are more to come.

Lioir Elyahu and Will Bynum have combined for 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting for Maccabi, but they have not received much help.

CSKA has really looked impressive in all three matches during the course of Europe Live … it's hard to see them not winning today.


It Was the MVP in the Library
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 12:40 p.m. ET

Earlier today, I sat in on an exclusive NBA TV interview with Steve Nash for the upcoming show The Run, which took place in the library of the team hotel.

The two-time reigning MVP reflected on the experience of Europe Live and on last season's improbable run that he and the Suns made despite the loss of Amare Stoudemire during training camp. Here are a few select quotes:

On the experience of Europe Live:
"Any time the team is together, it's a bonding time and a good experience for you collectively. But to come so far and experience, to do something so unique and different for training camp, I think brings us even closer together ... Although it's not necessarily ideal preperation on the court, off the court I think it is ideal in many ways. We get more time together and more excitement to be in different cities, different places and different experiences."

On leadership:
"For me, I think leadership is about being yourself ... Having more experience than a lot of guys, I'm a little more vocal, but at the same time, I'm not really a yeller and a screamer. I just try to be myself. I try to be happy. I think being happy around the guys and being positive is contagious. And I think that goes a long way, a lot more than yelling at guys and getting in guys' faces.

"There's a time and a place where you've got to show your displeasure, but for the most part, for me, I try to be happy, be positive, encouraging and allow guys to being enjoying themselves. I think when everyone feels comfortable and confident and is enjoying themselves, you got a great chance for them to succeed."

Check NBA TV in the near future for The Run, which will feature Nash and the Suns, LeBron and the Cavs, D-Wade and the Heat ... and more.


One Quarter in the Books
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 10, 2006, 12:29 p.m. ET

21-17 for CSKA after the first quarter ... Theo Papaloukas delighted the crowd with a nice no-look feed for David Andersen who slammed it home


Getting Ready
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 10, 2006, 12:02 p.m. ET

Grüß Gott aus der Kölnarena! NBA Europe Live 2006 is about to reach its apex with a two-day, four-team tournament in Germany. CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv square it off in a few moments in what will be a rematch of the 2006 Euroleague title game. CSKA, who won the last encounter 73-69, come off a spectacular 94-75 win over the LA Clippers in Moscow. Later today the Suns take on the Sixers, with the respective winners (and losers) set for a date on Wednesday.


Strange Brew
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 10, 2006, 8:02 a.m. ET

Now this is what you have been waiting for. Spiegel Online explains a German obsession and gives you the lowdown on all the different brands of beer. Definitely useful in a country where seven beer equal a meal!

Meanwhile, the Spurs defeated the Rockets to become the first European NBA champion. Not on the court though, but as part of the EA Sports Gaming Tournament which yesterday culminated in Cologne. The lucky winner is going to Las Vegas. Boris Diaw´s most favourite player in NBA Live 07? Steve Nash ...


Broadband Monday
COLOGNE, Oct. 10 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 10, 2006, 5:10 a.m. ET

Another day, another blue sky. This is the 12th day of my trip and I've seen about five minutes of rain so far. It's a little cooler here in Cologne (especially when you're crossing the Rhein on the Hohenzollern Bridge) than it was in Barcelona, but you will hear no complaints from me.

The Sixers are at the arena for shootaround, the Suns having returned to the team hotel already.

NBA TV took a ton of footage here yesterday and the folks in the home office worked their tails off to get it up on the web for you. Here's the best stuff from Cologne so far, including yesterday's stroll with Amare and the play space dedication with Sam Dalembert and Leandro Barbosa.


Everything Else
COLOGNE, Oct. 9 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 9, 2006, 6:00 p.m. ET


88-Fingers Randolph.
Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images
As we prepare for the first of two double-header nights at the Kölnarena, let's put a wrap on the not-so-light practice day. Shortly after the play space dedication, NBA TV followed Amare Stoudemire and Davin White as they walked around the town of Bensberg this afternoon. Stay tuned for that footage ...

And in case you were wondering, Amare was feeling pretty good today.

Meanwhile Rodney Carney is anxious to get a taste of the Suns' running game and Shawn Marion is happy to play someone other than the same 'ol knuckleheads.

Earlier this afternoon, an Italian teenager earned the right to get carded several times next February in Las Vegas.

Back at the players' hotel, Shavlik Randolph was tickling the ivories ...

While in town, your favorite bloggers took advantage of their last chance to eat dinner here in Cologne ... unless you count media dining ... and we don't.

The No. 123 was excellent ... again. When you find a good meal in a strange place, stick with it I say.


Community Time
COLOGNE, Oct. 9 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 9, 2006, 2:26 p.m. ET


Sammy cares.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
The NBA continued its global outreach community involvement today in Cologne when Samuel Dalembert and Leandro Barbosa spearheaded a delegation that dedicated NBA Cares Play Space to a local youth organization. Legends Bill Russell and Darryl Dawkins also attended the visit which was followed by an entertaining clinic in the German sun.

Dalembert's initial appearance on the podium must have left a lasting impressions on the kids. Much to their astonishment, the tall center had to bend down to be able to speak into the microphone. Star players from Maccabi Tel Aviv and CSKA Moscow (like Theo Papaloukas and Trajan Langdon) also participated in the clinic.

"I don't know how to express it," Dalembert said with joy. "It is nice to see how happy the kids can be about this." The Philly center was a huge soccer fan growing up. "I wish I could have met Pele and Diego Maradona and all these guys. For them it must be like a dream coming true. Hopefully we can be good role models."

They certainly were on Monday. Not only did they unveil the refurbished court, but they also played, joked and mingled with the children. "This just means a lot to me," Barbosa said afterwards. "When I was a little kid I was thinking I could hopefully meet NBA players. For the kids to have this sort of opportunity is great. I love to do this and it makes me very happy."

Barbosa and Co. were greeted with typical American food - hamburgers and French fries.


Try to Keep Up
COLOGNE, Oct. 9 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 9, 2006, 7:45 a.m. ET

I said it would be busy here in Cologne and I was right. The Suns held a two-hour practice (those guys get up and down the floor quickly ... and very often), then a half hour of media availability (Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash at the podium and everyone else on the floor), where Amare Stoudemire talked for a long time about how he's feeling these days (great, thanks).

After that, the Sixers came out (Mo Cheeks and AI at the podium), and Allen Iverson got quite reflective about his career, his appeal and the NBA in Europe. Right now, Philly is going hard on the arena floor.

Meanwhile, the EA Sports Gaming Tournament going on right upstairs. In a few minutes, we're off for an NBA TV shoot back at the team hotel and at some point, we'll check out an NBA Cares Play Space Dedication and Clinic. Fortunately, I've got backup here in Cologne, and fortunately, there are good connections at both hotels and at the arena.

We will check back when we can and stay tuned for more on STAT and the Answer.


Old School, Part II
COLOGNE, Oct. 9 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 9, 2006, 4:55 a.m. ET

Back in Barcelona, I met up with the man they call Chocolate Thunder, who is doing his part to spread the love(tron) of Europe Live. Darryl came over to Cologne a couple of days ago to make an appearance at the EA Germany National Gaming Tournament Finals on Saturday. This morning, he and Suns guard-forward-center Boris Diaw, gave a clinic on the Kölnarena floor and this afternoon, he'll appear at an EA Sports Europe Live Reception here in the arena. The man loves to meet and greet!

I caught up with Darryl after the clinic for a quick Q & A:


"Now that's an 'Earthquaker Shaker.'"
Juergen Schwarz/NBAE/Getty Images
JS: Talk about the clinic today, Mr. Thunder.
DD: We did a little clinic this morning for the writers and EA people, and it was a whole lotta fun. You know the people can play the game with their thumbs tremendously, but to get them out here and do it is different. We weren't hard on them. We just want them to enjoy what they're doing.

JS: What kind of things did you do in the clinic, Mr. Thunder?
DD: We had them do a little bit of shooting, a little dribbling (it's amazing how many people can't use their left hand - they can't even take their wallet out with their left hand), and then we did some shot-blocking and took pictures and talked with them.

It turned out very good and I'm one of the guys who think that basketball is getting better all around the world, where soccer used to be the No. 1 sport, now there's more people picking up and dribbling a ball. I don't know if it will ever catch soccer, but there's certainly a big push for basketball right now, especially overseas.

JS: How about Boris Diaw, Mr. Thunder?
DD: I like Boris. I root for Boris. Boris was down in Atlanta and he came up out of there and plays for D'Antoni. Now, Mike was my coach in Italy and I played against Mike one year. Mike's always been a good guy and he gave the kid a chance to play. And as you know and I know, in this league, you gotta wait for your opportunity. And he got it. And he's doing well.

JS: Have you been to Cologne before, Mr. Thunder?
DD: No. I've been to Germany a couple of times. Berlin and Leverkusen. The people have been great here and the food's been good. I think Commissioner Stern has a great vision for seeing what's going on over here, bringing training camps over here and picking up a bigger fan base over here. People can identify with it. They can reach out and touch it. For a while, you could hardly touch an NBA guy. Now you can.

JS: Are you looking forward to some games tomorrow and Wednesday, Mr. Thunder?
DD: I am looking forward to some games and everybody always gets mad at me no matter what I say. I'm a former Sixer, a former Net and a former Detroit Piston. If I root for a team, it's because I like somebody on that team and I like Mike D'Antoni. He's a good man, so I'm rooting for Phoenix, but I'm never not rooting for my old team. Believe it.

JS: Were you covering the back of your head when the whistling started getting loud in Barcelona, Mr. Thunder?
DD: See, I didn't have to worry about that this time, because I went down and did all good work before the game. So when the whistles got loud, the coins seemed to go the other way. I got some fans over there and I made out all right.


Viele Grüße aus Köln
COLOGNE, Oct. 8 -- posted by Johannes Berendt on October 8, 2006, 5:20 p.m. ET


The Suns took one last stroll through historic Rome before heading for Cologne.
Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images
Viele Grüße aus Köln, the place where Allen Iverson sank the first buzzer beater of his career.

The popular city marathon coincided with our arrival in town but it could not keep restless fellow blogger John Schuhmann from putting up the first postcard for you. It's a classic night shot from Germany's carnival capital (JS note - and fortunately, it's the view from right in front of my hotel). You can see two of Cologne's three trademark attractions – the Dome and the Rhine. Missing is only the famous "Kölsch" beer (JS note - Meh, but the restaurant we dined at didn't have Dos Equis for some reason. Of course, the food - Slavic - was the best I've had on this trip.) which under no circumstances should be ordered in hated rival city Düsseldorf.

There are five seasons in Cologne - spring, summer, fall, winter ... and then there's carnival. It starts on Nov. 11 at 11:11 am and the celebrations culminate in mid-February with a three-day ballyhoo during which everyone is out on the streets. It is pretty much like a spring break for all generations. Cologne is best known for its laid-back, fun-loving and humorous atmosphere - it even served as the Brazilians' fan base during the soccer World Cup. Basketball is big over here, too.


Kyle Korver finally steps onto German asphalt.
John Schuhmann/NBAE
Allen Iverson will have mixed feelings about his return to the Kölnarena. Two years ago, Team USA got whipped 95-78 by Italy in a pre-Olympic exhibition game. However, just one day later, AI delivered nothing but the right answer. His spectacular 40-footer silenced the boisterous sell-out crowd of 18,000 and gave the U.S. the edge (80-77) only a few seconds after Dirk Nowitzki hit a game-tying triple.

We'll see whether he'll come up big again this time out.


Willkommen in Köln
COLOGNE, Oct. 8 -- posted by John Schuhmann on October 8, 2006, 1:15 p.m. ET

We're here. The Sixers touched down in Cologne about around 5:45 local time, with the Suns having beat them by about an hour.

You may remember me from the Barcelona blog and I'm joined here by Moscow blogger, Johannes Berendt. We will do our best to give you the lowdown from this city on the Rhein for the next three days, which will be jampacked with basketball ... just the way we like it.

Before I head off to meet Johannes, do a little exploring and partake in some German cuisine, I'd like to thank Willie Green, who was the Jenny to my Forrest Gump on the charter from Barcelona after I gave up my initial seat for a Sixers staffer. "From then on, we was like peas and carrots." Not really, but let me tell you this ... when you sit in front of a seven-footer in coach, it's not very comfortable for either of you.