Pigs treated like cattle on Singapore trip:

  The manager of the West Sydney Razorbacks is to protest to the National Basketball League (NBL) after his lanky squad was forced into the knee-crunching confines of economy class for an eight-hour flight to Singapore. The Razorbacks, nicknamed the Pigs, were handed a record 126-89 defeat by the Singapore Slingers on Monday after the team -- who average a neck-straining 200cm in height -- suffered away from the wide open spaces of business class. "You've got all these little people and average-sized people sitting in exit rows and my boys are all squashed in together," coach Mark Watkins was quoted as saying in Wednesday's Australian newspaper. "That was a bit ordinary and it was the same on the way home; we didn't get any exit row seats. If the NBL want us to play in Asia then they have to look after us a little bit better. I'm going to sit down and write a letter to the NBL telling them it's not good enough. We weren't treated very well by Singapore Airlines. It's pretty disappointing," Watkins added.

Four NBA teams have travelled to Europe this month to compete against top European clubs, with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers setting up training camps in Spain, Italy, France and Russia respectively.

The NBA Europe Live Tour ends on Wednesday with a four-team tournament in Cologne, Germany.

Once in a league of their own, the NBA teams have found to their cost that the European game has improved. The 76ers and the Clippers both lost games on the tour, to Barcelona and CSKA Moscow respectively.

"There's an enormous movement of talent around the world and certain clubs are reaching out more for that talent," Stern said in Paris on Sunday before watching the San Antonio Spurs beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 97-84 in a packed Bercy hall.

NBA Europe Live: CSKA 90-81 Maccabi

 Matjaz Smodis

Matjaz Smodis video interview

Lior Eliyahu - Maccabi Elite 

Lior Eliyahu video interview

The Euroleague champions from CSKA will play the finale of NBA Europe Live, too, after defeating Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv 90-81 on Tuesday before a crowd of 15,000 at Kolnarena in Cologne, Germany. In what was a replay of last season's Euroleague title game, CSKA showed itself to be in midseason form by pulling away from Maccabi early. The victory meant that CSKA would play on Wednesday the winner of Tuesday's second game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns, while Maccabi will play against the loser of the same game. The champs from CSKA had their first double-digit lead early in the second quarter and kept adding to it for a 49-33 lead at halftime, by which time four CSKA scorers had reached double figures. Maccabi trimmed the lead throughout the second half, getting to within just 3 points midway through the fourth quarter, when a 15-6 run by CSKA decided the matter. Matjaz Smodis sparked that run and led the winners with 24 points on the night. David Andersen followed with 19 points, Trajan Langdon with 17 and Tomas Van Den Spiegel with 12. The bright spot for Maccabi was Euroleague rookie Lior Eliyahu, who had 19 points. Will Bynum followed with 18 points while Yotam Halperin pitched in 12 and Nikola Vujcic 11. The game lasted 48 minutes and was played under the hybrid rules in effect for NBA Europe Live.

CSKA jumped ahead 6-2 with Smodis scoring all the points by posting up Lior Eliyahu twice and drawing two fouls on the rookie, then driving past Vujcic. Maccabi went into a zone as Bynum got them within 8-6 on a driving layup, his second after a reverse that had put his team on the board. Van Den Spiegel got his second basket, too, with some hustle on the boards, but Eliyahu and Halperin combined on a 0-6 spurt to give Maccabi its first lead, 10-12. Eliyahu had CSKA answered in kind, however, with Langdon, Van Den Spiegel and Andersen making it 16-12. Theodoros Papaloukas had come on before that and made his presence felt on the turnaround pass that Van Den Spiegel dunked. Nikita Kurbanov gave CSKA its biggest lead yet, 18-13. In between a hook by Jaime Arnold and a Simas Jasaitis layup for Maccabi, Andersen dunked a no-look pass from Papaloukas to give CSKA a 21-17 advantage after 12 minutes.