VTB United League
Loko’s comeback, thriller in Nizhny Novgorod and attendance record in Tallinn are among main events of the week!
Loko hand Khimki first defeat of the season
Before the game of the week Khimki were clear favourite: a few days ago they beat strong Zalgiris in Euroleague, and Loko, on the contrary, couldn’t handle with Tofas and dropped out of Eurocup. Moreover, Khimki had best offense in the league (97,5 per game) and didn’t lose a single game in 3 months of the competition.
However, they didn’t manage to show their offensive power in the first half: they scored only 40 points and were 6 points behind to the half break.
After the break they game went in a quite different way: Loko suffered from poor offense while Khimki took off and gained 13-point lead with 8 minutes left on shotclock
But Evgeny Pashutin knows how to break winning streaks like Khimki’s. For example, in February 2018 Avtodor under his coaching stopped Loko, who had 11 consecutive wins. On Monday, Pashutin and his team made 11-point comeback and handed Khimki their first defeat this season.
By the way, in the beginning of November VTB United league offered to guess who is going to be the first team to beat Khimki this season. It seems like Loko had an answer then:
Historic events of the week
During the game against Loko Alexey Shved passed Vitaly Fridzon and became the top Khimki’s franchise scorer with 4687 points.
Forward Anthony Gill played his 100th game for Khimki.
The same achievement for Zenit’s captain Evgeny Voronov:
Nizhny stopped Enisey in a highscoring thriller
Game between Nizhny and Enisey was fans’ pleasure – both teams played offensive basketball and scored more than 100 points combined in the first two quarters:
VTB United League
⚡️ @BC_NN набирает 59 очков в первой половине против @BC_Enisey!
⚡️ Nizhny Novgorod scored 59 points in 1st Half vs Enisey!
4:14 PM — Dec 22, 2019
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As e result Nizhny and Enisey both scored more than 100 points. There were 11 lead changes and 12 ties. In the end Enisey were more lucky: rookie Michael Jenkins hit a last-minute three that decided the game.
Enisey could end the year on the third spot for the first time in its history but after this loss they hold 5th place. However, Krasnoyarsk still have an opportunity to improve the situation: on Friday they will host UNICS that are fourth.
There was big fun at the arena in Nizhny even in the half-time break: game organizers did kids’ race.
By the way, Nizhny announced this game charitable and collected over 500 thousand of rubles for NONC and RASsvet time fonds!
Kalev set attendance record, CSKA have 9 wins in a row
Kalev and CSKA are two of four teams that participate in United league from its foundation. History of their games is in favour of CSKA: Tallinn lost all 12 previous games and the game on Sunday wasn’t an exception. Red-blues showed their best defense this season allowing only 50 points taking the victory in Tallinn.
Otherwise, this game became historic for Kalev. There were 5 thousand spectators that night – Estonians’ franchise record in all 11 years in United league!
2nd Tsmoki’s win is in Perm
It seems like things are going right for Belarus: after 7 game losing streak the Dragons beat Kalev on the road, and in the last round they suffered the defeat from Zielona Gora only in overtime.
The situation in Perm was similar: Tsmoki gained 14-point lead in the third but in the end of the quarter the score was almost even. But Minsk who lost 13-point lead in Poland made their homework and this time didn’t let their rivals come back, taking the W in Perm.
PARMA who had 3rd best offense in the league before this game (86.4 points) this time scored only 68 points. Meanwhile, Minsk found its leader, who was the number one offensive option – young Maksim Salash set his career-high in points.
+43 in Saratov and it’s not forecast
Before the game vs Avtodor Zenit’s players Andrew Albicy and Alex Renfroe gently said that It would be a tough one in Saratov. Nevertheless, final score proved the opposite as Saint-Petersburg left no chance to the hosts getting the biggest win this season – 109:66.
Will Thomas was Zenit’s engine: forward scored 23 points in the first half and as e result scored 30 – his career-high.
After this win Zenit returned to the play-off zone while Avtodor fell down on the ninth spot.
Florence performance in Poland help Astana break 4-game losing streak
Previous season sensation Astana was struggling last month: the team lost 4 games and fell down on the 11th spot in standings. Zielona Gora were close to continue this streak but Astana’s rookie James Florence disagreed.
The guard, who by the way had been playing for Zielona Gora, repeated season high in made three-pointers (7) in his debut and scored 25 points. It were his long-range shots in clutch that helped Astana gain welcome victory – first on the road this season.
Astana significantly changed their game to get an away win: rarely three-point shooting team attempted 37 shots from downtown (season’s record – 38).
Khvostov and James are among All Star voting leaders
On Thursday the league summed up preliminary results of All-Star Game 2020 fans voting. The most popular Russian player is Zenit’s guard Dmitry Khvostov, World Stars leader is CSKA player Mike James. You still can vote for favourite players!
4th All-Star Game tickets are available at https://allstar.vtb-league.com/.
All-VTB United league team of the week
There are no undefeated teams in the league no more, and 5th and 13th places are separated with just 3 wins!