Kalev Estonia defeated Nizhny Novgorod Russia on the road, 82-68 (23-20, 14-17, 25-15, 20-16).
Nizhny Novgorod: Vladimir Dragicevic (19 + 8 reb), Dmitry Uzinsky (11), Maxim Grigoryev (10 + 5 reb)
Kalev: Ivan Almeida (36 + 9 reb + 3 stl), Branko Mirkovic (11)
Kalev guard Ivan Almeida recorded one of the best debuts in VTB United League, helping the Estonians visitors to a shocking 14-point win in Nizhny Novgorod.
After going 1-11 on the road a year ago, Kalev recorded one of its best road wins in recent years, and could be a much bigger threat in the League this season.
Ivan Almeida deserves a ton of credit for the victory. The 198 cm Cape Verde forward was everywhere on the court, recording 36 points on 10-16 shooting (12-14 from the free throw line), nine rebounds, three steals and only a single turnover.
After a competitive first half, which saw the game tied 37-37, the Estonians blitzed Nizhny 15-1 to begin the 3rd quarter and seize control.
Leading by ten, 62-52, at the end of the period, Kalev continued to extend its lead, going up by as much as 20 in the final minutes of the game.
Nizhny Novgorod, despite playing at home, clearly struggled to bounce back from an exhausting six-game Champions League qualifying campaign to open the season. The home team shot only 22% from beyond the arc (4-18) and turned the ball over 16 times.
Иван Алмейда крушит кольцо в Нижнем Новгороде! Уоу ♨️@ifalmeida crushes the rim in Nizhny Novgorod! Wow ♨️
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) October 7, 2018
64-41 – Kalev’s starters, led by Almeida, dominated the home team’s starting five in scoring.
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Zoran Lukic: “I think the score on the board speaks for itself. Plus, the situation with Max Grigoryev’s injury… There were a lot of negatives in today’s game. We had played six solid games. Today was a major breakdown. The best player on our team was Vladimir Dragicevic, who is 32. That’s an indication some of our players need to take a look at themselves in the mirror. There was almost no control at the point guard position. I hope Ivan Strebkov joins us next week and the situation changes.”
Kalev head coach Donaldas Kairys: “We took this game very seriously because we knew Nizhny plays tough basketball. We saw it in Champions League qualifying. The first half was evenly matched, but we managed to stop Nizhny’s defense several times in the second half. We began playing more aggressively and earned a lot of free throws. That’s the main reason for our win. I think the schedule had a big impact on the home team’s performance, but for our part we were playing on the road, which is also why this win is very valuable for us.”
Nizhny Novgorod: October 13 away vs. CSKA
Kalev: October 14 away vs. Khimki