Astana Kazakhstan defeated Kalev Estonia at home, 105-78 (24-18, 26-16, 31-17, 24-27).
Astana: J.J. O’Brien (23 + 8 reb + 6 ast), Stephen Holt (16), Geoffrey Grosselle (15 + 6 reb), Michael Jenkins (14 + 6 ast), Ken Horton (13 + 8 reb), Alexander Zhigulin (10), Anthony Clemmons (10 + 6 reb + 6 ast)
Kalev: Arnett Moultrie (23 + 5 reb), Branko Mirkovic (17), Chavaughn Lewis (14 + 5 ast), Kristjan Kitsing (9 + 8 reb)
Astana continued its hot start with a blowout 105-78 win over visiting Kalev. The home team had seven players score in double figures, led by J.J. O’Brien’s huge game. The American finished with a 37 efficiency rating, scoring 23 on 8-9 shooting to go with eight rebounds and six assists.
Kalev, which entered the contest having won three of the last four, was simply overpowered on offense. Arnett Moultrie scored a team-high 23 for the Estonians in his second appearance, but had little help outside of Branko Mirkovic (17, including five 3-pointers).
Coming off a 90-71 win in Krasnodar, the Kazakhs continued to sizzle on offense, racing to a 50-34 lead in the first half. The home team conceded a triple to Mirkovic to open the game, but never trailed again.
Astana was very effective capitalizing on Kalev’s mistakes, enjoying a 29-5 edge in points off turnovers.
The second half was no different from the first. The Estonians needed a big start to the 3rd quarter to have any shot at a comeback. Instead, Astana ripped off a 10-2 run, highlighted by back-to-back triples from Ken Horton and Anthony Clemmons.
The home team cruised the rest of the way, finishing with 105 points, the third-straight game in which the Kazakhs have scored 90 or more points.
Astana now sits at 6-3, all alone in 4th place and riding a three-game winning streak. Emil Rajkovic’s men have another huge game in a week, hosting streaking Avtodor in a clash of dynamic offenses.
Kalev remains in 8th place at 4-6, but leads Enisey by only half a game after the Russians took down VEF earlier in the day. Kalev and Enisey play next Saturday in Krasnoyarsk.
6 – Astana only turned the ball over six times, an incredible feat considering the pace of the game.
Astana head coach Emil Rajkovic: “I want to make it clear that our players understand the importance of this game. I’m very happy that we were calculated on offense today. We thought through every step and constantly looked for our opponent’s weak spots. Kalev was in foul trouble and we tried to be more aggressive. I think Astana is growing into a legitimately dangerous team.”
Kalev head coach Donaldas Kairys: “Astana is a pretty tough, solid team that plays well on defense and offense. Our main issues were foul trouble and missed shots. Congratulations to Astana on the win.”