The biggest stories from the past week in the VTB United League.
Zenit gets revenge at a sold-out Khimki arena
Khimki and St. Petersburg played an epic five-game series last spring in the postseason. Memories are still fresh as the first meeting between the two teams in 2017-18 drew a sold-out crowd with fans barely able to fit in the seats.
Sunday’s game followed a similar script to the first two games of the playoff showdown: Outlandish numbers from Alexey Shved, who did most of the heavy lifting for Khimki, but Zenit ultimately getting the win. Shved scored a career-high 34 points against St. Petersburg, more than 50% of his team’s entire offensive production, but Zenit’s superior balance and execution down the stretch (Khimki was playing its third game in a week) helped the visitors squeeze out a win. Zenit enjoys revenge and hits the break with a sense of accomplishment.
Krasnodar’s orchestra earns round of applause in Perm
Lokomotiv-Kuban presented a finely-tuned orchestra on Saturday in Perm. Ragland set an energetic tempo and made sure everyone stayed on beat. Fans were then treated to synchronized performances from Elegar and Kulagin, Qvale’s part laying the foundation and Lacey’s final solo with Broekhoff’s joyous coda soaring above the arena.
Maestro Obradovic directed the masterpiece, throwing his entire body into the process, giving his men direction and a severe elegance.
Everyone contributed (45 points from the bench, 41 points from the starters); no one drew too much attention (four players scored in double digits). Krasnodar fans should be pleased by the performance. They are witness to a marvelously harmonious orchestra, which sings and sparkles with its director’s every move.
Astana unexpectedly routs Enisey
Astana began the season at home vs. CSDKA, before embarking on a five-game road trip. In a sense, Saturday’s game was a premiere for the home fans. After an abridged and injury-riddled offseason, the team is only now beginning to find its identity.
In any case, Saturday’s reunion was a successful one! Astana showed who was the boss at home vs. Enisey, running up a 30-19 lead in the 1st quarter, highlighted by Justin Carter’s dunk on Suleiman Braimoh. Ba-boom!
The Yellow-Blues sustained the tempo for 40 minutes, cruising to a blowout win and passing Enisey in the standings.
Duel of brand-new point guards, Nizhny tops 100 and Gubanov scores his 1000th career point
Kalev won its first game of the season a week ago, helped by newly-signed Isaiah Briscoe, who scored 20 points in the victory over Astana. on Sunday, Nizhny Novgorod decided to give the Estonians a taste of their own medicine, signing Jake Odum two days before the game. The American playmaker had a terrific debut, scoring 17 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists. Briscoe also put up big numbers in his second appearance, scoring 29 points and drawing nine fouls.
Odum and Briscoe may have battled to a draw, but the Kalev guard didn’t get much help from the rest of the team. The visitors started the game with nine straight misses and four turnovers and never really recovered. Tallinn also struggled to contain Petr Gubanov, who scored 20 points and passed the 1000-point barrier in the VTB United League.
Капитан «Нижнего Новгорода» Петр Губанов вчера набрал 20 очков и преодолел рубеж в 1000 набранных очков в Единой лиге ВТБ. Теперь у Петра 1001 очко — это 39 место в истории турнира 👏 Ближайшие в гонке — @anton_ponkrashov (1010), Бранко Миркович (1013), @xvost (1016) и @qcolom10 (1018) // @nn_basket’s captain Petr Gubanov scored 20 pts and reached the 1000th points mark in the competition. Congratulations!
Nizhny Novgorod also scored more than 100 points for the first time since January 28, 2017 and moved into 8th place.
Frazier’s buzzer-beater gives Pashutin his first win at Avtodor
Despite missing the first month and a half of the 2017-18 season, Evgeny Pashutin still leads the League in games coached (187) and won (128). Early last week, he was named head coach at Avtodor, where he once played, and quickly set about improving on those numbers.
Pashutin has been around the block a few times, but even he won’t forget Sunday’s memorable debut win with Saratov. Everything was decided in the final seconds as Branden Frazier lifted his team to a sensational road win in Minsk.