Week 5 In Review: Kalev’s Remarkable Win And Showtime In St. Pete

Week 5 In Review: Kalev’s Remarkable Win And Showtime In St. Pete

The biggest stories from Week 5 of the regular season.

Kalev makes headlines

Kalev wins the award for biggest upset of the season–at least through Week 5.

The Estonians stunned Krasnodar on Saturday, racing to a 14-point lead in the 1st quarter.

Loko appeared to be back on track at halftime, cutting the deficit to three, 51-48. 

Dmitry Kulagin even put the Railwaymen in front midway through the 3rd quarter with a pair of free throws. Was that the end of Kalev’s upset hopes? Not even close. 

The visitors flipped the script by knocking down a flurry of tough shots, before tightening the screws on defense down the stretch. Loko scored only four points in the final four minutes without a single field goal. In the end, Kalev emerged with an 85-80 win, the club’s first-ever vs. Lokomotiv-Kuban. 

Remarkably, Kalev used only eight men in the game due to injuries. One of the League’s top scorers, Ivan Almeida, was among those missing.

The defeat ultimately cost Sasa Obradovic his job as the club and coach decided to part ways on Sunday.

VEF takes upper hand in Baltic derby

Kalev’s victory appears even more improbable, considering they lost the #BalticDerby only three days earlier. 

As expected, Riga trailed in the first half and appeared on its way to a 5th-straight defeat. But then Artis Ate found his touch, knocking down 6 (!) 3-pointers in the second half (7 for the game), scoring 23 points and helping VEF enjoy its first win of the season, 82-74. 

Errick McCollum video game mode

VEF couldn’t build on its success. Riga had no answers on Sunday vs. UNICS and, specifically, Errick McCollum. The Kazan guard enjoyed his best game of the season, hitting almost every shot imaginable: 10-11 from the field and 25 points. UNICS won comfortably. 

McCollum admitted after the game that he was more excited about his play on defense. It’s hard to argue. After lighting up the Baltic Derby, Artis Ate managed only two points vs. UNICS.

Showtime in St. Petersburg

Zenit played at home for the first time nearly a month after the season began. The wait was worth it. Vasily Karasev’s men set season records for points in a half (68) and a game (116) at the SIBUR Arena vs. Enisey. Zenit only missed seven shots in the first half and finished a ridiculous 66% from the field. Krasnoyarsk never had a chance.

Brandon Jennings was the main architect, setting the season record for assists (13), while adding 20 points.

Zenit scored in style, especially this dish from Jennings to Jalen Reynolds:

Plus, Evgeny Valiev scored a career high 22 points, shooting 8-8 from the field and 6-6 from the line.

“We didn’t have a chance vs. PARMA”

PARMA only won one game in its first season in the League. The club has grown significantly in two seasons, as evidenced by Tsmoki-Minsk coach Aliaksandr Krutsikau’s post-game remarks, when he said his team didn’t have a shot at winning in Perm.

PARMA played like a team. Fast breaks balanced out half-court offense, while the defensive performance showed the level of preparation from the coaching staff. The game was over in the 3rd quarter, when PARMA went up by 18. Perm’s first home win of the season comes at Tsmoki’s expense. 

Dunk of the Week

Tsmoki lost, but that didn’t stop guard Stefan Moody from throwing down the most impressive dunk of the week. 

Moody is only 178 cm tall.

Quote of the Week

CSKA hosted Avtodor. Saratov hung around in the first half (53-46), but had absolutely no chance after halftime. That’s not surprising. The Army Men converted at a higher clip from the three-point line (56%) than the visitors did at the charity stripe (55%). Eight of CSKA’s 12 players knocked down a triple in the game.

Avtodor head coach Sergei Mokin noticed: “When your opponent shoots an insane percentage–56%–from 3, any team would have a hard time. It wasn’t just one guy, either, everybody was hitting.”

Comeback of the Week

Nizhny went to Poland in search of a win and led by 12 vs. Zielona Gora.

The home crowd helped the Poles rally. After seeing a few 3-pointers go down, the fans started to roar, and Zielona Gora was able to pull out the win behind the strong play of Lukasz Koszarek (13 points, 3-4 on 3’s). 

The home team broke Nizhny in the 4th quarter, punishing an exhausted opponent with a demoralizing comeback. Zielona Gora celebrates its first home win in the League. 

From Tsmoki to Nizhny

Nizhny has stumbled to a 1-4 start, dropping the team to 12th place. But there’s plenty of time to right the ship and Nizhny’s front office decided to make a move, signing Darrin Govens, who was released last week by Minsk. 

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Новость, которую вы ждали! ⚫⚪👏🏼 ⠀ "Нижний Новгород" подписал контракт с американским защитником Даррином Говенсом (185 см, 86 кг, 30 лет). Текущий сезон наш новичок начинал в составе белорусского клуба «Цмоки-Минск» и уже успел сыграть против «Нижнего» в Единой Лиге ВТБ. Соглашение рассчитано до конца сезона. ⠀ 👋 Познакомиться с Даррином лично можно будет уже 6 ноября на матче Лиги Чемпионов против французского "Ле-Мана". ⠀ We are happy to welcome @_dgov in Nizhny Novgorod! ⠀ #ВпередЗаНижний #МыНижний #ВашаВераНашаСила #БКНН #НижнийНовгород #WeAreNizhny #GoNizhny

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Govens played for Falco last season in the Hungarian league, where he regularly took the court against new teammate Kendrick Perry, who was with another Hungarian team, Szolnoki Olaj, at the time. 

Working at McDonald’s instead of playing in Poland

Nizhny players Kendrick Perry and Maxim Grigoryev did not fly with the team to Zielona Gora. Instead, they were seen working at a local McDonald’s. 

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Там, где Макс Григорьев и Кендри Перри берутся за дело, не бывает свободных касс! 🍟 Ребята поучаствовали вчера в акции "МакХэппи День" в Нижнем Новгороде и помогли собрать деньги на нужды Дома Роналда Макдоналда в Казани. Все, кто купил вчера картошку фри и стикеры у Макса и КейПи в @mcdonalds на площади Горького, сделали доброе дело🤗👏 Скоро отчитаемся по видео. #ВпередЗаНижний #МыНижний #ВашаВераНашаСила #БКНН #НижнийНовгород #WeAreNizhny #GoNizhny

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Nizhny even makes recovering from injury fun.

Lightning does not strike twice for Astana

Astana already surprised with a win at home vs. Zenit and a victory in Poland. The game vs. Khimki was expected to entertain, but the visitors killed the suspense with a 12-0 run before halftime. 

Khimki’s lead grew to as much as 19 in the 3rd quarter, the same margin Astana erased in its win over Zenit. Amazingly, the home team almost pulled it off again, cutting the deficit down to six. 

But Alexey Shved decided Khimki would not lose, scoring 20 points in the second half to help his team leave Kazakhstan with a win. 

Shved wins October MVP

Shved has been named the October MVP in the VTB United League’s Season X. He already had the title in the bag before his performance in Astana, averaging 22.5 points, 8.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds in October to guide Khimki to a perfect record. In the pivotal win over UNICS, Shved finished with 24 points and five assists. 

Team of the Week

Standings