Week 8 In Review: VEF Shocks Avtodor’s New Coach, Mr. Triple-Double Replaces Jennings At Zenit

Week 8 In Review: VEF Shocks Avtodor’s New Coach, Mr. Triple-Double Replaces Jennings At Zenit

Season X is only getting started. 

Codi Miller-McIntyre replaces Brandon Jennings at Zenit

One of the biggest headlines in the offseason was ex-Bucks (and Pistons, Magic, Wizards and Knicks) guard Brandon Jennings signing with Zenit. The deal was not a total bust. After a slow start to the season, Zenit started winning and moved back into 4th place in the standings. Jennings dished out a season-high 13 assists in one win and wowed the fans with signature moves:

But news broke last week that the club and guard had mutually decided to part ways. Zenit general director Alexander Tserkovny noted that Jennings “did not manage to adapt to the existing system,” and Vasily Karasev hinted that a replacement for Brandon had already been found.

A few days later, Zenit announced that it had signed free agent and ex-PARMA sensation Codi Miller-McIntyre. The American guard recorded multiple triple-doubles last season in Perm, where he was a huge fan favorite. 

6,000 kilometers for a win in Krasnoyarsk

Loko had a busy week. The team played in Bursa, Turkey on Wednesday vs. Tofas, and needed to make it to Krasnoyarsk to play Enisey by Saturday. Including a bus trip to Istanbul and layover in Moscow en route to Siberia, the Railwaymen traveled 6,000 kilometers in less than two days. 

Enisey, which prepared for the game at home, happily took advantage of Loko’s fatigue in the 1st half:

But Krasnoyarsk wasn’t able to close out the win. Dmitry Kulagin had other ideas. Sick of his team losing this season, Kulagin scored a season-high 23 points and took over in a 4th-quarter comeback:

Zenit takes control after slow start

Zenit has spent the entire month of November at the SIBUR Arena, cruising to a 4-0 record. Coupled with a win in Riga at the end of October, St. Petersburg has climbed to 4th place after an 0-2 start. 

Zielona Gora was Zenit’s latest November victim. The League newcomers were hungry for an upset and kept the score close in the 1st half. This buzzer-beater before halftime cut Zenit’s lead to five, 42-37: 

But a 10-2 run in the 3rd quarter and Zenit’s significant advantage in the paint helped the home team secure an 83-71 victory.

Dunk of the Week

Jalen Reynolds played a big part in Zenit’s dominance down low:

VEF spoils Avtodor’s coaching debut

On Wednesday, Avtodor clinched a spot in the 2nd round of the FIBA Europe Cup and hoped to continue the momentum with a win over VEF. But Riga, looking to climb in the standings, had no interest in playing victim and won the 1st quarter. Saratov bounced back with a big 2nd quarter and led 55-40 early in the 3rd quarter thanks to 3-pointers from Buford and Ireland. 

The lead proved inadequate. Riga battled back, setting up a dramatic finish in the 4th quarter. With the score tied, new Avtodor boss Dusan Alimpijevic went by the EuroLeague playbook, intentionally fouling with 20 seconds remaining so that his team would have the final possession. VEF guard Jabril Durham, however, made both three throws and Trae Golden missed a wide-open 3-pointer in the final seconds. Saratov’s gamble backfired and VEF picked up a big win on the road.

Alimpijevic, who’s only been in charge in Saratov for a week, had harsh words for the system in place prior to his arrival. Could more changes be on the horizon in Saratov? 

Kalev adds ex-Sixers forward Arnett Moultrie

While VEF played in Saratov, another Baltic club made some changes to the roster. Forward Landen Lucas exited Tallinn at the end of his three-month contract, with Arnett Moultrie replacing him. 

The 28-year-old power forward was drafted 27th by the Heat in 2012 and played two seasons with Philadelphia before leaving the NBA. Last March, for example, Moultrie played in the Filipino league. 

Team of the Week