The biggest stories from the past seven days in the League.
Miracle in Kazan. UNICS remains unbeaten
UNICS and Khimki were neck and neck for much of Sunday’s showdown. From the opening tip, the game seemed likely to end in dramatic fashion. Several times in the second half, Khimki tried to pull away. Late in the 4th quarter, the visitors appeared to be successful, grabbing their first double-digit lead on an Alexey Shved triple with two minutes to go (+11). Everything was going Moscow Region’s way, but the basketball gods weren’t finished in Kazan.
After Anton Ponkrashov knocked down a 3-pointer, the packed-out Basket Hall started to rumble, and the visitors began cracking under the pressure. Thanks to some Khimki turnovers and clutch shot-making, UNICS shaved the deficit to a point with 10 seconds remaining. Khimki still had possession, until this happened.
UNICS’s miracle escape preserves the team’s perfect record, while Khimki now has three losses on the season.
Summer in the Yubileyniy. Drew Gordon breaks the ice
Winter is here. The League’s first December game, and the first following the break for international competition, was played in St. Petersburg between Zenit and Enisey.
Despite the weather outside, it was hot and steamy inside the Yubileyniy as the two teams combined for 158 points, with Zenit scoring the lion’s share. The temperature spiked even higher when Drew Gordon went up for this nasty block.
St. Petersburg is riding a six-game winning streak. In other words, Zenit is one of the hottest teams in the League right now.
Loko beats off Dragons, and Zenit
Krasnodar was witness to a hard-fought game. Both teams played hard-nosed defense and never backed down. Here’s some visual evidence from the game.
Tsmoki left the court in Krasnodar with a grimace. Meanwhile, the bruising win helped Loko rise above Zenit in the standings to 3rd place.
Derby on the Volga. Pashutin still unbeaten in Saratov
The Avtodor – Nizhny Novgorod derby had even more at stake with both opponents searching for a win to boost their playoff hopes.
Zoran Lukic delivered a harsh wake-up call at halftime with his team trailing by 15. Looking much improved in the second half, the visitors heroically evened the score in the 4th quarter.
But Saratov finished strong, showing the same level of aggression that worked so well in the first half. Evgeny Pashutin’s men came up clutch in an exciting finish, giving the coach a 2-0 start in the League.
The Molot lives! PARMA enjoys its first win at home
PARMA is once again drawing the League’s biggest crowds, despite failing to win a single game at home entering the weekend. But the passionate fans were finally rewarded on Sundday.
PARMA never left any doubt against VEF, jumping out to a 24-11 lead in the 1st quarter. Head coach Nikolajs Mazurs defeated his former team and Codi Miller-McIntyre came within a rebound of a triple-double. It was a good day for the fans in the Molot.
De Colo wins November MVP, Kairys makes his Kalev coaching debut and offense takes the headlines in Moscow
The USH CSKA was buzzing on Monday night.
Prior to tip-off, CSKA guard Nando De Colo received his League November MVP award. The Frenchman set career highs in scoring and efficiency rating in the win over PARMA and led the Army Men to a rivalry win vs. Khimki, making him a no-brainer for the prestigious honor.
In the win over Kalev, however, De Colo would not be in the spotlight. The Estonians were fired up for their first game under head coach Donaldas Kairys, scoring 100 points in the League for only the second time in club history. And they did it in Moscow vs. the reigning champs.
Despite trailing much of the evening, CSKA was able to overpower Kalev in the final period with seven 3-pointers, finishing the game with 108 points. It’s been 292 days since both teams in a League contest reached 100 points. Not surprisingly, this was also the highest-scoring game of the 2017-18 season.