It was a busy week in the Triobet Baltic Basketball League, and we’re still not done with basketball just yet. However, this week’s basketball is finished in other European competitions, so let’s round them all up with our traditional weekly review.
Having secured their first victory in the Top 16 last week, Lietkabelis couldn’t make it two wins in a row, as they fell short of German club Bayern Munich, as the home side led from tip-off until the final buzzer and came up with the 69-85 win.
VTB United League
Kalev/Cramo dropped another game and now hold a record of just two wins in twelve matches. Their latest loss came at the hands of Lokomotiv Kuban, as the Russians dominated from the opening quarter and left the home side no chance at all. A poor performance for one of the top clubs in Estonia and a 64-95 loss.
Basketball Champions League
Juventus was one of the two clubs that achieved a victory this week, as they defeated KK Mornar at home, as they improved their record to 8-5. The Utena side found themselves in the gutters after the first quarter, as they already faced a double-digit deficit, yet managed to pick up their game and before the final quarter started, it was already them leading by 14. The final score witnessed a safe 8-point spread, 82-74.
Ventspils continues going back and forth with their wins and losses. After improving to 7-5 last week, they dropped a game against fellow Baltic club Neptunas. The Latvians were the ones going out on top the first time these two clubs faced off, but this time a terrific final quarter and home crowd support helped the Lithuanians win comfortably, 68-84.
FIBA Europe Cup
The other team to grab a win was Prienu-Birstono Vytautas. The Lithuanians were thoroughly dominant in the second half of the game, overcoming a small deficit to win by a double-digit advantage against APOEL. The visitors were outright stopped in the fourth quarter, as nothing got past Vytautas’ defense and the Greeks managed just 7 points.
RAPLA – An overtime drama resulted in Barsy’s second consecutive win after eight losses. The Kazakhs managed to stay ahead in the game against AVIS Rapla and are now looking to build on the 86-84 victory.
After taking their first win of the season, Barsy were looking to ride the wave into the second one just two days later. As it turns out, they managed to do just that despite a poor start in the game.
The Kazakhs slowly fell behind, as AVIS Rapla managed to put seven points between the two clubs after ten minutes. The margin quickly grew in the second period as well, as it reached 12 points at the break.
The Estonians managed to start off the second half well and it seemed there wasn't much hope for Barsy, as the separation spiked to a game-high 18-points at the 23rd minute. Nevertheless, a big, 14-0, run for the visitors got them back in the game, as they started the fourth quarter with a one point lead.
The two clubs traded basket for basket, not giving any breathing room to each other, and it all went down to the wire with the two sides trading threes in the final minutes of regulation.
Barsy played better in the extra time, as they managed to set six points aside entering the final minute. However, they nearly managed to screw it all up with 30 seconds remaining. They missed both their free-throws, allowed a basket and then attempted stopping a fast break after a turnover, thus receiving an unsportsmanlike foul.
After making both free-throws, cutting the margin in half, AVIS Rapla still had the final shot in their hands, yet the three-pointer from Rasham Suarez missed the mark.
TALLINN – An impressive first quarter wasn‘t enough for Borisfen to finally squeek out a win, as they wasted a double-digit first quarter advantage and ended up being defeated by TTU in Tallinn, 97-108.
The Belorussians started the game off strong, piling up points quickly to jump ahead by 12 not even all the way through the first quarter.
They entered the second period still up by 10 points, but TTU were looking to cut the deficit immediately, as they knocked down three three-pointers to cut the deficit in half. A 13-2 run in the middle of the quarter helped the home side regain momentum and finally take the lead. Nevertheless, Borisfen finished the quarter with four consecutive free-throws and tied the game up.
The Estonian side took total control of the game after the halftime break, as it was now them running off by double-digits. With just ten minutes remaining, they already had an 11-point margin.
That wasn’t the end of Borisfen’s misery though, as a high-scoring start to the final quarter advanced the margin to a game-high 18 points for TTU. Although the visitors managed to make a couple shots to close out the ballgame, it was all too little, too late.
While Joonas Jarvelainen was the top scorer with 26 points and 9 rebounds, the most efficient player was by far Nikola Vujovic, who made a real statement with his performance today. The center hit all three shots from downtown, amounting for 19 total points, tore down 13 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. The well-rounded performance gave him 35 efficiency points. Sten Olmre was also in double-digits with 15 points, while Rain Markus Koort added 14. Sander Viilup ended the game with 11 points.
For Borisfen, Yauheni Ivanou and Vytautas Kamarunas led the way with 21 points apiece. Maksim Kozlovets added a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Aliaksandr Kharkevich ended up scoring 14.
KEDAINIAI – Nevezis were not troubled at home, as they enjoyed a good day in the office and defeated Liepaja/Triobet 98-75, raking in their eighth win in eleven games.
The start of the game looked promising, as both sides traded basket for basket and it was a very level-sided first quarter, as the scoreboard showed a 17-16 lead for the visitors.
Nevertheless, the home side managed to take control in the second quarter, as a neat run gave them a double-digit advantage going into the break.
With another high-scoring period, Nevezis managed to set a good distance between them and their opponents and entered the final quarter with a big advantage.
The gap between the two sides continued growing exponentially and reached a game high 29 points in the fourth quarter. The loss now pushes Liepaja down a spot in Group A with a record of 4-7.
It was apparent that all of Liepaja's struggles happened just as soon as Arturs Ausejs got off the court. During the ten minutes he was on the bench, Nevezis outscored the Latvian side by 22 points.
Ivan Smiljanic had a great day putting the ball in the net, as he made seven three-pointers and had 25 points on just 12 shot attempts. Toni Prostran flirted with a double-double, as he scored 21 points (7/9 three-pointers) and dished out 9 assists. Vaidotas Volkus added 14 points, while Karolis Petrukonis had 13.
Arturs Ausejs also had a great night shooting, as he went 7 of 11 from behind the arc, totaling 28 points. Malcolm Griffin and Davis Rozitis had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
PARNU – It has finally happened, Barsy have won for the first time. In a thrilling fashion the Kazakhs held on to a slim margin and managed to stay afloat and ended up defeating Port of Parnu 96-92.
The Estonians were the first ones to jump ahead in the first quarter, as they piled up a six point advantage at the end of the period.
It was a whole different story in the second quarter though, as the visitors went on huge run. They tied up the game in a matter of minutes and took the lead soon after. Winning the quarter by 14, it was already an 8-point advantage for Barsy.
The lead just grew after the break, as the Kazaks improved it to 13. They managed to bring the momentum to the final quarter as well, as the advantage reached 20 points with 5 minutes remaining. It was looking to become an easy win for Barsy, but they nearly managed to mess it all up, as the home side regained momentum and came back to just a three point game.
Nevertheless, the Estonians needed just a minute or two more, as time was running really low and Barsy managed to stay on top.
The league‘s top scorer Trevin Parks had another monstrous game, scoring 33 points, including season record 14 made free-throws. Pavel Micheev added 21 points and 9 rebounds, while Ryan Cook added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Edvinas Seskus was also beasting all game, scoring 28 points. Last week‘s MVP Mikhel Kirves added 15 points and 7 rebounds, while Saimon Sutt had 11 points. Reinar Hallik finished the game with 10 points.
RAKVERE – Tarvas/Palmse Metall collected the victory that was expected of them, as they defeated the only team in the league without a victory, Borisfen, 75-59. The Estonians managed to secure a win and improve to 3-8.
The lead soon rose to double-digits, but it was still not that far out of hand for the Belorussians. Nevertheless, after the break the margin spiralled out of control, as Tarvas/Palmse Metall managed to improve it to 20. Borisfen made a couple of baskets to reduce it before the final period, but it was all too little too late.
There wasn‘t much Borisfen could do with time running out, as Tarvas coasted to a victory. 40 minutes ahead and a comfortable win for Tarvas/Palmse Metall.
The victors were led by 23 points from Tonis Peil. Oliver Metsalu added 14 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in a well-rounded performance, while Sten Saaremael ended up with 11. Justin Baker finished the game with a solid all-around game too, as he had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assits.
For Borisfen, Artsiom Malkou was the leading scorer with 15 points, as he got 3-of-3 out from downtown. Aliaksandr Kharkevich added 14 points to the tally, while Vytautas Kamarunas chipped in with 11.
Plenty of basketball to go around for everyone, as we got to see seven games this week. We had more than our fair share of high-pace offenses and spectacular individual performances, so let‘s round it all up in the thirteenth volume of the Triobet BBL Weekly Review.
MVP. Mihkel Kirves has been phenomenal in the first weeks of 2017. The 20-year-old has quadrupled his scoring and doubled his rebounding averages this year and was recently named the Triober BBL Player of the Week after putting up 28 points and 13 rebounds in Parnu‘s win against Liepaja/Triobet.
TRIPLE DIGITS. It was a good week for run-and-gun basketball, as three of the seven games ended with a team scoring over 100 points. Nevezis defeated Barsy by 30 after scoring 103 points, while Pieno Zvaigzdes hit the triple digit mark twice, scoring 106 in the 35-point win against TTU, and 112 in the game against Tarvas, reaching another win by 35 points.
OFFENSE. Speaking of run-and-gun, the league‘s highest-powered offense, Pieno Zvaigzdes, are currently averaging nearly a hundred points per game. A couple more games like the two we witnessed this week, and the 96.2 average will rise to triple digits. This kind of basketball has been serving the Lithuanians well, as they‘ve won 10-of-11 and are hands down the league‘s best team, defeating their opponents by an average of 25.9 points.
DEPTH. If you had to pinpoint the two main components in Pasvalys‘ latest victory, it would easily be phenomenal shooting and bench depth – we‘ve noticed that those two go along quite well together. The team shot 61.2 percent from the field, as they also made nearly half of their three-pointers. As for depth, the fact that Karolis Babkauskas was the lowest scorer in the team with 8 points, while the other 7 players who stepped on court scored in double digits, says quite a lot on its own.
LOSS. Same story, different week, as Barsy have not managed to turn their luck around, losing for the eighth and ninth time. To make things worse, the losses have been blowouts, as the two losses came at an average margin of 33 points.
SWING. A twelve point lead after the first quarter is usually a sign that you‘re going to do pretty well in the game. Nevertheless, that wasn‘t the case for Liepaja/Triobet, as the score took a 30-point swing in favor of Port of Parnu, as the Estonians ended up winning by 18 points after dominating the second half.
RECORD. For the first time this season, a player has reached double-digits in offensive rebounds, as Thomas van der Mars tore down 10 boards on the offensive glass, adding to the six he made on the defensive end. It was van der Mars‘ ninth double-double, as he also scored 22 points in Rapla‘s loss against Barons kvartals.
It was a showcase of excellent basketball both in, and out of the Triobet BBL league. With 3 wins and just one loss, we can consider it a good week for our clubs playing in other European tournaments, so let’s round them all up in our weekly review.
Despite being down by 14 on several occasions in the third quarter, Lietkabelis managed to claw back and take their first victory in the Top 16, defeating Ratiopharm Ulm at home, 86-84. The veteran duo of Mindaugas Lukauskis and Ksistof Lavrinovic were the cornerstones of the victory, as they scored 21 and 19 points, respectively.
Basketball Champions League
Ventspils got another win to go 2-of-2 this year in the Basketball Champions League, as they defeated French side ASVEL 77-72 after a terrific second half. The Latvians were down by 6 at halftime, but managed to turn things around a nabbed an important victory to improve to 7-5, as the regular season is nearing a close.
Juventus weren’t as lucky though, as they crashed and burned in the final quarter, failing to hold their ground against Cibona. The Lithuanians still held a slim, 60-54 lead entering the final fourth, yet were impotent in the last ten minutes. They lost the period 27-12, went on to lose 72-81 in the Drazen Petrovic Basketball Center, and dropped to a 7-5 record.
FIBA Europe Cup
For Prienu-Birstono Vytautas, it was a win closer than they hoped for, but a win nonetheless. The Lithuanian club managed to take down Austrian side Redwell-Gunners and managed to hold on to the second spot in Group M. They were up by 16 after two quarters, but things got hot down the wire, as the home side chased back and kept things interesting in the final minutes. Final score – 85-81 in favor of Vytautas.
When Port of Parnu rose back up from a double-digit deficit in the game against Liepaja/Triobet, there was one man you could point the fingers at more than the others. Mihkel Kirves put up an astonishing display, and proved to be worthy of the Weekly MVP honors, as his side took a big home win.
With a 30-point swing in the game, you could tell things were going extremely well for Port of Parnu after the first quarter ended, and the same could be said about Mihkel Kirves, as he got nearly everything to fall. The forward scored 28 points shooting 10-for-14 from the field and added 6 free throw makes. He was also impressive under the boards, where he collected 13 rebounds. Kirves also dished out 2 assists and turned the ball over three times.
You couldn‘t say Kirves is having anything close to a phenomenal season, but his play has improved greatly after the New Year. Having averaged 5.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his first three games, he picked it up and is averaging 22.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in the two games in January. Perhaps we‘ve got our newest monthly MVP brewing here?
Parnu have struggled so far this season, winning just three-of-eleven games, but if the 20-year-old continues putting up numbers like these, who knows what might happen!
RAPLA – Thomas van der Mars had yet another monstrous game but that wasn’t enough for the hosts to sneak out a victory, as Barons kvartals defeated AVIS Rapla 77-66 on Friday evening.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair from the earliest of stages in the game, as neither side were willing to give up any ground from the moment they hit the court. A quarter in, Barons kvartals held a slight advantage, leading by two.
The visitors managed to make some room for themselves at the start of the second period, as they improved their lead to 9 points. Nevertheless, AVIS Rapla managed to regain momentum and came back to reduce the deficit.
Barons kvartals managed to up the lead once again in the second half, only for it to be dissolved with a couple of baskets. Despite that, they still held an important 5 point margin over Rapla entering the final quarter.
The Latvians managed to get things going well in the final period, as they finally pushed the margin to double-digits. They went on to win by eleven.
Davis Geks was the top scorer for Barons kvartals, as he had 19 points, while Denis Krestinin chipped in with a solid double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds. Davis Zonne added 12 points, while Kristaps Mediss ended the game with 11 points, despite going 0-for-6 from downtown.
Van der Mars was left scoreless in the final quarter, but still put up an outstanding scoreline for Rapla, as he worked hard on the offensive glass to collect 22 points and 16 rebounds (10 offensive). Rasham Suarez added 14 points, while Domen Bratoz chipped in with 12.