JEKABPILS – Jekabpils gave the home crowd something to talk about with their impressive victory against TLU Kalev. They took control from the initial minutes and pushed their lead into insurmountable territory quite quickly, en route to their 78-48 (20-13; 13-6; 22-16; 23-13) victory.
The Latvians now hold a 7-2 record, while TLU have only one victory in 9 games.
Jekabpils were the leading team from the first minutes and slowly built up a lead. At the end of the first quarter, 7 points separated the two sides.
TLU’s offense was frozen in the second quarter, as Jekabpils only allowed six points to give them a 14 point advantage at the break.
The gap just expanded in the second half and clearly, the final quarter was just a formality. Despite that, the margin grew exponentially in the last ten minutes and reached 30 before the final buzzer.
Andrejs Selakovs led the way with 14 points for Jekabpils. Pavels Veselovs and Rinalds Sirsnins chipped in with 11, while Devin Taylor had 10.
Robertas Grabauskas had 16 points and 11 rebounds to his name, while Reimo Tamm was the only other TLU Kalev player in double-digit scoring.
VALMIERA – Valmiera extended their victory tally in a great game against Lietkabelis. The Latvians came back in the final quarter and tabbed the 74-71 (20-19; 19-18; 15-23; 20-11) victory.
Valmiera got their eighth victory in ten games, while Lietkabelis dropped to an 8-3 record.
While Valmiera were the early frontrunners, three consecutive three-pointers gave Lietkabelis a six point lead. The two sides went back and forth for the whole second quarter and only two points separated them at halftime.
Lietkabelis pulled forth in the third period, as they won the quarter 23-15. The lead was still fragile and we saw the home side quickly wiping it all out.
In the middle of the final quarter the score was finally all tied up. The two teams exchanged missed free-throws and it was in favor for the leading Valmiera, who took a tough 74-71 victory.
Marcis Vitols led the way with 18 points, Justin Hurt accompanied him with 16 to his name, while Sam Dower Jr. ended up scoring 13.
Egidijus Dimsa had a solid double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds for Lietkabelis. Evaldas Zabas and Ivan Nelyubov scored 11 apiece, while Jurica Zuza ended the game with 10 points.
Valga Maks ja Moorits led by twenty points at one moment of the game but were still unable to hold off against group rivals Prienai. They got off to a great start but unable to finish as well, losing 70-68 (28-15; 11-17; 15-19; 14-19).
The Estonians now hold a record of 4-7, while the Lithuanian side is a spot above with 4 victories in ten match-ups.
Valga came out firing with all cylinders and were already up 26-6 with six minutes played. The margin was cut down to 13 before the end of the opening quarter. Prienai turned it around in the second quarter and got the lead down to seven.
As the game carried on, Valga’s lead kept diminishing. Prienai chased their opponents down and before the final quarter, it was just a 3-point margin.
The final minutes of the game were chaotic, as both teams turned the ball over multiple times. After Vidmantas Sragauskis made one of his two free-throws to extend the lead to two points, Kalvis Krumins still had a chance to tie the game up. However, his shot was blocked by Paulius Ivanauskas and Prienai celebrated a huge comeback.
Ovidijus Varanauskas was the leader of the pack for Prienai, as he scored 23 points. Paulius Ivanauskas added 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Vidmantas Sragauskis contributed 11 points to the total. Arnas Labuckas had a good night under the basket, scoring 8 points and tearing down 12 rebounds.
Jurijs Aleksejevs scored 21 points for the losing side and also tore down 9 rebounds. Viljar Veski chipped in with 16, while Reinis Strupovics had 13.
UTENA – Nevezis managed to put up a fight only for twenty minutes as they faced the league’s best in Juventus. The visitors fell short 82-59 (17-21; 24-18; 21-8; 20-12) in the Group C match-up.
The two teams are on the opposite sides of the standings, as Juventus are going strong with a league-best 7-1 record, while Nevezis are the league’s worst team with no victories in seven games.
Although unexpectedly, Nevezis started the game off on a higher note than the home side. The team from Kedainiai was up ahead by four after the first quarter and quickly moved it up to eight. However, the home side came racing back and jumped ahead with an 8-0 run.
Juventus reached a double-digit lead in the third quarter and were already in a great position for victory with a 15 point advantage. The margin grew to an insurmountable in the matter of minutes and the final minutes of the quarter were merely a formality.
Arvydas Siksnius led the way with 18 points for Juventus. Simas Buterlevicius added 11, while Rashaun Broadus chipped in with 10. Vaidas Cepukaitis ended the game with 9 points and 9 rebounds, while Saulius Kulvietis also had 9.
Joshua Crawford had an impressive outing with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Roderick Camphor and Justas Tamulis had 10 points apiece.
LIEPAJA – Liepaja’s win count moved to six as they dismantled Tyco Rapla at home, taking the 87-68 (23-14; 23-14; 16-20; 25-20) victory in the Group C match-up.
Liepaja are one of the top teams in the league with six victories in eight contests. Rapla, on the other hand have lost six in a row and now hold a 3-6 record.
For eight minutes it was a very close contest but then Liepaja/Triobet jumped ahead and didn’t look back. The margin quickly grew out to become an insurmountable barrier and the Latvians got through easily.
While the visitors managed to catch up, the deficit stayed in double-digits and the final quarter was merely a formality.
Lauris Blaus was the top-scorer for the victors, as he nabbed 20 points and also recorded 8 rebounds. Dwayne Johnson added 15 points, while Mareks Jurevicus and Edgaras Zelionis were also in double-digit scoring with respectively 13 and 10 points.
Rait Keerles scored 14 for Rapla, Ernestas Ezerskis added 13, while Rait-Riivo Laane ended the game with 11.
PASVALYS – The home walls did not seem to be as solid as it was expected, as Lithuanian side Pieno zvaigzdes took over Parnu with their newly named monthly MVP 108-80 (30-24; 23-15; 26-18; 29-23).
Pieno zvaigzdes now hold a record of 6-2, while Parnu have now lost six of their nine games.
In the first quarter the game was very close and high-scoring, but the Lithuanians were in the leading position after the first ten minutes.
The break of the game happened at the middle of the second quarter when Pieno zvaigzdes ran off to a 16-0 run. From that time on, the game was decided and it was not even close.
Laimonas Kisielius had an impressive game for the victors, as he tallied 27 points and 9 rebounds. Michael Dixon and Alexander Oriakhi chipped in with 14 points apiece, while Evaldas Kairys added 12 points to the total. Gytis Sirutavicius was also in double-digits with 10 points.
For Parnu it was two players leading the way, as Renato Lindmets and Sandis Silavs both scored 17 points. The reigning monthly MVP Ronaldas Rutkauskas contributed 13 points, while Janis Vahter ended the game with 10.
The first victory of the year was recorded in Finland, as Pyrinto easily got through Barons/LDz with an 83-53 (26-10; 11-12; 14-20; 32-3) victory in Group A.
Pyrinto is currently all tied up with a 5-5 record, while Barons/LDz have one victory less.
Pyrinto got hold of the game very early on, as the Latvians faced a 16-point deficit at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, it was more of the same, as the Latvian bench couldn't find a basket and trailed big-time at halftime.
While the third quarter was a turnaround for the Latvian side, it was still not enough to light a fire in the game, as Pyrinto destroyed their opponents in the final quarter by nearly thirty, leaving the fellow Latvians far far behind.
Damon Williams was the top scorer for the winning side with 16 points and 6 rebounds, while Alex Vaenerberg added 11 points. A couple of others contributed to the victory but none of them reached double-digits.
For the losing side, it was Kaspars Kambala leading the way. He scored 25 points and added 8 rebounds, while Jekabs Rozitis chipped in 7 points and 12 rebounds.
Dynamo Moscow has decided to withdraw from the Baltic Basketball League, citing the complicated economic situation and a tight match schedule. The club officially informed the league office about the decision.
PARNU – After coming in second in last month’s Baltic Basketball League (BBL) MVP race, Parnu’s Ronaldas Rutkauskas moved up a spot and secured the December honors with three impressive performances.
Not only did he achieve great personal results, as he averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists and a block, but he also lifted Parnu out of a tough slump. The Estonians won two of their three games against two very strong opponents in Kalev/Cramo and Barons/LDz. The center also came in second in fan voting.
Rutkauskas is currently the league’s best board crasher with an average of 11 rebounds per game. He is also among the three top scorers and is second in overall efficiency.
The game against Barons/LDz was the Lithuanian’s best performance this month, as he tallied 20 points to go alongside the 16 rebounds. He also dished out 3 assists, totaling 31 ranking points, while Parnu took a 83-71 victory.
The big-man secured another double-double against Pyrinto with 13 points and 17 rebounds and was just one rebound shy for the third one, as he tallied 18 points and 9 rebounds in the victory against Kalev/Cramo.
The award will be presented on the 6th of January in Parnu’s matchup against Pieno zvaigzdes.
The last week of 2014 only consisted of 6 games, but nevertheless, it was a truly exciting one! Let’s look over all the milestones with the tenth edition of the BBL Weekly Review!
WINLESS. Nevezis was only one team in the entire league that didn’t manage to win a single game in the first part of the 2014-2015 season and finished the year with a 0-6 record.
TWO IN A ROW. Kalev/Cramo, who seemed to be one of the front-runners in the league prior to December, have now lost two in a row and both the losses came from the two bottom teams in Group A. The Estonians now hold a solid 6-2 record nevertheless.
LEADERS. Juventus have only lost one match-up in 7 contests, making them the best team in the league at the moment. The Lithuanian side has three games left in their schedule and all of them will be played at home.
STREAK. Lietkabelis pushed their consecutive win total to 6 with the tough 85-81 victory against Valga Maks ja Moorits this week. Meanwhile, besides Nevezis’ league-worst 6 games losing streak, Rapla and TLU Kalev have now lost five in a row.
RUNS. Jekabpils was responsible for the greatest run this week, going 12-0 to turn the game around and leading to the 76-69 victory.
SIRSNINS COUNTER. The Sirsnins counter is back after a short break! Rinalds Sirsnins has yet to attempt less than seven three-pointers this season, as he averages 10 attempts on 40% shooting throughout the year. His most recent performance was subpar however, as he only made two of his nine attempts.
Ronaldas Rutkauskas was the runner-up for the MVP award last month and he sure did his best to move up a spot this week. The Lithuanian scored 20 points and tore down 16 rebounds in Parnu’s victory against Barons/LDz, racking up a total of 31 ranking points.
Right behind him was Roderick Camphor of Nevezis, who, despite his team’s woes, had an outstanding game individually. The guard scored 33 points and gobbled up 7 rebounds en route to 30 ranking points.
Third on the list is another Lithuanian playing abroad – Robertas Grabauskas scored 24 points and tore down 8 rebounds, as he collected 27 ranking points. This performance snapped a streak of three double-doubles in a row.
Kristaps Dargais ended up fourth on the top five. The young Latvian was responsible for 22 of Valmiera’s points and 8 rebounds.
Ivan Nelyubov closes out the list with his 21-point, 5-rebound and 6-assist performance against Maks ja Moorits. The Lietkabelis center amassed 25 ranking points.