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.
PRIENAI – Despite being up by double-digits at halftime, Prienai were unable to defend home ground against Jekabpils, as they fell 69-76 (21-24; 25-12; 7-18; 16-22) in the Group B duel.
Prienai dropped to a 3-6 record with this loss, while Jekabpils sit atop the favorites to win Group B with a 7-2 record.
The teams went neck-to-neck for the greater part of the game with a couple exceptions. It was as close as it gets in the first quarter and the sides were separated by just three points after the initial ten minutes.
Prienai ran away late in the first half, as they built up a 10 point lead before the end of the first half. However, the Latvians, cheered on by a good dozen fans in enemy territory soon came back and were already up by one point after three periods.
They managed to pull ahead by 11 and didn’t let up in Prienai’s final surge.
Janis Poznaks was the go-to guy in Jekabpils’ offense, as he scored 16 points and added 6 rebounds. Rinalds Sirsnins added 15 with 2-of-9 shooting from downtown, while Pavels Veselovs ended the game with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Povilas Cukinas was solid with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Four players were in double-digit scoring for Prienai, as Giedrius Staniulis led the way with 16 points. Paulius Ivanauskas added 15, while Domantas Seskus and Arnas Labuckas finished with 13 points apiece, while the latter also corralled 9 rebounds.
PARNU – Parnu has shown some improved basketball, as they racked their second consecutive victory against a tough opponent with the 83-71 (18-14; 24-22; 19-14; 22-21) victory against Barons/LDz.
Parnu has recently risen like a phoenix with two victories to make it a 3-5 record, while Barons now have a split record of 4 victories and 4 losses.
The game started very slowly as both teams struggled to find any sort of a rhythm. However, once they got going it was a nail-biting affair. The leading side changed 10 times in the first half alone and clearly nothing was set in stone after the first half despite Parnu’s six point lead.
However, the Estonians got in the groove in the third quarter and managed to build up a double-digit lead, which followed them throughout the rest of the game.
Ronaldas Rutkauskas showcased quite the performance, as he scored 20 points and corralled 16 rebounds. Sandis Silavs added 17 points, while Janis Vahter ended the game with 11 points. Rannar Raap and Renato Lindmets chipped in with 9 apiece.
Arturs Bricis was the game’s highest scorer with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Ernests Kalve added 14 points, while Gatis Jahovics finished with 9 points.
PANEVEZYS – Lietkabelis improved their winning streak to six with a tough-earned 85-81 (19-21; 26-18; 24-24; 16-18) victory against Valga Maks ja Moorits on Wednesday evening.
The Lithuanians improved to an 8-2 record, while Valga have now lost 6 of their 10 games.
Lietkabelis looked like the stronger side early on, as they jumped ahead by 7 in the middle of the opening quarter, but it soon turned around, as Valga rushed ahead at the end of the period.
The lead changed hands at the start of the quarter, but ultimately, Lietkabelis were able to make some breathing room and were ahead by 6 points entering halftime.
The Lithuanian side had already reached a double-digit lead in the third quarter, but Maks ja Moorits finished the quarter strong and bounced back to only a six point deficit before the final ten minutes.
While the Lithuanians were the front-runners throughout the quarter, Valga had a chance to rise to victory in the final minute. However, they wasted it with a couple of bad turnovers and Lietkabelis celebrated the victory.
Ivan Nelyubov was the leading scorer with 21 points for Lietkabelis. He also added 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Zygimantas Jonusas only hit one of his six three-point attempts but managed to finish up with 16 points. Dainius Salenga and Evaldas Zabas added 14 points apiece, as the latter also chipped in with 7 rebounds.
Reinis Strupovics scored 25 points for the Estonian club, while Edgars Krumins and Jurijs Aleksejevs, who had respectively 7 and 8 rebounds, added 14 points each to the total.
KEDAINIAI – Despite putting up a great fight against one of the top teams in Group C, Nevezis fell short of their first victory, as Liepaja/Triobet snatched the 73-64 (26-21; 20-20; 27-21; 17-22) victory.
The Latvian side has 5 win in seven games and are right behind Juventus. Nevezis, on the other hand, is miles away with a 0-6 record.
Nevezis took the upper hand at the get-go, as they raced off to an 8-0 start, which, however, was short-lived. The visitors responded with a 10-0 run of their own and soon the game was back in balance. However, another 9-0 stretch allowed Liepaja/Triobet to reestablish their advantage. By the end of the quarter, the margin had shrunk to five.
Liepaja had built a solid 15-point lead in the second period, but the hosts arranged a 16-2 run and finished the quarter on level terms.
Liepaja/Triobet once again shot ahead in the third quarter and built a double-digit lead that carried over to the final ten minutes where the Latvians kept their distance for most of the quarter but allowed Nevezis to catch up when it mattered most.
With 25 seconds remaining, it was still a 7-point game, but Thomas Davis was fouled while shooting a three-pointer, then Arnolds Helmanis commited an unsportsman-like foul and Nevezis had the chance to tie the game. However, they missed one of the free-throws and followed it up by a missed three-pointer, giving the visitors the chance to seal the game.
Janis Antrops was the leading scorer for the victors, as he tallied 15 points. Edgaras Zelionis added 14, while Mareks Jurevicus finished the game with 11. Lauris Blaus and Andrius Mazutis ended the game with 9 each, while the latter also assisted his teammates 10 times and snatched 5 rebounds.
Roderick Camphor was outstanding for Nevezis, but even his 33-point and 7-rebound performance was not enough to will his team to victory. Thomas Davis scored 22 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, while Marcus Monroe added 16 points and 6 assists, but also committed 8 turnovers.
TALLINN – It proved to be an unsuccessful day for both Tallinn sides, as TLU Kalev also faced a defeat at the hands of a Latvian opponent. The hosts fell apart in the final quarter and were blown out by Valmiera 73-90 (15-17; 18-19; 18-21; 22-33).
Valmiera is atop of the rankings in Group B with seven victories in nine games, while TLU have won only once in nine outings.
Valmiera won the battle under the boards by a huge margin (47-25), and that was perhaps the main reason they finished so far ahead.
The game tipped off with both sides going neck to neck, as Valmiera only held a two point advantage after the first ten minutes. They reached a 7-point margin in the second quarter, but it was soon cut back to single-shot range.
The Latvians finally managed to cut loose in the middle of the third quarter. They gathered up a 10-point advantage and looked in great position for victory.
The margin grew gradually in the final quarter and TLU Kalev faced a 17-point defeat when it was all said and done.
Kristaps Dargais was impressive for Valmiera, as he scored 22 points and tallied 8 rebounds. Karlis Apsitis added 17 points, while Justin Hurt finished close to a double-double with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Maris Ziedins and Sam Dower Jr. scored respectively 13 and 11 points.
Robertas Grabauskas was once again a top-performer for TLU Kalev, as he amassed 24 points and 8 rebounds. Reimo Tamm helped him out with 19 points and 5 assists, while Raido Roos ended the game with 15 points.