Pyrinto return to winning ways in Tallinn


TALLINN – Pyrinto got back to winning ways with a 95-69 victory against Tallinna Kalev on the road in the Estonian capital on Wednesday.

The Finnish team is the clear leader of Group A with a 7-1 record, while the Estonians have won only twice in seven games.

Tallinna Kalev got off to a somewhat promising start, taking 9-7 lead after a three-pointer by Illimar Pilk, but it was the last time the hosts had the edge, with Pyrinto jumping ahead, with a 12-2 run.

Having finished the first quarter with a 29-15 advantage, the visitors from Tampere extended the lead to 26 points at the halftime break, shooting the lights out from downtown.

Not much changed in the second half, with Pyrinto dominating against their Estonian rivals and grabbing a game-high 32-point lead after a basket by Damon Williams to make it 66-34.

Osku Heinonen led Pyrinto with 21 points, Antero Lehto collected 17 points and dished out four assists, while Kelvin Lewis chipped in with 12 points.

For Tallinna KalevRenato Lindmets had a team-high 18 points and seven rebounds, Illimar Pilk scored 12 points, while Kaido Saks finished the game with 10 points and eight boards.

Dolphins victorious in Estonia


RAPLA – Norrkoping Dolphins extended their winning streak to three games after taking a relatively easy 77-64 victory against Tyco Rapla on the road in Estonia on Tuesday.

After a pair of early three-pointers by Pierre Hampton and Kendrick Brown, the visitors from Sweden took a 14-6 lead, looking to break away right from the get-go in the first quarter.

However, Rapla finished the quarter strong and trimmed the deficit to two points, as Andre Parnu swished in two free-throws to make it 22-24.

Dolphins shot ahead in the third quarter once again, breaking away from a 25-25 deadlock with an 8-0 run before pushing the advantage to double digits with another solid 7-1 stretch.

The visitors started the third period with a 45-33 lead, but it grew to a game-high 19 points in the third period after a made shot by William Walker.

Although Martin Dorbek had cut the deficit to single digits midway after scoring a lay-up midway through the final period, 56-65 was as close as Rapla would end up getting.

Edgaras Jeromanovs collected a game-high 17 points for the guests, William Walker scored 14 points, while Joakim Kjellbom chipped in with 11 points.

Rapla was led by Sven Kaldre, who had 12 points and five rebounds, as the young duo of Martin Dorbek and Rait-Riivo Laane added 11 points apiece.

Zelionis hits game-winner, Barsy win


PARNU – A strong third quarter allowed Barsy to improve to a 3-2 mark, as the visitors from Kazakhstan registered a 69-67 victory against Parnu on Tuesday in Group B.

The teams were all even after the first quarter, with the scoreboard showing 18-18 after the first ten minutes of play, but the hosts broke away in the second quarter.

Parnu jumped ahead to a 35-29 halftime lead after winning a 7-0 run to close out the second quarter after Nemanja Miljkovic made a basket with a couple of seconds left in the half.

However, Barsy responded with a run of their own in the third period, winning an 8-0 stretch to turn a six-point deficit into a 45-43 lead halfway through the quarter.

Although the visitors started the final period with a two-point lead, Parnu bounced back and took an upper hand at 58-53 after a bucket by Janis Vahter with five minutes remaining.

The teams were still even with a minute left in the game, but Gytis Sirutavicius scored two points to give Barsy a 63-61 lead, but Zivojin Grubovic responded with a long-range shot.

The lead changed hands a few more times, before Janis Vahter went one-of-two from the free-throw line to knot things up at 67-67 with eight seconds remaining.

However, in the last possession Mikhail Yevstigneev managed to find Lithuanian big man Edgaras Zelionis, who drained the game-winning shot with only a second to spare.

Zelionis was the only Barsy player in double digits with a game-high 25 points and added eight rebounds to his total, with fellow Lithuanian Gytis Sirutavicius adding nine points.

21 points and seven boards from Janis Vahter fell short of bringing the home side the win, as Nemanja Miljkovic added 14 points for Parnu.


Caspiy claim second win in Estonia


VALGA – Caspiy earned their second win of the season, as they defeated the winless Valga Maks&Moorits 79-70 in Group C action on Tuesday night.

While the Kazakh club improved to 2-4, the Estonians lost their sixth consecutive game.

The lead went back and forth between the two teams in the first half, but Caspiy managed to take a 39-37 lead into the halftime after a basket by Zhanysh Erns Uulu late in the second quarter.

With two and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Valga had a 53-52 lead, but the guests finished the period with 6-0 run to regain the lead and enter the final quarter ahead 58-53.

Caspiy broke away for good in the fourth period, taking a 72-58 lead with 2:57 left on the clock, as David Nesbitt capped off an 11-0 run with a three-pointer.

Nesbitt was the team’s top-scorer with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Zhanysh Erns Uulu and Valery Gandlin collected 14 points apiece.

For Valga, Edi Sinanovic had a game-high 24 points, as Jurijs Aleksejevs and Viljar Veski scored 14 points, with no other player reaching double digits for the home side.

Valmiera win Latvian clash against Jekabpils


VALMIERA – Valmiera won all four quarters in an easy 95-67 victory against the visiting Jekabpils in a Group A clash between two Latvian teams on Tuesday evening.

The winners improved to a 3-3 record, with Jekabpils dropping to 2-3.

A basket by Raimonds Gabrans had increased the gap to 18-11 already in the first quarter, as the home side was not ready to fool around and took the initiative right from the get-go.

After a quick 6-0 run in the second quarter, Valmiera’s lead reached double digits at 39-28, following a jumper by Kaspars Cipruss, but Jekabpils managed to scale it down to seven points at the half.

The real breaking point happened in the third quarter, which the hosts won 24-14, as the hosts ran away to a 17-point lead before the start of the final period, cruising home with the win in the fourth quarter.

Valmiera’s high-flying forward Kristaps Dargais had his best game of the season, finishing the game with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Raimonds Gabrans added 14 points and six assists.

For the losing side, Troy Barnies had a team-high 18 points, Janis Poznaks collected 14, while Cameron Runders finished the game with 12 points.

Dolphins too strong for Tallinn Kalev


TALLINN – Norrkoping Dolphins improved to a 4-2 record in Group A after taking a 77-62 victory against Tallinn Kalev on the road in Estonia on Monday evening, with the hosts dropping to 2-4.

The visitors from Sweden led 22-18 after the first quarter, but Tallinn Kalev switched roles in the second period, going on an 11-0 run to turn a six-point deficit into a 39-34 lead.

Having finished the half with a 44-40 advantage, the home side led until the 3:06 mark in the third period, as Joakim Kjellbom sent the visitors back in front and

Dolphins finished the quarter successfully and entered into the final period already with an eight-point advantage at 61-53. It did not take long for the lead to reach double digits in the fourth quarter, as the Swedish club ended up taking a convincing victory.

Joakim Kjellbom had a team-high 21 points and 10 rebounds for DolphinsWilliam Walker scored 17 points and added 11 boards, while Kendrick Brown finished with 15 points.

The hosts were led by Kaido Saks, who was the top-scorer of the game with 23 points, as Reimo Tamm was the only other Tallinn Kalev played in double digits with 18 points.

TU/Rock stroll past visiting Caspiy


TARTU – TU/Rock extending their winning streak to three games after taking an 84-59 victory against Caspiy Aktau at home in Estonia on Saturday evening.

The Tartu club is third in Group C with a 4-3 record, while Caspiy are sixth with a 1-4 mark.

David Nesbitt opened the scoring for Caspiy with a three-pointer, but Rock responded with a 15-0 run to jump ahead into a double-digit lead already midway through the first quarter.

The gap had reached 20-points in the eighth minute of the game after Timo Eichfuss capped off another 10-0 run with a basket to make it 25-5.

Rock’s lead continued growing in the second quarter, as the Estonians decided the outcome of the game by pushing the advantage to 46-23 at halftime, as they swiftly cruised to take the win in the third and fourth quarters.

Timo Eichfuss was the top-scorer of the game with 18 points for the winning side, Joosep Toome collected 12 points, while Janar Talts added 11, with no other players reaching double digits.

For Caspiy, Zhanysh Erns Uulu had a season-high 16 points, Kris Richard added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Vadym Matyukevych chipped in with 10 pints and also grabbed eight boards.

Timma: "Our goal is to defend the title"


VENTSPILS – Janis Timma has been one of the premiere Baltic prospects for the last couple of years and the 21-year-old BK Ventspils forward proved just that by snatching MVP honors for the month of November in the Baltic Basketball League.

The Latvian player, who was awarded the Finals MVP trophy award last year, averaged 17.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 steals on 62% shooting from the field, including 6-of-12 three-pointers. sat down with Timma to talk about the ongoing season, his NBA experience and the dream of playing of the Latvian national team, which unfortunately remained unfulfilled.

First of all, congratulations on the award. You were named the Finals MVP last year, now ‒ MVP of the month. Where do you keep these awards and do you have any more space left for new ones?

First if all, thank you all for the greetings. All my greatest titles are kept in my mother’s home and I think there is still enough place for them. Speaking about the amount of titles, there can never be too many and it’s a great feeling to receive them.

The month of November was quite significantly better for you personally, comparing to October. What do you think was the reason behind the improvement?

It’s hard to say why this month was better. I am going to every game as usual, because we know that it will not be easy. Our team is young and we have a lot of up and downs in our performances.

The team has new foreigners, some new local players, but at the same time plenty of players and coach Stelmahers stayed in the club. In your opinion, how are the teams similar or different?

Compared with the last season and now, it is very difficult at the moment, because we have a lot of injured players, who can’t help the team right now. We still have not found an extra big guy under the basket. So I find it hard to compare the teams in this situation.

As the reigning BBL champions, would it be fair to say that anything less than repeating the success would be a disappointment? What do you think are the chances of defending the title?

An unequivocal yes – our main objective is to defend the championship title. It will not be easy until the team isn’t 100 percent ready, but we have already proved that we can play and we can do it well. 

There must be some good and bad memories from the summer ‒ you got selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Draft, but didn’t travel to EuroBasket 2013 with the Latvian national team.

This summer – it was something I have never had and would like to wish that feeling to every basketball player, because the feelings you get make you even more motivated and show that you can achieve much with hard work and faith. 

Speaking of the national team, of course I’m sorry that I could not help the team with my illness, but I feel that my time has come and I have not lost anything and only got better at practice during the part of the summer I was with the team.

Can you tell us how happy you were to hear your name in the NBA Draft and what was the best NBA experience so far ‒ the draft itself, the Summer League, working out in Memphis?

Of course that was a huge experience, practicing at such a level as the Memphis Grizzlies. Big thanks to all of the coaches and their assistants for their work.  

Do you follow the Memphis Grizzlies results in the NBA, do you maybe watch some of their games?

Yes, this season I am following the Memphis Grizzlies more than before and of course I am keeping track of a lot of the guys I know personally.

 Is EuroBasket 2015 in Ukraine the big goal for you right now in terms of the Latvian national team?

As I mentioned earlier on, the illness was quite the predicament for me, but I just could not get healthy quickly enough to help the team. Speaking of Eurobasket 2015 in Ukraine, of course it is my goal, which I think I will achieve. There is still time to become a better player and prepare for this tournament as well as possible.

What are your goals in the near future, this season with Ventspils and what do you think about the next step in your career, your longer-term ambitions?

About the next steps in my career, just a few words – practice and practice to become a better and more stable player. Then, top basketball will not go anywhere from me.

Dolphins hand Pyrinto first loss


NORRKOPING ‒ Pyrinto were handed the first defeat in the BBL, as the Finnish side suffered a 70-53 defeat on the road in Sweden against Norrkoping Dolphins.

After six wins in a row, it was the first loss for Pyrinto, while Dolphins improved to a 3-2.

The visitors from Tampere had an 11-10 lead four minutes into the game, but it was their last time ahead, as Dolphins went on a 9-0 run and finished the first quarter ahead by six points.

After a pair of three-pointers by William Walker and Joakim Kjellbom halfway through the second period, the home side’s lead grew to 35-20, with Pyrinto unusually struggling on offense.

Although the Finnish side had cut the deficit to 28-35 with an 8-0 stretch to end the second quarter, Dolphins kept their cool and managed to keep a safe distance in the third period, before pulling away for good  in the fourth.

Joakim Kjellbom had a game-high 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Swedes, William Walker added a double-double of 16 points and 11 boards, with Edgars Jeromanovs chipping in with 15 points.

Benjamin Raymond was the top-scorer for Pyrinto with 16 points and eight boards, Kelvin Lewis scored 12 points, while Damon Williams had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Nevezis stay strong, defeat Lietkabelis


KEDAINIAI ‒ Nevezis improved to a 5-1 record in Group B, as one of the group front-runners came back from behind to take a 62-56 win against Lietkabelis.

The club is now in a three-way tie at the top of the group, while the visitors have won only one time in seven games.

The hosts started the game with an 8-0 run, but Lietkabelis responded with 16-0 spurt of their own to jump in front 16-8 after a three-pointer by Jokubas Gintvainis.

Nevezis continued having problems on the offensive end in the second period, as the visitors from Panevezys finished the first half with a 32-24 advantage.

Led by Arvydas Siksnius and Gintaras Leonavicius, who scored eight points apiece in the third quarter, the Kedainiai club got back in front and entered the final period already leading 44-39.

Nevezis had increased the advantage to double-digits, but Lietkabelis came back and tied the game at 54-54 with three minutes remaining.

However, Arvydas Siksnius came up big once again, hitting a three-point shot, Rolandas Jakstas made two free-throws on the next possession to make it a five-point game, as Nevezis held on to take the win.

Siksnius paced the winners with 19 points, Jakstas scored 12 points, while Vidas Ginevicius finished the game with 10.

For Lietkabelis, Dinma Odiakosa had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, while the only other player in double-digits was Vaidas Kariniauskas, who added 10 points but turned the ball over six times.