At first sight Kalev is a typical outsider. The team started the season with five defeats in a row. It allows the biggest number of points in the League – 90.4 on average (96.8 on the road). Logically, it takes 10th place in the standings. However, the game in Krasnodar will obviously be tough.
Last round, two sensations stroke the VTB United League. First of all, Kalev downed Khimki. It was really frightful. The Estonians got a 23-point advantage at the beginning of the third quarter. Of course, Shved’s 30 points reduced the gap but the fact was that Kalev beat Bartzokas’ team.
The triumph over Khimki wasn’t the first show by the Estonians in the current VTB League championship. The only team which managed to score 100 points against CSKA was Kalev.
Kalev’s basketball changed after appointment of a new head coach. Alar Varrak was replaced by Lithuanian Donaldas Kairys. It seems his appointment prove its value. At the moment Kalev lacks one win to get to the play-off zone.
The second sensation of the last round was Loko’s win over CSKA in Moscow. One again, it proves that Lokomotiv Kuban is ready for any opponent. Our team still takes first place in the standings in allowed points – 69.8 on average.
Kalev’s newcomer Isaiah Briscoe draws special attention. The guard arrived in Tallinn from NBA at his 21. He trained in Portland summer camp, didn’t sign a contract and went to Europe. He has already played for the U.S. national team in various ages. In Kalev, he averages 21.2 points in 27 minutes on the court. His worst stats was in the game against CSKA – 13 points, 4 assists.
Mardy Collins is Loko’s top scorer. Our captain was awarded the Player of December of the VTB United League ahead of the CSKA game. In the next 40 minutes, he got 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. In the game against Zenit, Mardy scored 26 points which were the best stats of the cap for Loko.
Joe Ragland is the top assister of Loko – 4.2. Dmitry Kulagin, Mardy Collins, and Trevor Lacey average 3.3 assists per game.
Denis Levshin, Forward of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban:
- Kalev is up and running at the moment. In their first game in 2018, they confidently defeated Khimki. They showed very good team playing in offense and left no chance for the rival in rebounds. We must remember that the game lasts for 40 minutes, we cannot relax and should execute coach’s plans.
Lokomotiv Kuban vs. Kalev takes place in Basket Hall on January 14th at 4:00 p.m. Moscow time.