UNICS beats the champs at home!
UNICS Kazan rebounded from a tough loss in the best way possible, downing defending champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul 75-67 at home in Round 18 on Thursday. UNICS improved to 11-7 in the standings while Efes dropped 9-9. John Brown led the winners with 20 points and 5 steals. Andrey Vorontsevich added 12 points for UNICS. Shane Larkin led Efes with 17 points. Bryant Dunston added 15 while Chris Singleton had 11 for the guests. Vorontsevich, John Brown and Mario Hezonja fueled an opening 17-0 run that allowed UNICS to keep a 24-17 lead after 10 minutes. Larkin and Dunston pushed Efes to get as close as 35-34 but Vorontsevich and John Brown helped the hosts restore a 42-38 edge at halftime. Isaiah Canaan took over after the break, helping his team boost its margin to 57-49 at the end of the third quarter. Nothing changed after that, as UNICS kept a safe margin until the final buzzer.
Vorontsevich got UNICS going with a three-pointer. John Brown downed a jumper, Lorenzo Brown scored in penetration and Hezonja detonated a put-back slam that made Efes call timeout at 9-0. Hezonja kept pacing UNICS with a jumper and followed Dmitrii Uzinskii's corner triple with his own shot from downtown, capping a 17-0 opening run. Dunston stepped up with a put-back basket and a layup, then Adrien Moerman added a three-point play at 17-7. Vorontsevich insisted from beyond the arc but Rodrigue Beaubois and Dunston brought the guests within 22-14. Elijah Bryant bettered John Brown's jumper with a triple to fix the score at 24-17 after 10 minutes.
Dunston dunked early in the second quarter before Jarrell Brantley answered with consecutive layups for a 28-19 UNICS lead. Dunston scored again and Larkin hit a three-pointer to prompt a UNICS timeout at 28-24. Lorenzo Brown and a red-hot Larkin traded triples, then Bryant added a basket-plus-free throw that got Efes within 31-30. John Brown buried back-to-back mid-range jumpers while Larkin and Dunston kept Efes within 35-34. Vorontsevich got a rise from the crowd with a tip-in and John Brown followed an alley-oop slam with a three-point play, giving UNICS fresh air at 42-34. Singleton brought Efes within 42-38 at halftime.
Larkin scored in penetration soon after the break as Efes held UNICS scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Canaan ended that drought with a couple of three-pointers, getting help from Lorenzo Brown to restore a 50-42 UNICS lead. Dunston dunked and blocked a shot, which allowed James Anderson to score at the other end. Larkin bettered Vorontsevich's jumper with a triple, giving Efes hope at 52-49. Marco Spissu answered with a fastbreak layup, while John Brown and Hezonja soon restored a 57-49 margin for UNICS after three quarters.
Spissu buried a long two-pointer early in the fourth quarter and then matched Anderson's triple to open up a 62-52 UNICS lead. Beaubois joined the three-point shootout, Brantley scored in the low post and Dunston dunked for a 64-57 score with under 6 minutes left. Canaan fired in his third three-pointer as UNICS improved its defense, contesting all shots now. John Brown sent the crowd to their feet with an acrobatic reverse layup but Anderson and Singleton answered with back-to-back three-point plays to keep Efes within 69-63 with under 2 minutes remaining. John Brown hit free throws and Spissu buried a floater that sealed the outcome, 73-65, in the final minute.
John Brown kept soaring for UNICS
John Brown led UNICS Kazan to its 11th win in the current Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season. UNICS defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul, the reigning EuroLeague champion, 75-67 and Brown had an all-around game, stepping up in center Tonye Jekiri's absence. Brown finished the game with 20 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals and 7 fouls drawn for a career-high PIR of 28. Brown, the 2021-22 EuroLeague's steal leader, matched his career high in this game. In UNICS's last two showdowns, Brown is averaging 20.5 points, 5.0 steals and a PIR of 26.0.
Efes's Dunston was big despite loss
Anadolu Efes Istanbul had a bitter end to 2021, a year that will be forever treasured in the club's history after it won its first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title in May. Efes registered a 75-67 road loss against UNICS Kazan and played without Vasilije Micic, last season's EuroLeague MVP, who was on the bench but injured. However, veteran center Bryant Dunston stepped up in a tough situation, allowing Efes to rally from a 17-0 start and get back in the game. Dunston finished with his season highs of 15 points, 8 rebounds and 23 PIR. His 3 blocks also matched his best mark this season, which came against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in Round 17.
Agressiveness gives UNICS the win
UNICS Kazan defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul 75-67 in Round 18 and its trademark aggressiveness allowed the Russian powerhouse to prevail against the reigning Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion. UNICS finished the game with 8 steals while picking up just 8 turnovers, just shy of its season-low mark of 7 in Round 11 against ALBA Berlin. Efes, meanwhile, finished with just 3 steals and as many as 14 turnovers. Those extra possessions allowed UNICS to win the game. Even when Efes had a higher team PIR, 79-83, UNICS won the battle and improved to 11-6 in the standings.
Thursday, December 30, 2021