UNICS blows past Zvezda in Belgrade
UNICS Kazan led from start to finish, hitting a club-record 15 triples, to run past host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 78-98 at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall on Friday night. It was the sixth win in last seven games for UNICS, which improved to 7-5 on the season, while Zvezda lost its third straight to drop to 4-8 record. UNICS scored the first 8 points of the game and held a double-digit lead in the first quarter. The hosts did get within 3 points in the second quarter but never got closer as UNICS broke the game wide open in the third and led by as many as 25 points in the fourth. John Brown paced the winner with 18 points. Mario Hezonja and Isaiah Canaan scored 17 apiece, while Dmitrii Uzinski scored 11 in the winning effort. Austin Hollins finished with 15 points for the hosts. Nate Wolters had 13, Ognjen Dobric 11 and Nikola Kalinic 10.
UNICS came out red-hot, with Hezonja nailing 2 triples and Uzinskii another to open a 2-11 lead. Kalinic, Wolters and Dobric all scored close-range baskets, getting Zvezda's offense going, but another three from Uzinskii and a jumper from John Brown helped extend the UNICS lead to 10-20. The visitors dominated the boards and held Zvezda to just 1 field goal over 5 minutes of the quarter while a floater from O.J. Mayo and a transition triple from Canaan opened a 12-26 margin. Zvezda finished the first quarter with a dunk from Hollins that made it 16-26. UNICS opened the second with Marco Spissu feeding Tonye Jekiri for a dunk, then Spissu getting a lucky bounce on a triple to help open an 18-33 lead. Zvezda got a boost with a pair of triples from Branko Lazic. A subsequent pair of baskets by Kalinic at the rim cut the deficit to 32-35. Hezonja snapped an 11-0 Zvezda run with a three-pointer, then layups from Uzinskii and John Brown helped UNICS take a 39-47 lead into halftime.
Lazic opened the second half making a layup, but a jumper from John Brown followed by back-to-back triples from Uzinskii and Hezonja made it 41-55. Wolters knocked down a three for the hosts, but a floater from Lorenzo Brown followed by offensive rebounds and close-range baskets from Jekiri and John Brown opened a 44-63 difference midway through the third. A corner triple from Hollins snapped a 3-16 UNICS spurt and sparked a 7-0 run that gave Zvezda life, but the visitors had another answer. John Brown had an easy layup and Spissu hit a triple, but after Dobric answered with a triple, Canaan nailed his back-to-back to make it 55-76 in the final minute of the third quarter. Hollins had a pair of dunks for the hosts, but Canaan scored 8 points for the visitors, including another pair of back-to-back long-range shots, as the lead ballooned to 66-91 midway through the fourth quarter as UNICS cruised the rest of the way.
By the numbers: UNICS's offense dominated in Belgrade
Crvena Zvezda entered the game allowing a league-low 70.6 points, but UNICS shredded the hosts' defense in this game. UNICS scored more than 20 points in each quarter and a season-high 98 total, just one shy of a club record in a road game. UNICS's tally was at 70 points late in the third quarter and the team did not stop scoring until the final 2 minutes of the game.
UNICS not only hit a club-record 15 three-pointers against a Zvezda defense that had allowed just 7.7 triples per game entering this round, but the visitors did it on 46.9% long-range shooting. UNICS was even more deadly from close range, making 71.4% of its two-point shots, the second-best percentage ever for the team in EuroLeague play.
UNICS wins the boards
Zvezda finished with a 10-9 advantage in the offensive rebounds, but it is a deceiving stat. As many as 6 of those 10 offensive rebounds for the hosts came in the fourth quarter, with the game well out of hand. UNICS dominated the boards in the first three quarters. The visitors allowed just 3 rebounds during the first 10 minutes and a total of just 2 in the third quarter. UNICS held 15-25 rebounding advantage going into the fourth quarter. It was a total team effort for the visitors, too. Tonye Jekiri, John Brown and Mario Hezonja had 5 rebounds apiece, while point guards Marco Spissu and Lorenzo Brown each grabbed 4 .
Copycat 0-8 runs to open each half
UNICS opened the game with a 0-8 run, with Dimitrii Uzinskii hitting a triple, followed by a long-range shot from Mario Hezonja and an elbow jumper from John Brown. Another three-pointer by each Uzinskii and Hezonja opened a 6-14 gap and UNICS never relinquished the lead.
Zvezda did get within 32-35 in the second quarter, and scored the first basket of the third to make it 41-47, but the same trio of UNICS players fueled a 0-10 run then to build a double-digit lead. This time, the run started with an elbow jumper from John Brown, before Uzinskii nailed a triple and Hezonja added one of his, as UNICS was on its way to a big lead and an important road win.
Friday, November 26, 2021