Valencia bounces back at home
Valencia Basket snapped a three-game losing streak by downing Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 91-71 at La Fonteta on Friday night. Valencia improved to 11-9 and Zvezda dropped to 6-14 after losing its last three games. Louis Labeyrie led the winners with 16 points. Nikola Kalinic added 14, Mike Tobey 13, Derrick Williams 12 and Joan Sastre 11 for Valencia. Johnny O'Bryant led Zvezda with 21 points, and Quino Colom added 11 against his former team. Valencia led 27-15 after 10 minutes and boosted its margin to 46-30 late in the first half. Zvezda managed to get within 56-51 on a three-point play by Colom but Valencia restored a 68-57 margin after 30 minutes and never looked back.
Ognjen Dobric hit a floater to get Zvezda going. Kalinic followed a layup with a corner triple in a 7-0 run that put Valencia in charge. Williams took over with an alley-oop slam but Dejan Davidovac and Marko Jagodic-Kuridza kept Zvezda within 9-7. Sam Van Rossom and Sastre each struck from downtown in a 12-0 run that Williams capped with a jumper for a 21-7 score. O'Bryant stepped up with a layup and a jumper, then Aleksa Radanov scored around the basket to bring Zvezda within 23-13. O'Bryant dunked but Labeyrie and Tobey restored a 27-15 Valencia lead after 10 minutes. Fernando San Emeterio buried back-to-back triples early in the second quarter and Tobey dunked to make Zvezda call timeout at 35-20. Martin Hermannsson took over with a backdoor layup but Davidovac and Langston Hall kept the guests within 37-24. Hermannsson and Tobey kept pacing Valencia, and Labeyrie soon made it a 16-point game, 46-30. Branko Lazic and O'Bryant each hit a triple, getting help from Dobric and Colom to give Zvezda hope, 49-42, at halftime. O'Bryant converted a jump hook and a jumper soon after the break, but Tobey and Guillem Vives restored a 53-46 Valencia edge. O'Bryant scored again and Colom erased Williams's triple with a layup-plus-foul, but Kalinic scored around the basket and Van Rosson struck from beyond the arc to give the hosts fresh air at 61-51. Radanov and Colom rescued Zvezda but Kalinic kept the hosts way ahead, 68-57, after 30 minutes. Sastre scored twice in penetration early in the fourth quarter. Colom downed a jumper and O'Bryant added a layup to keep the guests within 72-62 with 7 minutes left. Vives buried a three-pointer, getting help from Labeyrie and Williams to boost the hosts' lead to 78-64. Nothing really changed in the final 4 minutes, as Valencia cruised to a well-deserved win.
Nikola Kalinic contributed at both ends and allowed Valencia to stay solid throughout the game. He finished with 14 points on 4-of-6 two-pointers, 1-of-1 triples and 3-of-4 free throws, adding 2 rebounds, a steal and matching his career-high in assists, 7. All that allowed him to get a PIR of 20.
Valencia went on a decisive run midway through the first quarter. Zvezda trailed 9-7 when Van Rossom buried a three-pointer, Sastre copied him, Kalinic and Labeyrie hit free throws and Williams sank a jumper. That 12-0 burst, fueled by five different players, boosted the hosts' lead to 21-7, enough to control the game for good.
Valencia shot much better, especially in the paint, and took much better care of the ball. The home team hit 66.7% of its two-point shots and 45% from downtown, doing much better than Zvezda (52.8% 2FG, 26.3% 3FG). Valencia recorded 22 assists and 10 turnovers, while Zvezda registered 11 assists and 17 turnovers.
Did you know?
Miki Vukovic, one of the most successful coaches in Valencia’s history, passed away at the age of 76 on Friday. Vukovic coached Valencia from 1995 to 2000, starting in the Spanish second division, and led the team to its first official title, the Spanish Copa del Rey in 1998. Before that, he led Dorna Godella to back-to-back EuroLeague Women titles in 1992 and 1993, helping it become the first Spanish squad to win that competition.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week. Valencia visits LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, featuring former star guard Antoine Diot, on Thursday, and a day later Zvezda hosts FC Barcelona.
Friday, January 15, 2021