Sensation in Tallinn: Kalev beat Zenit!

Kalev/Cramo played their fourth game in VTB League against BC Zenit Saint Petersburg. First game against BC Khimki we lost 86:63. Second game against Nizhny Novgorod was much more better and Kalev/Cramo won 76:74. Kazan Unics vs. Kalev/Cramo game was a big surprise for everyone and Kalev won the game 85:63.

Kalev beat Zenit at home – 84:80 (19:15, 22:26, 22:21, 21:18).

Top scorers
Kalev: Kyle Vinales (17), Kristjan Kitsing (17), Aigars Skele (14), Janari Joesaar (14+5 rebounds), Sten Sokk (11)
Zenit: Gustavo Ayon (18+11 rebounds), Will Thomas (16), Alex Renfroe (14+6 assists)

Story
Last week, Tallinn showed the dangers of underestimation when they beat UNICS. Meeting another contender, Kalev were extremely motivated. Vinales-Kitsing duo made a starting run 8:2 and–although Zenit didn’t need much time to comeback–Kitsing again and Aigars Skele helped Kalev finish the first quarter with a lead 19:15. The hosts made another run in no time: Sten Sokk’s three-pointer made it 26:17. Zenit stabilized the game with Will Thomas’ astonishing performance–14 points in a row! Thanks to Thomas, Zenit levelled the game by the halftime break 41:41.
The third period looked like Zenit was gaining advantage. Saint Petersburg took 6-7-points lead several times including the one made by Evgeny Voronov’s 6-point run. However, Sokk and Kitsing took the lead back making it 63:62 before the final quarter.

Key moment
For the whole fourth period, Zenit were trying to catch the running Kalev. Two minutes before the buzzer, Gustavo Ayon–with two free throws–diminished the margin down to 3 points – 74:71. And that started the series of tactic fouls. Alex Renfroe’s made an insane drive: running through the whole court, he scored with a layup making it 80:75. Zenit received a chance. They used tight pressing forcing Kalev’s error, and Tim Abromaitis who just got to the court made a three-pointer. But in the next possession, Saint Petersburg didn’t manage to hold the unstoppable Kyle Vinales who scored 10 seconds to the buzzer in an amazing drive. Mateusz Ponitka sank back, but this basket couldn’t make any difference: Vinales made two free throws with a cold blood destroying the hopes of Zenit. Kalev beat the second contender in a row.

Hero
Kyle Vinales. Kalev guard showed his nerves of steel 9 of 9 from the line which was crucial in the clutch. The decisive 4 points in the last seconds were scored by him.

Stat
12 of 24 from beyond the arc. Kalev’s fabolous accuracy was one of the key factors while Zenit showed only 6 of 21.

Kalev shock Zenit

Kalev Tallinn who played last season’s playoffs chagned a lot during the summer. Roberts Stelmahers replaced Donaldas Kairys as a head coach, and foreign leaders left the team. Nonetheless, Kalev managed to build a strong roster and keeps on surprising: last week they destroyed UNICS, and this Monday shocked Zenit – 84:80.

At the same time, it’s not fair to say that Zenit was bad in the defense: Joan Plaza’s team tried to cover the opponents even after turnovers:

But three-pointers were crucial in this game: Kalev made 12 of 24, and then Kyle Vinales drove through traffic in decisive possesion. Zenit lost in Tallinn some days after the first win in Euroleague. After 4 weeks of the season, Kalev is the 2nd in standing after…

Source: VTB homepage (https://www.vtb-league.com/en/news/sensation-in-tallinn-kalev-beat-zenit/)