By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Mario Hezonja with 22 points and Lorenzo Brown with 21 led the charge as UNICS Kazan got the 85-71 home win against ALBA Berlin and jumped to a respectable 6-5 record in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
It’s an impressive run by the Russian club which has won five out of the last six games and should be considered a playoffs contender at this point.
Brown also added nine assists, while Hezonja dished five and also grabbed seven rebounds.
“Defense,” Hezonja said on the key to Unics’ win. “At halftime we said we’re not playing good and we needed to step up our effort on the defensive side. That’s what we did and that’s why we won. We have to keep doing this because we’re a very good team when we’re doing that.”
ALBA Berlin had an impressive first quarter, getting a 26-13 lead, but UNICS managed to come back and dominate the second half.
The hosts trailed by eight at halftime (48-40) and by one (59-60) at the end of the third thanks to the Lorenzo Brown and Hezonja duo.
Meanwhile, UNICS defense made things complicated for the German team that scored just 12 points in the third period and 11 in the fourth, as the hosts jumped to a 85-69 lead with less than two minutes left in the game.
Jaleen Smith and Christ Koumadje with 12 points each were the top scorers of ALBA, which finished the game with 15 turnovers and just 12 assists. The Albatrosses dropped to a 3-8 record.
Taking advantage of the opponent’s mistakes
Unics Kazan coach Velimir Perasovic emphasized on how his team’s defense made ALBA commit many errors and how this helped his team make up for their lack of sufficient rebounding.
“Overall it was a very difficult victory for us, especially after the very bad start,” Perasovic said. “We started very soft without concentration. Our defense was the worst it has been since I have been coaching here. Fortunately we changed everything in the second half and we held a very good offensive team to just 23 points in the second half. Today we lost the battle of the rebounds but we forced 19 turnovers for ALBA which is a great number and we also had more assists. We had a big problem with their big guy who really caused us issues. But in the second half everybody was very concentrated and made a great effort to this victory.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball