On Monday night, Crvena Zvezda Beograd returned to the top of the podium and reclaimed their ABA League crown after a dominant 97-54 Game 5 win over KK Buducnost Podgorica in the finals. With this momentous victory, Red Star reasserts their dominance over the Adriatic region. They have four championships out of the last five seasons, missing out on a five-peat after falling to, yes, Buducnost in the finals in 2017-18. So in a way, this a redemption title for the reds.
The fact that the finals series reached a fifth and decisive game, proved that the teams were likely evenly matched. That said, all five games were full of incidents and aggressive fan behavior. Both in Belgrade and in Podgorica. Yesterday’s game started almost an hour too late as the Buducnost team walked off the floor during the warm-ups. Once the game started it was a total blowout and Crvena Zvezda easily won Game 5.
And yes, Crvena Zvezda wanted it. Bad. They led from the get-go but it was in the second quarter that the hosts blew the game wide open, outscoring Buducnost 29-8 in that frame.
Big props go out to KC Rivers of Red Star (English translation of Crvena Zvezda), who put on a 3-point shooting clinic in this game, making five out of the team’s 16 shots from downtown en route to his game-high 21 points. Amazingly enough, he efficiently did his damage in just 18 minutes on the floor. It was not a one-man show though as nine Crvena Zvezda players hit at least one 3-point shot in this game, for a blistering 50 percent shooting accuracy from long range. They dominated on the glass with a 39-25 rebounding advantage. Also, they had three times as many assists in this game as Buducnost with 27. Given the huge gaps in those key stats, it’s easy to see how they were able to run away with the game.
Buducnost was just stunned and could not get off the back foot in this contest. There was little proactive basketball coming from the side of Buducnost and that spelled their doom against a team that punished opponents that allowed them to snowball their advantages.
Now that Red Star has returned to its former glory, the 2019-20 season will be about which team can rise up in the ABA League to challenge their dominant reign. Or will Crvena Zvezda be uncontested in re-establishing the dynasty that was briefly interrupted last season?