Finally, the prodigy of St. Petersburg, the son of one of the greatest point guards to ever play Russian basketball, the culmination of a basketball lineage which dates back to the very beginnings of the sport in Russia in 1906, has played in the NBA. At 1:05 left in the Fourth Quarter of the game Saturday night in Indiana, in a Cleveland Cavalier uniform, Sergey Karasev’s NBA career was born:
KARASEV STANDS BY THE COURT ON OPENING DAY, INACTIVE BUT ANXIOUS TO GET ONTO THE COURT AND PLAY BASKETBALL.
(CREDIT: CLEVELAND JACKSON, STEPIEN RULES)
1:05 Karasev takes the court with fellow draft pick Bennett, Matthew Dellavedova, Henry Sims and Earl Clark. Bennett inbounds the ball to Dellavedova and brings up the ball.
:55 Karasev sets up in the near corner, outside the three point line. He is watching the play intently. He could make the shot if given the opportunity. Instead Sims sets a pick for ‘Dova above the three point line for a high screen and roll. Sims gets the ball back and takes a shot just inside the elbow.
:54 Karasev follows the path of the ball and moves toward the key to get a rebound, but watches as it is snatched up by the Pacers. He backpedals down the court into position on defense.
:40 Technically, Karasev is kinda a little too far from his man on the wing. But he’s down in a fierce defensive stance. One that says he means business. No one is bringing the ball near him, if they know what’s good for themselves. I assume at this point that about 25,000 people have crowded around a single television in Moscow at 3AM to watch and see if he gets to not only play, but get the ball.
:37 The ball goes up at the opposite wing and Karasev immediately and deftly slides down into the paint to get the board. His eyes are fireballs of focus, but the ball goes in the basket and Karasev changes direction and heads back onto offense.
:34 ‘Dova brings the ball back up the court. Karasev heads towards the opposite corner this time, then turns to face ‘Dova, who has already passed the ball to Sims. ‘Dova heads down to the corner where Karasev is and he switches up to the top of the three point line.
:27 Karasev’s man, Solomon Hill, sags off him as Clark and Sims work a 2 man game on the near post. Karasev moves to the outside of the near 3 point line when the shot goes up. He begins a slide down to get in position for a rebound, but the ball is already snatched up.
:17 Seeing this, Karasev backpedals into defense. But the pacers dribble out the clock. Karasev stands just 6 feet away from the ball, but the game is over.
:04 Solomon Hill is approaching Karasev, who turns his head to the left, his eyes finally leaving the ball for more than a second of his time on the court. In the corner at the Cavs bench, Tristan Thompson has walked onto the court. Chris Copeland gives a reassuring pat on the side to Henry Sims.
:02 Hill and Karasev share a low five with their left hands. Karasev’s looks like it could have scored way more than enough points to make up the difference in this game. Karasev turns back to the ball.
:00 But, alas, the game is over. Completely over.