CSKA Moscow kept its season alive by travelling to Krasnodar and defeating Lokomotiv Kuban to keep the VTB League series open at 2-1. After losing two games at home to Lokomotiv and then crashing out of the Euroleague it has been a testing few weeks for the Russian juggernaut. In many ways, this 73-76 victory was vital for the club, but CSKA will have plenty to do when the series resumes for Game 4 on the weekend.
However, the fallout from crumbling against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague Final Four is still being felt in the Russian capital. CSKA Moscow president Andrei Vatutin had some choice words for outgoing coach Ettore Messina, putting more pressure on the legendary tactician to end his Russian tenure on a high with VTB League success.
That will be hard to come by, because even though victory was achieved in Game 3 against Kuban, the Krasnador club showed that it will not concede this series easily.
CSKA got off to the perfect start by outpacing Lokomotiv in the early exchanges, outgunning the home team to take a 15-23 lead. Kuban improved in front of its home fans in the second frame to pour in 25 points while restricting Moscow to 20, sending the teams in at halftime with a 40-43 score on the board. An extremely tight third stanza saw the teams exchange scores, but the hosts cut the deficit further to leave the scoreboard reading 58-60 after 30 minutes. CSKA knew it would be a difficult final frame in front of a boisterous Krasnodar crowd, but the Moscow players showed their quality by holding out to take a narrow win and keep the series alive.
CSKA shot 88.5% from the charity strip, making 23 out of 26 free throw attempts, while the team dished out 24 assists during the game. Nenad Kistic top scored for Moscow with 16 points, while Andrey Vorontsevich had 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Derrick Brown paced Lokomotiv with a game high 18 points, with Marcus Williams following closely with 17.
In the other quarter final played on Wednesday, Unics Kazan defeated Krasnie Krilya Samara 77-93 on the road to win its series 3-0 and progress to the semi-final stage. Unics will be joined by Nizhny Novgorod and Lietuvos Rytas in the last four after those two clubs progressed on Tuesday.