It was a week of massive games in the VTB League as Lokomotiv welcomed Unics Kazan to Krasnodar and Khimki Moscow Region played host to CSKA Moscow and edged the game. The rest of Round 18 will be played through Sunday and Monday.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Unics Kazan, 74-72
A big top of the table clash between Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Unics Kazan brought some of the best attacking talent in the VTB League onto one court. Lokomotiv was assured of holding on to fourth place in the group, but the club improved its record with a narrow 74-72 win, leaving the club on 13-5. As for Unics, the Kazan based outfit slipped to sixth with a 10-7 record, but is still very much in the mix this season.
Unics arrived in Krasnodar with three of the best attackers in the VTB United League, D’or Fischer, Keith Langford, and Rolands Freimanis. However, Kazan head coach, Evgeny Pashutin decided to not play Freimanis, leaving the hosts with just Langford and Fischer to deal with. It would be easy to think that if Lokomotiv kept that duo quiet then they would win the game, but it is never that simply in Basketball.
As it turned out, Langford and Fischer were both in fine touch, the former plundering 22 points, while the latter managed 14 points. Lokomotiv’s own go to guy, Derrick Brown, managed 13 points in the win, but the home team was paced by an excellent 28 point haul from Anthony Randolph.
Khimki Moscow Region vs. CSKA Moscow, 107-104
A mini classic played out in The Russian capital as Khimki welcomed CSKA in this Moscow derby. The top two teams in the league squared off in one of European Basketball’s great rivalries. Khimki found the win in a high scoring encounter to move to 15-2, one place behind the defeated CSKA (16-2).
Buckets and leads were traded throughout, with 14 leads swapping teams and the scoreboard tying 7 times. Khimki led by as much as 15 points, while CSKA’s best run saw them carve a 9 point cushion. However, in a high octane final quarter it was anybody’s game and there was plenty of tension on the hardwood.
Paul Davis and Petteri Koponen led the scoring for the winners with 22 points apiece, while Tyrese Rice notched 18 points for Khimki. CSKA looked to an amazing performance from Milos Teodosic with 29 points and 9 assists, while Nando De Colo claimed 25 points in the losing effort.