«Neptunas» Klaipeda, Lithuania vs. «Nizhny Novgorod» Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
After Klaipeda, Nizhny one step closer to playoffs
In Week 15 of the regular season, Nizhny Novgorod (Russia) overcame Neptunas (Lithuania), 90-72. Lockdown defense in the final quarter helped the Russians win and nearly guarantee a place in the postseason.
Nizhny Novgorod came to Klaipeda intent on further securing their playoff spot. Zoran Lukic’s team needed to defeat local Neptunas, who continue to fight for survival in the League.
The home team did not prove welcoming. Dainys, Runkauskas and Gailius punished their opponent with 3-pointers and guaranteed their team a six-point lead halfway through the period. Poor defense from both teams, quick possessions and a solid field-goal percentage made for a flurry of points on each end as Neptunas closed the quarter on top, 29-23.
Semen Antonov’s stellar play under the basket helped the visitors not only reduce the deficit, but even take the lead. The home team could not slow down Nizhny Novgorod once they got moving. Dmitri Golovin’s 3-pointer wrapped up the first half, 44-41 in favor of the guests.
After the break, though the Russian defense continued to look shaky, their lead grew with each minute. They did so thanks to accurate long-range shooting. Symbolically, the visitors’ five 3-pointers in the third quarter helped them outscore their opponent by five points. They led 70-62 with one quarter to play.
As soon as the Russian team became more aggressive on defense, the home team lost all hope for a comeback. Nizhny Novgorod held Neptunas scoreless seven minutes, while piling up 15 points of their own. Zoran Lukic’s club win, 90-72, and nearly guarantee a place in the postseason.
Star of the Game
Obi Trotter. The American guard led all players in scoring and also organized Nizhny Novgorod’s run in the final quarter. Overall, Trotter recorded 17 points, eight of which he collected in the final 10 minutes.
Stat of the Game
15 – unanswered points scored by Nizhny Novgorod in the last period, which removed any doubt as to the game’s outcome.
Neptunas: Valdas Vasylius – 16 points, five rebounds; Vytautas Sarakauskas – 14 points, eight rebounds; Deividas Gailius – 13 points; Rashaun Broadus – 11 points; Marius Runkauskas – five points, five assists.
Nizhny Novgorod: Obi Trotter – 17 points, seven assists, five steals; Pavel Korobkov – 17 points, six rebounds; Semen Antonov – 15 points, five rebounds; Vadim Panin – 10 points, five rebounds; Dijon Thompson – seven points, seven rebounds.