Astana defeated Nizhny Novgorod at home, 93-84 (31-28, 17-15, 25-20, 20-21).
Astana: Rob Lowery (18), Rod Odom (15), Ousman Krubally (14+8 reb), Rustam Murzagaliev (12)
Nizhny Novgorod: Ivan Strebkov (20+7 reb+8 ast+3 stl), Kenny Boynton (15), Maxim Grigoryev (12)
Turning Point I
Trailing by nine, 17-8, midway through the 1st quarter, Astana went on a 23-11 run to close the period and take a three-point lead.
Astana guard Rustam Murzagaliev, who finished with a season-high 12 points, scored seven during the streak.
Nizhny Novgorod may have lost, but Ivan Strebkov put up big numbers, flirting with a triple-double (20 pts, 7 ast, 7 reb).
He’s now averaging 15.5 points per game to go with a 15.8 efficiency rating, 9th in the League.
Turning Point II
The visitors kept it close until midway through the 3rd quarter. Trailing by one, 60-59, Nizhny Novgorod gave up an 11-2 run that made the score 71-61 with less than a minute to play in the period.
Nizhny briefly got within seven in the 4th quarter, but it wasn’t enough. Astana pulls away for the win, improving to 6-5, 6th in the standings.
Nizhny drops to 2-8, 2.5 games back of 8th-place Enisey for the final playoff spot.
53 – Astana’s bench scored 53 points to Nizhny’s 18. The home team simply had too many weapons for the Russians to counter.
Astana head coach Ilias Papatheodorou:
– First of all, congratulations to everyone on the New Year’s holidays! This is an important win for us. Nizhny visited us after an excellent game against Zenit in the Eurocup. Nizhny is very strong on offense. We hadn’t played in almost 20 days. In the 2nd quarter, we found our stride and ultimately were able to win.
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Arturs Stalbergs:
– Congratulations to Astana on a good game on offense. Our opponent hit a lot of tough shots, but that’s not an excuse. We were still on a high from the Zenit win, even though I’d thought we’d come back down to earth. But if you miss 10 free throws and Astana dominates on the glass, it indicates we weren’t as ready as we should have been. We weren’t focused.
Astana: January 15 at Khimki
Nizhny Novgorod: January 15 vs. Tsmoki-Minsk