23april

Avtodor Tests CSKA

CSKA Moscow defeated Avtodor Saratov at home, 101-90. Two of the league's most high-powered offenses, Avtodor and CSKA put on a show in Moscow, packing the game with high-flying dunks, fast breaks and no-look passes. In the end, the Army Men were too much for the visitors, pulling away for an 11-point victory.

Intro
Though CSKA had already clinched the top seed in the postseason, the team wanted to finish out the regular season with a win.

Avtodor, however, still had a chance to move up to 5th place with a victory. The visitors also hoped to duplicate last season's sensational regular-season win in Moscow, when they scored 38 points in the 4th quarter to defeat the eventual champs.

Avtodor came out guns blazing in the 1st quarter. Saratov combined interior offense with perimeter shooting, led by Artem Zabelin and Travis Peterson.

The momentum began to shift in the 2nd quarter. Trailing by five, CSKA slowed down Avtodor's transition game and gradually took control, cruising into halftime with a five-point lead, 49-44, thanks to a 5-0 run from Mikhail Kulagin to finish the half.

Saratov knotted the score at 54-54 midway through the 3rd quarter on a Peterson jumper, but that was as close as the visitors would get. Kulagin guided CSKA on a 12-0 run, dishing out three assists and knocking down a jumper to put the Army Men in the driver's seat.

During the 4th quarter, CSKA erased any lingering doubt, outscoring Avtodor 23-9 over the first six minutes of the period to go up by 21. Though Saratov finished the game on a 12-2 run, it was too little too late. 

Star Player
Mikhail Kulagin. The back-up guard made a big impression in his first start of the season, recording 21 points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal in 21 minutes!

Stat of the Game
42 - Andrei Sepelev became the oldest player to ever appear in a VTB United League game. Igor Zamansky, age 38, previously held the record. Incidentally, Sepelev appeared on the court alongside 17-year-old Agasy Tonoyan.

Quotes
CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
- Congratulations to the team. We finished first in the VTB United League regular season. We dominated, played good basketball and respected each of our opponents. My first challenge was spreading out the playing time, which we managed to do. I would have liked Lazarev to spend more time on the court, but he received five fouls. We prepared seriously for this game, knowing how important it is to be ready for the playoffs. I want to thank our fans who supported the team and celebrated our win in the regular season together with us. 

About Misha Kulagin, I must say that he's improved throughout the year. Maybe the fans don't see it, but I see his hard work at practice, his love for basketball. He's always motivated and ready to play and gets more and more confident on the court.

Avtodor head coach Vladimir Antsiferov:
- We had extra motivation for this game. After all, we were playing against the top team in the league and all of Europe. Some things worked out for us and we played well overall. Unfortunately, we lost the rebounding battle in the 2nd quarter and couldn't stay in the game. Everyone worked hard, but we made a lot of mistakes and missed shots, including close to the basket. We didn't manage to get back in the game. Our opponent and our own mistakes didn't allow it.

Snapshot

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