UNICS Defense & Loko Offense Deliver In Clutch

Two games were decided at the buzzer in Week Nineteen: Nymburk vs. UNICS and Astana vs. Lokomotiv-Kuban. The Russian clubs won both, avoiding upsets on the road and extending their winning streaks. Konstantin Kucher analyzes the final minutes for Breaking It Down, focusing on Kazan's final stand and Lokomotiv's game-winning jumper.

Defense took center stage in the final minutes in the Czech Republic. Both teams had success slowing the tempo and applying serious pressure on the ball-handler. Watch Quino Colom's failed attempt to score on UNICS's final possession.

Even his game-winning shot came with a healthy dose of good fortune.

That gave Kazan a three-point lead. On the following possession, Nymburk answered, though Kazan was able to limit the damage.

The visitors couldn't afford to give up a 3-pointer and focused on defending the perimeter. As a result, Howard Sant-Roos had little trouble beating Anton Ponkrashov and driving to the basket for any score.

Despite giving up two points, UNICS remained in front and had possession with 33 seconds to play. Colom did not score, but the visitors were still able to get a stop in the final seconds and preserve the win.

Nymburk had an excellent chance to win. The home team inbounded the ball on the baseline with five seconds remaining, but failed to create a solid scoring opportunity. Yes, Vojtech Hruban did get open and receive the pass.

But he was in an awkward position when he received the ball and was forced to throw up an off-balance, well-defended shot. Hruban is a much better spot-up shooter, which made matters even worse. The shot did not go in.

Offense was the name of the game in Astana, including down the stretch. Thanks to a pair of fast break finishes from Anthony Randolph, Kuban was able to take the lead.

With 13 seconds to play, Loko enjoyed a three-point advantage. Astana looked to tie it up with a quick '3' at the other end, burning a timeout to draw up the play.

On the inbounds play, Astana had two men open on the perimeter: Nik Caner-Medley and Kenneth Hayes. Jerry Johnson had his pick on the sideline as he looked to bring the ball in.

Caner-Medley and Hayes both used screens to get open. 

Johnson decided to pass the ball to Caner-Medley in the corner.

The American forward wasn't in a great spot, but he was fouled on the shot, earning three freebies with a chance to tie the game.

But this game was always going to be decided on offense. After Caner-Medley converted his free throws, Krasnodar got the ball back with a chance to win it.

The visitors didn't do anything fancy, giving the ball to Malcolm Delaney. With Randolph's help, Delaney was able to get isolated on Pat Calathes. He took advantage, driving the lane and hitting the fadeaway jumper over Calathes's outstretched arms. 

As we can see, teams will do whatever it takes in the final minutes. Sometimes defense comes out on top. Other times, it's offense. There's no secret recipe for success. That's what makes the game great...no one ever knows what's going to happen on the final possession.