UNICS: The Show Must Go On!

UNICS Kazan defeated CSKA Moscow at home in Game 3 of the playoff finals, 79-74. After a competitive first half, Keith Langford guided UNICS to a double-digit lead in the 3rd quarter, hanging on for victory in the 4th. Kazan snaps a 10-game losing streak to CSKA, handing the Army Men their first defeat of the postseason, and force a Game 4 at the Basket Hall on June 8.

After a pair of CSKA wins in Moscow, the finals shifted to Kazan. The Tatar capital showed up in force for the showdown with the Euroleague champions, leading the club to open up the upper deck of the Basket Hall for one of the first times this season.

Both teams were cautious on defense to start the game. The Army Men needed almost eight minutes to score more than 10 points. UNICS was a bit more active, but Milos Teodosic quickly erased Kazan's lead, linking up with center Kyle Hines to even things up.

The home team turned to Keith Langford in the 2nd quarter when the offense began to lag. The sniper poured in 15 points in the period, finishing with 21 points in the first half to help UNICS secure a small lead at halftime.

Kazan saved its best basketball for the 3rd quarter. The home team locked in defensively: Artsiom Parakhouski and Latavious Williams patrolled the paint while Kazan's perimeter players smothered CSKA's snipers. UNICS also did a good job of rebounding as a team and controlling the glass. With 10 minutes remaining, Evgeny Pashutin's club enjoyed an 11-point lead.

CSKA roared back in the 4th quarter, quickly cutting the lead to three. For much of the period, the visitors hung around, pulling within three, 73-70, with two minutes to go on a Nando De Colo field goal.

Turning Point
But CSKA failed to complete the comeback. Dimitris Itoudis's lack of timeouts down the stretch played a role. De Colo committed a costly turnover, while Teodosic twice missed from outside. UNICS scored slowly, but consistently from the free-throw line, holding on for a big win.

Star Player
Keith Langford. Langford wasn't afraid to take over on offense, attacking, drawing fouls and scoring almost at will. The league's leading regular season scorer finished with 29 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block.

Stat of the Game
36 - CSKA's field-goal percentage

CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
- Congratulations to UNICS. Our opponents played better and deserved to win today. We need to watch the video and analyze our mistakes. Both teams made adjustments, which was expected. There were moments in the game when the outcome could have been different. Jackson's missed dunk in transition, for example, could have pulled us ahead. We hadn't lost since March 24 - two and a half months. But we have to forget about the past. The score in the series is 2-1, plus we lost another key player. But we have quality and we'll compete.

UNICS head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
- I'd like to congratulate the entire team on the win. I'd also like to note the fans, who filled the arena. Before the game I asked the guys to do everything they could to make the fans happy. The next game will be even tougher. We need to keep battling with this same attitude, if we want to extend the series.