Week 22 In Review: Avtodor Revives Historic Rivalry, De Colo, Pushkov And Komolov Enjoy Career Games

Week 22 In Review: Avtodor Revives Historic Rivalry, De Colo, Pushkov And Komolov Enjoy Career Games

CSKA comes back from 18 down in Saratov, Janis Timma gives Khimki a win, Tsmoki earns first victory in four months.

Nando De Colo saves CSKA from Avtodor

Prior to the start of the game, Match! Strana aired a special report on the history of Saratov basketball, featuring highlights from the Avtodor – CSKA battles in the 90’s, Khryapa and Monia’s early development in Saratov and other stories from the city’s rich basketball legacy. 

On the court, Avtodor played inspired basketball against the reigning champions, leading the visitors for almost the entire 40 minutes of regulation. Saratov was dialed in from the opening tip, seizing a double-digit advantage in the 1st quarter and taking a 51-41 lead into halftime:

Saratov battled for every loose ball and never quit on defense, as evidenced by this double block from David Kravish at the end of the first half:

Early in the 4th quarter, Avtodor went up by 18 points and was close to defeating CSKA for the first time since April 2015. But the Army Men were able to find a way back into the game. Kyle Hines and Will Clyburn forced overtime with this exciting sequence: 

Saratov finally ran out of steam in overtime, losing 116-110. Nando De Colo was the driving force behind CSKA’s comeback. He activated MVP mode on the road, scoring a career-high 41 points, which is also a season-best in the League. Watch how he did it: 

Janis Timma: Khimki’s missing link

Janis Timma joined Khimki several weeks ago and has only played two games for his new team. But in both appearances, the Latvian forward has been one of the best players on the court.

On Monday, Khimki took on Astana. Emil Rajkovic’s men, who have already taken down Zenit, Loko and UNICS this season, were searching for another marquee win. And with 10 minutes to go in Moscow Region, the visitors trailed by only three points. Astana could not hang on in the 4th quarter, however, falling to a 93-80 defeat.

Without question, Janis Timma was the hero for Khimki down the stretch. He scored 12 points, played the entire 4th quarter and only missed two shots. The Latvian forward finished with a game-high 26 points.

Alexey Shved, meanwhile, was close to a triple-double (22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds), and his assists are likely to end up in this week’s Top 10:

Thanks to the win, Khimki stays in the hunt for UNICS and second place. Astana drops to sixth place, behind Zenit. 

Enisey almost completes 14-point comeback

Zenit traveled to Krasnoyarsk as a favorite and after a slow start, began to take control of the game. In the second half, Joan Plaza’s men went on a 14-0 run, capped by this monster dunk from Anton Pushkov:

But Enisey was simply trying to lull the visitors into a false sense of security. Krasnoyarsk played outstanding basketball down the stretch and tied the game at 85-85 with a minute to go. 

Codi Miller-McIntyre converted two free throws to give Zenit a two-point lead. Enisey had three chances to tie, but came up empty each time. D’Angelo Harrison took the blame on Twitter after a key turnover down the stretch:

The game was memorable not only for the exciting finish, but also the shootout between Zenit’s Philip Scrubb (24 points) and Enisey’s John Roberson (career-high 34 points on eight 3-pointers).

Tsmoki snaps 10-game losing streak

Tsmoki-Minsk gave its fans something to celebrate, picking up its first win since December 2018. Minsk defeated PARMA, 80-68, led by 23 points from Devon Saddler. Greek center Zisis Sarikopoulos added 15 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and this ridiculous block: 

The win was Rostislav Vergun’s first since taking over as head coach. The young coach thanked the fans for their support: “Playing in the type of atmosphere we had today in Minsk and playing with the energy we got from the stands is special motivation.” 

The Belarusians are chasing PARMA and Zielona Gora. The front office said earlier that the team needs to avoid finishing in last place. 

Nizhny Novgorod ready to crash the Top-6

Nizhny Novgorod won twice this week and both times raced out to early leads. Nizhny very nearly gave the game away, however, vs. VEF.

Riga traveled to Nizhny Novgorod riding a five-game winning streak, but ran into serious trouble early on: 

Nizhny Novgorod’s lead grew to 27 points early in the second half. No team has come back from such a big deficit this season, but VEF got as close as four in the 4th quarter. Zoran Lukic was less than pleased: 

Nizhny held on, though, for victory as Kendrick Perry scored a career-high 31 points:

Lukic promised to figure out what happened in the second half vs. VEF. Taking on Zielona Gora a few days later, his team once again built a big lead in the first half with Vladimir Dragicevic beating the buzzer in style: 

Unlike the game vs. VEF, Nizhny never let the Poles threaten, streaking to one of the biggest wins in club history: 101-61. Artem Komolov had a career performance in the victory:

Nizhny Novgorod remains in 7th place, but only trails 6th-place Astana by one win

VEF’s winning streak ended in Nizhny Novgorod and three days later Riga lost its second in a row, falling to UNICS at home. Fatigue may have been a factor. VEF kept the score close for most of the contest, but only managed to score eight points in the 4th quarter.

The Anton Ponkrashov – Maurice Ndour connection was the highlight of the game: 

VEF could still make the playoffs, but needs help from the rest of the pack. Even if the Latvians win their final three games, they could still finish outside the top eight. Kalev and Avtodor would only need two wins in that scenario. 

Team of the week

Kendrick Perry played a phenomenal game against VEF, scoring 31 points with almost no substitutions.
Teammate Artem Komolov set a career high for points against Zielona Gora, shooting 8-8 from the field (including 6-6 from beyond the arc).
Nando De Colo rescued CSKA in Saratov, scoring 41 points, a new personal best and season-high in the League. 
Janis Timma helped Khimki take down stubborn Astana, scoring 26 points.
Anton Pushkov also played one of the best games of his career: 20 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a win over Enisey.