Week 23 Recap

Lokomotiv's big win in Moscow, Avtodor's upset over Khimki and more in our Week 23 recap.

CSKA and Lokomotiv-Kuban squared off in Moscow for a highly-anticipated showdown. The Railwaymen hadn't lost in the league since mid-December, while CSKA's winning streak stretched back to October 25 and stood at 19 entering Sunday's game.

With the intensity at a playoff pitch, neither team wanted to lose and see their winning streak come to an end. In the end, Lokomotiv center Anthony Randolph delivered a victory for the visiting Railwaymen. Randolph has yet to lose to CSKA, beating the Army Men twice last season and sitting out the loss in Krasnodar back in November.

On Sunday, Randolph played efficient, smart basketball from the opening tip, including seven huge points in the final minutes that sealed Krasnodar's win. Lokomotiv snaps CSKA's winning streak (94-88) and moves all alone into 3rd place. Next up for CSKA: a visit to 2nd-place UNICS.

Evgeny Pashutin joined Rimas Kurtinaitis as only the second coach to win 100 games in the VTB United League. Like Kurtinaitis, Pashutin's milestone win came against Georgian club Vita. The game was close until the 4th quarter, but UNICS eventually pulled away, enjoying a comfortable 81-57 victory. Kazan has now won 14 in a row and hosts 1st-place CSKA next week in a battle between the league's top two teams.

Déjà Vu
Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis said prior to the game in Saratov that his team needed to "scramble out of a hole." Khimki had lost at home to Nizhny Novgorod in Week 22, before falling to CSKA in the Euroleague.

But it's no secret that Saratov's Kristall Arena is a tough place to win. Moscow Region lost big to Avtodor last season in Saratov and stumbled again on Sunday, dropping an 87-84 decision on the road.

Avtodor appears to have regained its stride and established itself in 6th place. Khimki, meanwhile, falls from 3rd to 5th with the loss.

Bisons played with seven men against Enisey and had five players on the court for more than 35 minutes. Despite the extremely short bench, Loimaa gave Krasnoyarsk everything it could handle, leading much of the contest. But Enisey was able to force overtime and pull away in the extra period, outscoring Bisons 15-6 down the stretch for a 110-99 win. Delroy James led the way for the visitors, finishing with 24 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

Fan of the Week

"We played well on defense for much of the game." That's what Nymburk coach Ronen Ginzburg had to say after the game with Tsmoki-Minsk. The Czechs really clamped down in the 4th quarter, outscoring the Belarusians, 17-9, for a 75-61 win. Nymburk has now won 12 games and remains tied with Nizhny Novgorod for 7th place.

VEF played ex-head coach Ramunas Butautas for the second time this season, traveling to Astana on Sunday. The visit brought back memories of VEF's 2012-13 campaign, when Butautas helped Riga advance all the way to the playoff quarterfinals.

During the first meeting between these two clubs, VEF allowed a 21-point lead to slip away before regrouping and escaping with a narrow victory. On Sunday, the visitors had to play catch-up, but ultimately came out on top, outscoring Astana 52-27 in the second half for an 89-71 win.

Stat of the Week
+17 - Nizhny Novgorod had a huge advantage on the glass in its win over Kalev.

The Russian club also showed tremendous balance (five players scored 12 or more points), helping Nizhny come out on top in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated (91-77).

MVP of the Week
Anthony Randolph. The Loko center was able to stop one of Europe's best teams, overpowering CSKA in Moscow for a huge win. Randolph scored 28 points on 11-15 shooting (including 5-6 from downtown) to go with six rebounds, three assists, one block and a 28 efficiency rating. 

Avtodor head coach Vladimir Antsiferov:
- This was a very emotional win. We tried to prevent our opponent from getting open looks from outside and used aggressive defense to prevent Khimki's players from driving into the lane. It's good that we managed to play well on the glass. It's an incredible feeling for the fans and for all of us!

Play of the Week

Photo of the Week