Week 25 Recap

Kazan's win in Moscow Region, a new scalp for Nizhny Novgorod, Zenit's close call in Tbilisi and much more in the Week 25 recap.

Khimki had lost three straight in the VTB United League entering the game vs. UNICS, the club's longest skid ever in the regular season. Kazan, meanwhile, was recently eliminated from the Eurocup and lost to CSKA, though the club did defeat VEF on the road earlier in the week to regain some momentum.

Khimki struggled to start the game, overpowered by Keith Langford's historic 1st quarter. The UNICS guard put up 23 points in the period, a new league record, helping his club to an 18-point lead. 

Moscow Region cut the deficit to 10 at halftime and continued to battle in the second half, pulling within four in the final minute. With seven seconds to play, Alexey Shved had a chance to make it a one-point game, but missed two of three free throws, allowing Kazan to seal the win at the charity stripe. UNICS wins, 90-85, and stays in the hunt for the top seed, while Khimki loses its 4th in a row.

"No team in Europe can be confident of a win when traveling to Nizhny Novgorod," - Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Georgios Bartzokas said prior to his team's visit to Nizhny. He wasn't exaggerating. The Black-Whites had already knocked off CSKA and Khimki at home and claimed another victim on Sunday, outscoring Krasnodar 96-91.

Point guard Dmitry Khvostov played a huge role in the win, shooting 10-12 from the field for 26 points, along with five assists and only one turnover. Krasnodar's 12-game winning streak comes to an end and the team drops to 4th in the standings. Nizhny, meanwhile, picks up a big win as it looks to improve its seed for the playoffs.

CSKA got a fancy welcome to Krasnoyarsk. An unseasonably warm March day, a big crowd and the symphony orchestra playing at the arena made for a wonderful atmosphere at the game. Enisey also did not disappoint, pulling within five points of the reigning champs midway through the 4th quarter.

But CSKA would not be denied. Despite playing its 4th-straight road game and traveling to Krasnoyarsk without several starters, the Moscow club led by double digits early and managed to put Enisey away down the stretch, 96-81.

Zenit returned to 3rd place in the league, surviving a stiffer than expected challenge in Tbilisi. The visitors started the game with an 11-point lead, but Vita came roaring back in the 2nd quarter. Irakly Chlaidze, Daniel Bejarano and Vladislav Staratelov helped Tbilisi outscore its opponent, 29-19, one of the team's best quarters of the season.

The score stayed close in the second half, but Kaspars Berzins was ultimately too much for Vita, recording a double-double off the bench (26 points, 13 rebounds) and knocking down a big shot late to give Zenit a 90-84 win.

Astana's last win came on January 24. The team had also never defeated Nymburk in league competition. Trailing 16-3 after five minutes, Astana was never in this game. The Czechs move to 4-0 all-time vs. Astana with a 98-63 win and inch one game closer to clinching a 1st-ever playoff berth.

Avtodor and Tsmoki-Minsk played twice in four days. On Thursday, Saratov picked up a 23-point win in Minsk. The Belarusians looked better on Sunday in Saratov, but Avtodor came out on top once again, 98-85.

Paul Stoll led the way for Avtodor in both contests. He scored 23 points to go with six assists in the first meeting, while putting up 15 and a personal record 12 assists in game two. Avtodor has now won four in a row and only trails Khimki by a game and a half for 5th place.

Stat of the Week
23 - number of points scored by Keith Langford in the 1st quarter vs. Khimki. The UNICS star set a new record for points in a quarter, beating the mark set by ex-Krasny Oktyabr guard Randy Culpepper (21 points).

MVP of the Week
Keith Langford (UNICS). Langford played inspired basketball vs. Khimki, setting a league record while leading his team to victory. The league's leading scorer put up 38 points (13-20 from the field) to go with five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a 36 efficiency rating.

UNICS head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
- Langford played an unbelievable game. He played like the leader of the team. During the first quarter, he helped the team pull away. He got everybody going. Plus, he played good defense against Alexey Shved, who scored most of his points only in the final minutes. This is a big win and demonstrates that we have a lot of character and a true leader.

Play of the Week

Photo of the Week