Week 26 Recap

Nizhny Novgorod takes down UNICS, CSKA survives in St. Petersburg and more in our Week 26 recap.

Nizhny Novgorod took down another contender at home. The White-Blacks already boasted wins over CSKA, Khimki and Lokomotiv-Kuban entering Week 26.

UNICS led by 14 at halftime, but Nizhny seized control in the second half, led by Victor Rudd. Kazan managed to force overtime before getting blown out in the extra period (91-81). With the loss, Kazan opens the door to Zenit and Lokomotiv-Kuban for 2nd place.

An overflowing SIBUR Arena was treated to one of the best games of the regular season. Playing at home, Zenit gave the reigning champs a scare, leading late in the 4th quarter.

But Milos Teodosic and Nando De Colo refused to lose. The Serb and Frenchman sparked CSKA to an 8-0 run, helping the Army Men turn the tables on Zenit and secure an 86-82 win. Coupled with Kazan's loss, CSKA has virtually clinched the top seed in th playoffs.

Key Run
Lokomotiv-Kuban and Kalev were at opposite ends of the standings, but that didn't keep the Estonians from nearly springing an upset on the road. Leading by four with eight minutes to play, Kalev gave up a 15-0 run to the Railwaymen. Alar Varrak's club kept competing, cutting the deficit to four, but Loko hung on for the 71-67 win.

Fan of the Week

New Start
Khimki had lost four in a row entering Monday's game vs. Krasny Oktyabr, a club record during the regular season. On March 15, Khimki parted ways with Rimas Kurtinaitis, bringing in Dusko Ivanovic to run the team. Ivanovic opened with a win as Khimki held off a plucky Krasny Oktyabr squad for an 80-78 victory. The game vs. Volgograd demonstrated that Khimki still has a lot of work to do, but it's moving in the right direction.

Avtodor and Nymburk have been neighbors in the standings throughout the second half of the season. In Week 26, the two teams went head-to-head for 6th place in the league.

Saratov has been in excellent form in recent weeks and took care of business in the Czech Republic, securing a 5th-straight win, 92-73.

Avtodor and Nymburk have both virtually guaranteed a spot in the postseason, but there's a lot to play for when it comes to first-round matchups. Thanks to the win over Nymburk, Avtodor is in the driver's seat for 6th place and could still catch Zenit or Khimki.

Need for Speed
Enisey trailed by eight at the end of the 1st quarter to short-handed Astana, but everything changed in the 2nd quarter. Krasnoyarsk upped the tempo and got going in transition. Thanks to the run-and-gun approach, Enisey took the lead at halftime and polished off the win in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Astana 25-10. The final score was 96-72.

With the win, Enisey trails 9th-place Krasny Oktyabr by only half a game in the standings.

Effective Response
VEF and Vita combined for only nine points in the first five minutes of their meeting in Riga before Josh Bostic knocked down two 3-pointers to spark VEF's offense. It was a symbolic moment. Vita used a zone defense much of the game and the Latvians responded by draining 16 3-pointers to win by 40, 99-59.

VEF improves to 9-16 with the win, a game back of 9th-place Krasny Oktyabr.

Tsmoki-Minsk has played better on the road than at home this season, but Anthony Hilliard and co. were determined to change that vs. Bisons. Hilliard led his team with 32 points, five rebounds and five assists as Minsk took control from the opening tip, scoring 34 points in the opening period. The offense stayed hot for the entire game as Tsmoki set a new club record for points in the league, notching its biggest win ever (119-83). Minsk now has four wins apiece at home and on the road.

Stat of the Week
20 - Krasny Oktyabr very nearly overcame a 20-point deficit vs. Khimki.

At the start of the 2nd quarter, Volgograd trailed by 20, but cut the deficit to one in the final minute of the game. That's extremely tough to do against a motivated Khimki team. Unfortunately for Volgograd, the comeback fell just short, effectively eliminating the club from playoff contention.

MVP of the Week
Victor Rudd (Nizhny Novgorod). The forward starred in the weekend's biggest game, helping Nizhny spring another upset. Rudd played all but 17 seconds of the overtime game, finishing with 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks, one steal and a 23 efficiency rating.

Nizhny Novgorod forward Vladimir Ivlev:
- I think everyone's used to the fact that our team plays up and down, which is why a 14-point margin, whether in our favor or not, doesn't mean anything. During the course of the game, anything can happen. At times, the fans need to watch their blood pressure.

Play of the Week

Photo of the Week