Week 27 Recap

Khimki hangs on in a wild finish vs. Zenit, UNICS escapes in Tallinn and more in our Week 27 recap.

Battle of the Week
The Game of the Week between Khimki and Zenit easily matched expectations. Early on, the home team had complete control. Khimki led by 25 at halftime and appeared certain to complete the season sweep vs. St. Petersburg.

But the visitors came roaring back in the second half, cutting the deficit to one point in the 4th quarter. At risk of suffering a crushing loss at home, James Augustine, Tyrese Rice and Alexey Shved rallied the troops, helping Khimki squeak out a 90-84 win.
Zenit continues to lead Khimki in the standings, but the gap has been narrowed. These two teams could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs.

CSKA clinched the regular season title on Sunday. The Army Men have only lost two games all season and guaranteed the top seed with a win over VEF (101-93). Riga impressed against the reigning champs, but couldn't quite spring the upset.

UNICS could still catch the Army Men in the standings, but the tie-breaker belongs to CSKA, giving the Moscow club home-court advantage throughout the postseason.

Win of the Week
Vita had come close several times, but finally broke through on Sunday vs. Tsmoki-Minsk. Trailing by six, 78-72, with two minutes to play, Daniel Bejarano sparked a Tbilisi comeback, capped by Beka Tsivtsivadze's game-winning buzzer-beater (81-80)!

Record of the Week
Avtodor defeated Astana (132-72) and set a new league record for points in a game. Saratov beat its old record by one point (131) also set vs. Astana back in December 2015. With the victory, Avtodor clinches a spot in the postseason for the second year in a row.

While Avtodor has yet to miss the playoffs, Nymburk had never reached the postseason in four tries. That will change this spring. The Czech Lions clinched a spot in the postseason with a dominant 96-60 win in Finland over Bisons, coupled with Krasny Oktyabr's loss in Krasnodar. Now Nymburk can focus on finishing the season strong and moving up as far as possible in the standings.

Nymburk celebrated its first-ever postseason berth at Krasny Oktyabr's expense. Volgograd was officially eliminated from the playoff hunt after suffering an 81-63 defeat to Lokomotiv-Kuban.

UNICS has never had an easy time in Tallinn. Take the 2013-14 campaign when Kazan suffered its only loss of the regular season to Kalev. UNICS is enjoying another terrific season, but nearly stumbled in Estonia on Monday. Leading most of the contest, the visitors gave up a late run and needed a big jumper from Keith Langford to force overtime.

Langford kept rolling in the extra period, scoring nine points to help UNICS escape with the win. The team also enjoyed a terrific performance from Anton Ponkrashov, who posted 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The UNICS duo combined for 60 of the team's 88 points as Kazan picked up an 89-84 victory.

Fan of the Week

Nizhny Novgorod head coach Ainars Bagatskis:
- Prior to the game, we were very concerned about the team's condition, because the game vs. Enisey was our third in a week. Plus, we had three overtimes, 11 hours on the road and a tough opponent awaiting us today. To be honest,  I think that Krasnoyarsk should be higher in the standings. The game was like a rollercoaster. We would play great basketball for 3-4 minutes, then let our opponent take advantage of our mistakes. But five minutes of great basketball from us to start the 4th quarter put everything in its place.

... Nizhny Novgorod has endured a grueling schedule, including the dramatic quarterfinal tilt with Strasbourg in the Eurocup. Despite getting eliminated from European competition, Nizhny bounced back strong in the league, securing an 18-point win vs. Enisey. With a spot in the playoffs already guaranteed, Nizhny could still move up a few spots in the standings with a strong finish.

Fact of the Week
The postseason roster has been determined, as CSKA, UNICS, Lokomotiv-Kuban, Zenit and Khimki will officially be joined by Avtodor, Nymburk and Nizhny Novgorod. CSKA, however, is the only team thus far to clinch its seed (1st place with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs). Spots 2-8 are still up for grabs and there could be considerable movement in the standings up until the final day of the regular season.

Stat of the Week
8 - number of rebounds grabbed by CSKA forward Nikita Kurbanov in the 2nd quarter vs. VEF. The all-time record belongs to Kalev center Shawn King, who pulled down 11 boards in one quarter while playing for Tsmoki-Minsk during the 2010-11 season.

MVP of the Week
Daniel Bejarano (Vita). He led Vita to its first win of the season, playing smart, efficient basketball and scoring five huge points in the final minutes. Bejarano finished with 21 points (7-11 from the field) to go with six rebounds, one steal and a 26 efficiency rating. 

Play of the Week

Photo of the Week