Zenit Ends Series In Saratov

Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Avtodor Saratov in Game 3 of the playoff quarterfinals, 95-82. As in Games 1 and 2, Saratov hung around until the 4th quarter, when Zenit managed to pull away and book the final spot in the semifinals.

Despite trailing 2-0 in the series, Avtodor had every intention of picking up a win at home and forcing a Game 4. On the other hand, Zenit was motivated to reach the next round as soon as possible.

From the opening tip, both teams set a frenetic pace. Zenit was a bit more successful early on, but Saratov caught the visitors by the start of the 2nd quarter. Neither team scored with much efficiency, evidently burdened by the game's high stakes. At halftime, the White-Blue-Sky Blues enjoyed a slender 44-41 advantage, thanks to Ryan Toolson's first 3-pointer of the half.

Coming out of the break, Zenit began to get more offense from Toolson and Janis Timma, while Saratov answered with Artem Klimenko in the paint. The Russian big man would finish with 29 points in 21 minutes, but it wasn't quite enough to will his team to victory.

Competitive for three quarters, Avtodor gave up a big run to start the 4th quarter, allowing the visitors to take a double-digit lead. The home team loses Game 3 and bids adieu to the VTB United League postseason.

Star Player
Janis Timma. The Latvian forward didn't set any records this time, but his confidence on both ends of the court (especially on defense) gave Zenit the edge it needed. Timma finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Stat of the Game
70-37 - Zenit's starters nearly doubled up Avtodor's starters. Nobody on Saratov's starting five managed to score in double digits.