Week 15 In Review: Kurtinaitis Returns In Style, Itoudis Wins #141, Nizhny Stays Hot

Week 15 In Review: Kurtinaitis Returns In Style, Itoudis Wins #141, Nizhny Stays Hot

Everything to know about this weekend’s six games.

Khimki scores 100 for the first time this season in Kurtinaitis’ debut

Khimki met Avtodor in the Game of the Week. The game was everything the fans expected: frequent lead changes, dunks and blocks. Saratov was buzzing on Monday night: 

Khimki ultimately came out on top, 100-92, and broke a tie with UNICS to take sole possession of 2nd place. 

The game featured several milestones. First, Rimas Kurtinaitis picked up his 100th VTB League win at Khimki (#103 overall). Second, Khimki scored 100 points for the first time this season.

Nizhny continues to terrorize UNICS

The 2018 playoffs finished a long time ago, but Nizhny Novgorod and UNICS are still duking it out during Season X. On Saturday, Nizhny Novgorod came out on top, 91-85. 

UNICS came out guns blazing as the favorite. See this pass from Anton Ponkrashov that set up Artem Klimenko for a dunk:

Nizhny did not look like itself in the first half, but turned things around after halftime, knocking down five straight 3-pointers to grab the lead. 

Kendrick Perry led the way for Nizhny Novgorod, scoring 17 points in the 3rd quarter and setting a career high for points in the League in less than 30 minutes:

Perry did not score a single point in the 4th quarter, however. But he dished out two assists, including this one to Georgy Zhbanov in the final minute, which sealed the win:

Nizhny and UNICS have already played twice this season and traded victories. Would you like to see them again in the postseason?

Good deed of the week

The game between Nizhny and UNICS helped those who are truly in need of assistance. All of the money received from ticket sales to the Volga derby were sent to the NONTs foundation, which helps children suffering from oncological diseases. Nizhny was able to collect more than 500,000 rubles at the game.

Dance of the week

After watching Nizhny go wild in the second half, even the camera man had to dance: 

Enisey makes short work of 6,000 kilometers

6,180 kilometers–that’s approximately how far Enisey had to fly to play in Poland vs. League newcomers Zielona Gora (Krasnoyarsk-Moscow-Berlin-Zielona Gora). The fatigue was visible early in the game: 

But Krasnoyarsk recovered by the end of the 1st quarter and even took the lead, thanks to Denis Lukashov:

The next 30 minutes were almost entirely controlled by Enisey. Zielona Gora point guard Markel Starks briefly disrupted Krasnoyarsk’s hegemony midway through the 3rd quarter, scoring eight straight points, including this pretty floater: 

Enisey, however, got the win and inched closer to a postseason spot. The club also appears to have an easier schedule the rest of the way than any of its rivals for a spot in the top-8. 

Dmitry Kulagin set a career high in Perm

Loko traveled to unfriendly Perm, hoping to take down PARMA. They did so in aggressive fashion, scoring the first points of the game and never trailing the rest of the way.

Lokomotiv was led by Dmitry Kulagin. The guard escaped his defender for a dunk in this sequence: 

Then scored 12 points in one quarter:

Ultimately, he set a new career high with 24 points:

Ken Brown gave PARMA fans something to cheer about, though, dishing out a season-best 16 assists.

Itoudis becomes the winningest coach in League history

Dimitris Itoudis has coached at CSKA since 2014. During his tenure in Moscow, the Greek has won four League titles, more than any other coach. On Sunday, he reached another milestone, becoming the winningest coach in League history with a victory vs. Tsmoki-Minsk. He needed 156 games at CSKA to set the record: 

Daniel Hackett and Joel Bolomboy were primarily responsible for Itoudis’ memorable win, combining for 40 points without missing a single field goal. 

Astana gets back on track

Astana finally snapped its losing streak, picking up its first win of 2019 by defeating VEF in the Kazakh capital. Riga traditionally has struggled on the road vs. Astana, with its last victory coming in 2016. 

Playing without December MVP Anthony Clemmons, Michael Jenkins took on the role of leader, helping Astana grab a 13-point lead at halftime:

Following halftime, VEF nearly tied the game, but Stephen Holt had other ideas, combining with Jenkins for 43 points to guide the home team to victory, its 8th of the season. Last season, of course, Astana managed a measly seven wins. 

2019 All-Star Game rosters revealed

The second round of voting for the 3rd-ever VTB League All-Star Game concluded on Thursday. Journalists selected 20 players: 10 each for the Russian Stars and World Stars.

There has been one substitution already. Khimki forward Sergey Monia will replace Zenit’s Sergey Karasev, who’s out with an injury.

On Tuesday, the League revealed who received four coveted wild cards to the big game: 

If you haven’t bought tickets to the All-Star Game yet, don’t wait! Tickets are going fast. 

Team of the Week

Kendrick Perry was the motor in Nizhny Novgorod’s win over UNICS: 27 points and eight assists in an efficient manner.

Playing without Anthony Clemmons, Stephen Holt took on the role of leader and helped Astana snap a three-game skid with a win over VEF.

Dmitry Kulagin played his best game of the season, scoring a career-high 24 points in Loko’s road win vs. PARMA. 

Daniel Hackett did not miss a shot in Minsk, knocking down six 3-pointers to lead the League in efficiency rating this week.

Malcolm Thomas scored 14 points vs. Avtodor as Khimki picked up a victory in Saratov.