«Nizhniy» wins «Astana», but falls out of the playoff race
Russian «Nizhny Novgorod» beat at home Kazakhstan «Astana» — 76:72 (12:19, 13:15, 21:15, 30:23).
By the end of the season, in a case of equal victories, Nizhny had to beat the opponent with a difference of at least 10 points in order to get ahead of Astana s and enter playoffs. The visitors, however, had some other plans. The Kazakhs pelted the Volzhans with a hail of three-pointers and quickly came forward, putting the team of Arthurs Stalbergs in the position of the catching side until the end of the match.
Only in the final quarter hosts, thanks to the trio of Boynton-Vene-Thompson, who managed to return intrigue — 66:66 after a 3-pointer by Simm-Sander Vene.
A series of mutual attacks came till the end of the game — Peter Gubanov led “Nizhniy” forward, Kenny Boynton cemented the success, but then there was a crazy three-pointer «bomb» Robert Lowry has thrown in an answer … The ending of the match was saved for “Nizhny Novgorod”; Tomislav Zubcic shoots another three-pointer, which brought the victory to his team. This was already a formality though. Failing to come up with the necessary score difference, «Nizhny» lost the chance to catch up with «Astana». However, another team can do this: Saratov “Avtodor” beat “Parma” in a parallel game, which means that Astana cannot feel safe for now.
The most effective:
«Nizhny Novgorod»: Kenny Boynton (17 + 9 assists), Peter Gubanov (15 + 8 rebounds), Dijon Thompson (15), Simm-Sander Vene (11).
«Astana»: Robert Lowery (20 + 7 rebounds), Ousman Krubelly (11 + 9 rebounds), Ian Miller (11), Roderick Odom (10).
Head coach of “Nizhny Novgorod” Arturs Stalbergs:
- No matter how strange it sounded, this is a very embarrassing victory after all. We did not have those five points, and the situation perfectly illustrates our entire season. We have been there many times, almost won, but lacked that tiny bit at the end. Basketball is the game in which there are no trifles. We got a very unpleasant experience – we did not get into the playoffs and again finishing very close, in the ninth position. Unfortunately, we have not achieved the desired result this year, and the task in the VTB League was not fulfilled.
Head coach of «Astana» Ilias Papatheodorou:
- First of all, I would like to say that today it was a very tough game because it was decisive for both teams. We had an excellent start — we completely controlled the ball and managed to destroy opponent’s plan in the attack. We planned to continue the same way in the second half of the game too, but we understood that the rival would try to catch up. Unfortunately, by the end of the match, our leaders had problems with personal fouls, that is why there was little room for manoeuvre. In addition, «Nizhniy» began to play better in defence. It was very important to avoid overtime, so losing the game is not the worst scenario in this match. Now we are close to the playoffs more than ever. My team deserved it this season.
The next match «Astana» will hold on the road, the team will leave for Kazan, where on April 13 “Astana” meets with «UNICS» within the framework of the VTB United League championship.