The Russian «Nizhny Novgorod» defeated at home the Kazakh «Astana» 85:78 (21:21, 29:14, 21:19, 14:24).
Rushing into the top three, «Astana» arrived in Nizhny Novgorod for the fifth consecutive victory. Moreover, this season «Astana» lost to «Nizhny Novgorod» in November and most certainly wanted to rehabilitate for this failure. However, the hosts immediately imposed fierce defense. The attack of «Astana» (the third in performance in the League) went wrong under powerful pressure from «Nizhny Novgorod», and «Nizhny» overtook the second quarter with a double margin — 29:14.
However, after the break, the Kazakhstan team proved that they were the favorite in this game, and pulled away with 11: 2 and reduced the gap. But the sharp shoots of Ivan Strebkov, Ilya Popov and Evgeniy Baburin restored the double-digit advantage of «Nizhny» — 71:54 before the final quarter.
And yet, the guests undertook a final attack, which was particularly facilitated by the powerful game of JJ O’Brien (10 points per quarter). His next throw reduced the difference to just 6 points — 78:72. Nevertheless, Christopher Czerapowicz's three-pointer one minute before the end of the game finally deprived the team of Emil Raikovich of the chance to win; in the remaining time, the guests managed to score only 2 points. «Nizhny Novgorod» caught up in the number of victories with «Kalev» and «Avtodor». “Astana” suffered its first away defeat in the season.
The top scorers:
«Nizhny Novgorod» head coach Zoran Lukic:
- I rarely say this, but today I want to say to my team: “Well done!” Here is my entire comment on the game. I especially want to thank our fans who came to support us on the New Year holidays. For us, it is very important.
«Astana» head coach Emil Raykovich:
- Congratulations to «Nizhny» on the victory; today they were, indeed, better than us. I believe that we have already lost this game in the first half when our opponent beat us by 50 points. In the second half we tried to return in the game and reduced the gap to 6 points a couple of times, but at the end of the fourth quarter, we made a loss, after which the match was over for us. In those moments when we could catch up, «Nizhny» scored very hard. Especially Czerapowicz. He demonstrated an outstanding game: 6 three-pointers out of 10. A lot of time passed since our last match, and it affected our game today. Now after the defeat, we need to calm down a bit, analyze everything and prepare for the next game.
The team will play their next games on January 9 and 10; «Astana» players will host Kokshetau basketball club «Sinegorye» as part of the Kazakhstan Championship among men's teams of the National League
«Astana» will hold its next match of the VTB United League at home, on January 12, the capital basketball players will receive «UNICS» from Kazan on their court. Tickets for the match are already on sale on the website Ticketon.kz.
The detailed information about tournaments, tournament tables, the schedule and match results are published in the Tournaments section.