«Astana» Presidential Basketball Club could not beat Belarusian «Tsmoki-Minsk» away in the VTB United League.
The first game of the teams of the season took place on November 9
in Nur-Sultan, and then the Kazakh team snatched the victory from rivals in the last seconds of the match with a score of 91:89. Before the return match with Belarus, “Astana” won only one of the seven away matches held, and “Tsmoki-Minsk” had the same result, only in home matches. Thus, according to the results of the upcoming match, one of the teams had a chance to improve their results. All the key players of our rivals were announced for this match, and our starting five consisted of James Florence, Vadim Shcherbak, Dusan Ristic, Alexander Zhigulin and Malcolm Hill.
After the first unsuccessful attack by the home team, Alexander Zhigulin earned the first points in the exact three-pointer. In the game, a struggle ensued from the very start and none of the teams wanted to let the opponents pull forward from the very start. Closer to the middle of the quarter, the Kazakh squad was able to break away by six points, but they could not keep the advantage. Three minutes before the end of the first quarter, the Belarusian team evened the score and immediately came forward. During the remaining time, “Astana” was catching up and lagged five points behind during the game. Our team played well at the very ending of the first quarter. A particularly spectacular moment was the steal by Stephen Holt, after which he sent Jeffrey Crocket to the stratosphere, and the spectacular alley-up became the gem of the whole match. And also our team could have equaled the score or even come forward after the interception of James Florence, but both throws did not reach the goal. The players of Emil Rajkovic had a couple of failures in the first quarter, but they did not look worse than their rivals, losing only two points after 10 minutes. In the second quarter, a bitter struggle broke out with renewed vigor. The teams tried to seize the leadership role in this match, but anyone could manage to do it successfully. For almost the entire quarter, the difference between the teams did not exceed three points, and the score became equal four times. Closer to the big break, Malcolm Hill brought the gap between the teams to a maximum in this quarter — 4 points. But in the first half of the team shared were separated only by 1 point — 41:42 in favor of “Astana».
Such a game in the first half promised that the second would take place in an equally stubborn struggle, and so it went on in the first five minutes of the third quarter. The teams continued to «ride on a swing», and the score had never been equal. It was impossible to give preference to any of the teams. Nevertheless, the hosts were able to make a good breakthrough, which led their advantage to + 8, and Emil Rajkovic had to stop them with a timeout. After that, Jeremiah Hill showed with an accurate throw from behind the arc that “Astana” was ready to fight further and is eager to level the score, but the game for our players didn’t go well until the end of the period; even the best shooters missed and unnecessary losses occurred. “Dragons”, in turn, played on a roll, and they managed to do almost everything. The difference for the first time in the game has become double-digit. Before the fourth quarter, “Tsmoki” won 11 points, but such a lag was not critical for our team and it could be played back quite quickly. Only now the hosts seriously intended to win and after a couple of minutes from the start of the fourth quarter, they won 15 points. “Astana” did not give up even after Stephen Holt reduced the gap to 10 points, and the coaching staff of the Belarusian team took a timeout, which, to our regret, did well for “dragons”. The Kazakhstan team continued the fight and at first did not allow increasing their advantage, losing 11 points five minutes before the end. But then there was a breakthrough of the Belarusian team, and they pulled away by 18 points. Until the end of the match, our rivals were more than confident and eventually won this match with a good advantage — 96:77 (21:19
, 25:13, 30:22).
The head coach of “Tsmoki-Minsk” — Rostislav Vergun:
- “Astana” — the most effective in our team today are James Florence — 14 points and 7 assists, as well as Alexander Zhigulin — 8 points and 6 rebounds. Malcolm Hill did not have his best match, did not earn his average, but still became the most productive with 17 points. Jeremiah Hill got 16 points today. And here is another leader of ours, Dusan Ristic, who played the worst game today, having earned 8 rebounds and only 3 points.
- “Tsmoki-Minsk” - Maxim Salash became the most effective among Belarusians, gaining a double-double — 11 points and 13 rebounds. Branko Mirkovic also caused a lot of problems to our team — 19 points + 5 assists and Alexandre Gavrilovich — 18 points + 8 rebounds.
- Congratulations to all our fans and the club with a good game. It was fun indeed those who sincerely cheer us. And now we are already thinking about how to win the next game.
Head coach of «Astana» — Emil Rajkovic:
- Congratulations to «Tsmoki-Minsk», they were better today, especially in the second half. They played better in the attack. Unfortunately, we were unable to respond and too often lost the ball.»
“Astana” went down to sixth place even before the start of the match, after an unexpected home defeat of “Zenit” to the Estonian “Kalev”, with a gap of just one point, the Estonians were able to get ahead of “Astana”. And after the defeat of “Tsmoki-Minsk”, the Kazakhstan team was on the seventh line. Our opponent today could not go up in the standings, but came close to the teams fighting for the playoffs.
on February 4 and 5, the capital's basketball players will host the final series of matches of the regular season of the National League, the rival in which will be Kokshetau «Sinegorye». The next match of VTB United League, wards of Emil Rajkovic will play at home against Moscow «CSKA», the match will be held on February 10 at the arena of «Zhekpe-zhek» Martial Arts Palace. Tickets for the match are already on sale at Ticketon.kz
Detailed information about the tournament, standings, schedule and match results are published in the Tournaments