The home match of «Astana» Presidential Basketball Club against the current VTB United League champions — CSKA Moscow ended in a victory for the guests.
CSKA Moscow is the most decorated club from Russia, and the Kazakhstani team in their history has never outplayed its counterpart from the capital of Russia. The defeat from the Moscow team will kick the Kazakhstan team out of the playoff zone, and in case of victory, “Astana” will again climb to fifth place in the standings. But first things first. James Florence, Stephen Holt, Dusan Ristic, Alexander Zhigulin and Malcolm Hill had started the game.
The toss in the game was won by the guests, and they had immediately realized their first attack, laying the foundation for their leadership. The start of the match was dominated by our rivals, who were actively gaining points, which Astana players could not boast of. Finally, after almost three minutes of the game and with a lag of 7 points, Malcolm Hill with a spectacular dunk opened a score for the Kazakhstan team. After that, “Astana” perked up, and after a couple of minutes, Dushan Ristic evened the score, and after another 30 seconds, Jeremiah Hill and his exact three-pointer brought “Astana” forward. Until the end of the first period, the capital team held the leadership role in their hands, but their advantage was very fragile and could disappear at any time. Our team was able to win the first quarter, although the gap was only three points. Army men were clearly not happy with this situation, and in the second period the guests began to realize their plans, and the performance of “Astana” noticeably fell. CSKA players also did not immediately find their game, although they came forward quite quickly. The first half of the quarter did not reveal a clear leader, but in the second, “Astana” had very great difficulties. Their already not-so-good performance really decreased, and the players couldn’t find their game. The only 2 points to our team until the end of the first half of the match brought James Florence. Moscow team took advantage of this and increased the gap, which reached the double-digit mark, and in the end, CSKA won the first half with a score of 30:43.
Perhaps the main reason for the defeat can be called not only the confident game of our rivals but also many missed throws of “Astana” players. Emil Rajkovic and the coaching staff needed to encourage the players and try to return their confidence when shooting. But the start of the third period, unfortunately during the break, showed the opposite. After only 2 minutes from the start of the second half of the match, the difference in the score had increased to 20 points. Further, the game leveled off, but the gap between the teams was kept in the range of twenty points. Unfortunately, for our team, the chances of a comeback in this game decreased every minute, and CSKA confidently kept a comfortable advantage. Before the final quarter, the Moscow guests led by 21 points, and the chances of “Astana” to win this game, alas, were minimal, and yet our guys were not going to give up. “Big” ones took the game in an attack on themselves — Dusan Ristic confidently scored points in his favorite manner, and Alexander Zhigulin, in addition to the realized shot from the U-turn, made two impressive dunks. However, the guests kept the situation under control and responded with their effective attacks on ours. Five minutes before the end of the match, the army team still won 20 points and it was obvious that the outcome of the match was already a foregone conclusion. Both Emil Rajkovic and Dimitris Itoudis understood this, so the bench players finished the match. As a result, the game ended with a confident victory for CSKA — 72:95 (22:19
). “Astana” failed the second quarter, which gave our rivals the foundation for their victory.
Head coach of «Astana» — Emil Rajkovic:
- «Astana” — Dushan Ristic became the most effective and efficient in our team, gaining 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Malcolm Hill has 16 points and 3 rebounds. Jeremiah Hill today earned 8 points, 4 rebounds + 8 assists. Also, 8 points and 4 rebounds by Stephen Holt.
- CSKA - army star Mike James shone today — 27 points and 5 assists, and center Costa Kufos did an excellent job — 18 points, 6 rebounds + 3 assists.
- Today CSKA won a well-deserved victory, as they aggressively played in defense. After two defeats in the Euroleague, they were very motivated and gave their all in this game. We had no serious chance to catch on today, as CSKA has demonstrated high class. We need to play better, learn from our mistakes and win the games we need. Also, we need to be more aggressive in defense, improve rebounds, as well as an attack against opponents using pressure.
CSKA head coach — Dimitris Itoudis:
- I would like to congratulate our team on their victory as we played fairly well. Each game is serious and complex, although there can be a different impression. We made a small number of losses, but the three-point percentage was not high. «Astana» started the game more active and was better on rebounds. In the second quarter, we leveled the situation and allowed «Astana» to gain only 8 points, taking the game under our control.
“Astana” again left the playoff zone and takes 9th place. At the moment, the competition for the playoffs is very intense and the chances of completing the regular championship in the first eight for the Kazakhstan team are still high, but for this, of course, we need victories. But CSKA continues to occupy the second line and share it with the Lokomotiv-Kuban team, having the same number of points, but ahead of the “Kuban” in personal games.
The next match
: the capital's basketball players will not have time to respite, since the leaders of the VTB United League regular season «Khimki», Moscow Region, will arrive in Nur Sultan on Friday, February 14, and they will meet 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