CSKA went after a stop – Sport – Kommersant

In the central match of the week of the VTB United League regular championship, CSKA hosted Lokomotiv Kuban. Both the army team and Krasnodar occupy unusually low places in the standings, so one could expect both teams to fight for victory. Unfortunately, equal struggle was only in the first half of the meeting, and already at the beginning of the second, the army team delivered a series of powerful blows, from which the guests failed to recover. CSKA won with a score of 91:71 and continues to chase UNICS, Zenit and Avtodor.

The confrontation between CSKA and Lokomotiv-Kuban is a classic of Russian basketball. And the main merit in this belongs to Krasnodar, which for a long time was considered the most inconvenient opponent for CSKA. Since the VTB United League switched to a two round robin regular season format in 2014, Lokomotiv has almost invariably beat the army team in at least one match. Not all teams in the league can boast such stability in the confrontation with the European giant.

However, this season both CSKA and Lokomotiv are reeling. As a result, the teams approached the full-time confrontation, occupying unusually low places for themselves: CSKA – fourth, Krasnodar – sixth. Of course, both teams were not averse to improving their standings and were preparing for a serious battle. “We have a lot of problems due to injuries, but we are preparing well and seriously,” CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis told the club’s official website.

However, the army coach paid tribute to the Kuban. “We have a serious opponent in front of us, they have replenishment, they poached Jaylen Burford, the league’s top scorer, from Astana. They also have Eric McCollum, Alan Williams, Darius Thompson and other young guys, a combination of experience and youth, good chemistry. Loko likes to run away when they get space, they act tough, they have players who can play at a high pace, one of their strengths is “light” balls in fast breaks, this should be taken into account, ”said the CSKA mentor.

The match began as if it were not a game of tournament importance, but, say, a rehearsal for the All-Star Game. Minimum defense, maximum attack – that was the motto of the meeting participants.

In the first quarter, the teams scored 39 points for two, in the second they switched to full mode and shot at 66 points already. And all this was divided almost equally. The teams went to the long break with the score 54:51 in favor of CSKA. Although the leadership could well have gone to the guests, they unacceptably often lost sight of Alexei Shved, who did not forget how to throw from a distance and distribute passes at all.

It seemed that the most interesting things were ahead. Someone probably even expected to see something like a thriller that happened in early February in the confrontation between CSKA and UNICS. Then the teams needed three overtime to determine the winner. But as soon as the match resumed, Lokomotiv stopped.

And at CSKA, the effective Shved (he became the best player of the match, scoring 15 points and making ten assists) was joined by Daniel Hackett, who also began to hit in series. As a result, the hosts gave a breakthrough 18:2 and removed all questions about the winner. Even the usually restless Itoudis calmed down and gave the team leaders a chance to rest. CSKA won a well-deserved victory with a score of 91:71 and continues to chase UNICS, Zenit and Avtodor, which are in the first three places.

The All-Star Game of the VTB United League will take place on February 20 in Moscow at the VTB Arena. The league reported that all 6,000 tickets for the game had been sold. This is less than 60% of all seats, but it was not possible to fill the entire arena due to coronavirus restrictions. The general director of the league, Ilona Korstin, said that fans, as always, will see a colorful show. We also add that the match will traditionally be held in the format of “Stars of Russia” against “Stars of the World”.

Arnold Kabanov


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