By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With nine games left in the regular season of the VTB United League, everything can still happen and this contest provided a real playoffs taste.
And that can be said also about another game, which provided us with our MVP of the week.
MVP – Devon Saddler
Tsmoki-Minsk has the eight spot in the league standings after making almost the impossible. The Belarusians beat the mighty Lokomotiv Kuban for the first time in their history after a game that included overtime!
Devon Saddler was the star of the show with 22 points and the question now is if the Dragons of Minsk can remain inside the playoffs picture. On the contrary, this was the fourth straight loss for Lokomotiv which dropped to the fourth spot of the standings.
Duel in Nizhny Novgorod
Speaking about the playoffs, you can’t but marvel at the game between Nizhny Novgorod and Astana. The hosts managed to get the 79-78 win thanks to a buzzer beater by Artem Komolov. The game was tight from wire to wire and Astana despite the defeat remains 7th in the league standings, tied with the 8th Tsmoki-Minsk. They both share a 6-11 record.
Nizhny is right behind them in the 9th spot with a 5-10 record and it seems that those three teams will fight until the end of the last two playoffs spot. It’s going to be a close race and many more close games are expected down the road when those three teams are on the court.
VEF and Kalev also are close
There are two more teams with six wins already, but worst records than Astana, Tsmoki-Minsk and Nizhny Novgorod. VEF Riga (6-12) and Kalev Talin (6-13) still have hope after beating Enisey and PARMA respectively. Kalev closed this week with a second win in five days, this time over Avtodor Saratov. The Latvians and the Estonias will have to keep pushing until the end and they have a lot of ground to cover.
Still, it’s more than obvious that while powerhouses like CSKA Moscow, Unics Kazan, Loko and Zenit and Khimki are regularly stealing the show – and for a good reason – there’s a real battle going on behind that which is more than interesting by its own right.