CSKA Moscow

CSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv reach VTB Final Four

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CSKA MoscowCSKA Moscow and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar have both progressed to the Final Four of the VTB United League, becoming the first two clubs to do so. The Russian giants swept their respective series, with CSKA brushing aside BC Astana and Lokomotiv getting the job done against Unics Kazan. There are two more ties still active, with Nizhny Novgorod taking a 2-1 lead over Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday, while Khimki Moscow Region has the chance to reach the Final Four tomorrow in a clash against Avtodor Saratov.

Unics Kazan vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 75-86
It may surprise some that Lokomotiv managed to pass Unics with three straight wins, heading into this quarter-final tie the teams seemed evenly matched. However, the Krasnodar outfit has found another gear at the right time and this win in Game 3 sealed a place in the Final Four.

With home court advantage, Unics Kazan would have been confident of extending the series, but Lokomotiv started in confident mood and paced to a 20-27 first quarter lead. The Kazan contingent fought back in a spirited second frame to win the period 23-17 and make it a one point game at halftime (43-44). The hosts kept the momentum in the third quarter and a 16-14 run was enough to turn the scoreboard in home favour, 59-58. Lokomotiv went big in the final act and drained a massive 28 points through the net while stopping Unics at 16 to win the contest.

Malcolm Delaney was at his best for the visitors as he topped the winners with 25 points. Anthony Randolph followed with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds.

James White led Unics Kazan with 20 points, while Kostas Kaimakoglou nailed 16 points and Keith Langford logged 15 points.

Astana vs. CSKA Moscow, 75-111
CSKA Moscow destroyed BC Astana for the third consecutive game to wrap up a series that has been the definition of a whitewash. The Euroleague giant simply had too much all over the hardwood for their opponents, the only non-Russian club left in the VTB League. Astana will be delighted to have come this far but the gulf in class is evident after three games (Game 2 110-60, Game 1 103-58).

CSKA Moscow broke a century of points for the third straight game and got off to a great start here with a 19-29 winning first quarter. In the second frame Astana picked up the pace and poured in 25 points, although CSKA kept its foot on the gas to claim 28 points and a 44-53 lead at the long break. Normal service resumed in the third act as the visitors added another 27 points while Astana stopped at 17, making it 61-80 through thirty minutes. A comfortable 17-27 run in the fourth quarter allowed CSKA to ease down the straight to victory.

Andrey Vorontsevich topped the winners with 19 points, while Nando De Colo added 15 points. Viktor Khryapa and Sasha Kaun scored 13 apiece, Sonny Weems took 11 points, and Kyle Hines logged 10 points.

Jerry Johnson was in good touch in the losing effort as he helped Astana with 16 points, followed by Rasid Mahalbasic 13 points and Anton Ponomaryov with 10 points.

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