CSKA Moscow took a giant step towards retaining the VTB League title with a cruising 84-76 home win over Unics Kazan in game one of the finals series. The two best teams of the Regular Season are clashing over two legs to decide the location of the champions in 2016. CSKA now has an 8 point advantage to protect when it travels to Kazan on Friday in hunt of a sixth consecutive VTB League success.
The Army Men are now clear favourites for the title, but with the home floor Unics Kazan is certainly not out of the equation yet. The team showed enough glimpses in Moscow to suggest the second leg could be a hugely exciting game, but CSKA Moscow has all the experience. The Euroleague champions simply look untouchable again this season.
In this game the home team was running amok and 14 points up after thirty minutes, only a fourth quarter flurry sparing Kazan’s blushes and making the final score closer than what the game suggested.
CSKA Moscow vs. Unics Kazan, 84-76
The home team really stepped up from the bench to fire an underperforming starting five, with 41 points coming from the sides, a decision to leave key players on the bench to start paid off. That distribution of points throughout the roster ultimately made the difference as Unics only managed 17 points from the bench.
CSKA started in fine touch and managed to plunder 24 points through the first quarter while stopping Kazan at 15 points for a healthy lead through ten minutes. The hosts kept scoring heavy to the tune of 22 points in the second quarter, but Unics stepped up and drained 26 points to close the gap. Through halftime the scoreboard read 46-41 and the game was open. The hosts shut it down quickly after the long break, using a 27 point haul in the third act to take a 14 point advantage into the final split, 73-59 through thirty minutes. Unics rallied again in the fourth and won the frame 11-17 to at least make it interesting down the stretch.
Milos Teodosic played from the sides and hit a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists to pace the win, while Vitality Fridzon scored 16 points. Kyle Hines offered 15 points to CSKA and Euroleague MVP Nando De Colo scored 14 points.
Keith Langford was in touch for Unics Kazan with 16 points, followed by Anton Ponkeashov with 15 points and Konstantinos Kaimakoglou with 14 points.