What do you think of the match? Well, the highest level…
Nikita Morgunov: How could it be otherwise? Last year, these two of our teams were supposed to play in the “final four” of the EuroLeague. Then they changed their lineups a bit, but it is obvious that they would not be lost again at European level.
As for this match… As always, before there was a lot of reasoning that CSKA is now beating everyone, and no one can compete with it. I am of a slightly different opinion. I think that in the top three of the VTB United League, CSKA, Zenit and UNICS, each team can beat each other. Consequently, they will constantly fight among themselves. Another thing is that the army team is now acting very confidently, in personal confrontations with the main rivals, it is they who win.
Well, today’s match was reminiscent of a boxer-puncher duel, who will knock out who first. There was a feeling that a little more, and “Zenith” “brought down” CSKA, they began the meeting very confidently. As in previous matches, Sergey Karasev looked good, as always, he was at the level of Tom Ertel, in addition to having great support from his teammates. But it turned out that the army team, which played for the first time in a positional attack, realized that they needed to “catch” an opponent, and this could only be done in an open game. That is, in the one offered by Zenith. And in this coming confrontation, CSKA not only held back the St. Petersburg attack, but also “caught” them, and then moved forward. For several minutes it seemed to me that such a tactic was hopeless, that when the army team “catch” an opponent, it immediately returns to its usual rhythm – with long rallies of the ball. But it turned out that Artyom Kamolov began to attack very well, Casper Weir performed successfully… It became clear that Alexei Shved and Nikola Milutinov were more powerful than their rivals. Of course, this defense-pivot couple is the best in CSKA today. And in the end, the victory went to the home team.
Agree, it’s great that CSKA finally has an equal opponent in the VTB United League. I say this despite the fact that since I was a child I have been a fan of the army. After all, in our championship, finally, there is a real fight.
Nikita Morgunov: As you know, she was real last season, and the final won by Zenit became her decoration. This year, the residents of St. Petersburg, of course, want to confirm that her success is not at all isolated. For its part, CSKA wants to return to the first position. At the same time, UNICS has looked very good in recent years. The truth is that last season it seemed to me that three of our teams could compete for a spot in the Euroleague Final Four at the same time, I didn’t even doubt two. Of course, this should have been reflected in the fight at the Russian championship.
At one time, I was lucky to watch many matches between the Spanish and Turkish championships, and I always said that these tournaments differ in that the “density” of the games and the “density” of serious matches in them was much higher. . than in the matches of the Russian championship. That is, we had several top European teams, but at the same time there were fewer of them in total than in other countries. But now we all see that the “density” of the struggle in our country is increasing. Remember at least the fact that the capital’s MBA club won the “Zenith”!
As for today’s match, we saw a real struggle and the fact that the implementation of three-point shots decided a lot: after all, 18 CSKA hits against nine “Zenith” – this is very impressive! And this is not counting everything else, for example, the confident actions of Milutinov. In the end, all this was reflected in the final result.
“Zenith” this season has already lost twice to CSKA. Doesn’t it feel like you’re “on the prowl” on the eve of the playoffs?
Nikita Morgunov: It is unlikely that Zenit just took it and hid. Today we saw with what attitude he entered the park, that he really wanted to win. And even if the sport does not tolerate the subjunctive mood, it is impossible not to ask yourself the question: how would the game go if Sergey Karasev was not injured? It is worth considering whether CSKA’s impressive unbeaten run will affect the mood of its players in the third and fourth rounds of the VTB United League championship, and especially in the playoffs.
In the end, CSKA won and “knocked out” a hundred. All businesses?
Nikita Morgunov: Today the stars converged like this, the cards were like that. Actually, the percentage of implantation of triples in the army was very high. Dejan Davidovac hit an insane shooting percentage from behind the three-point arc, and for a second, this is a top-tier player. When Zenit Thomas Wimbush himself began to score points, the army team tried to isolate him, but what is needed for this? It must be “big” put in the “perimeter”. And they do it like that. Well, in general, today the full potential of CSKA was realized, hence the good victory.
I never get tired of asking our famous basketball players a question: in your opinion, who is today in the big “minus”: we without Europe or Europe without us?
Nikita Morgunov: Due to the fact that our teams do not participate in the Eurocups, a large “space” has been freed up for the involvement of Russian basketball students, and this is a great “advantage” for us. Remember, when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was an opinion that the Russians did not play a special role in the USSR national team, but the Balts, Ukrainians, Georgians and any others were in the lead. But it so happened that in 1993 we took the “silver” of the European Championship, in 1994 – the “silver” of the World Championship, in 1997 – the “bronze” of Europe, in 1998 – the “silver” of the world, I will not continue. It was then that everyone began to speak in unison that our young people, who previously “sat” behind the “old” backs, had the opportunity to play and played in such a way that the world could only be surprised.
And now we are in the same situation. We have a very good MBA team, which played well not because there was no one to play, but because young Russian basketball players not only had their chance, but also played time in matches with the most serious teams. And his progress was not long in coming. We finally started to pay attention to our “reservation”. And he will definitely stand up and he will certainly shock Europe when we get back to his level.