Avtodor's Record-Setting Offense In Astana

Avtodor Saratov set two VTB United League records on Sunday against Astana, scoring 71 points in the first half and 131 for the game. That smashed the previous record by 12 points, but Avtodor made it look easy.

Konstantin Kucher analyzes Avtodor's offense for Breaking It Down, highlighting the key factors that helped Saratov set two records.

Avtodor's superior speed had the biggest impact. Avtodor has struggled at times this season to push the pace, but that was not the case in Astana.

Avtodor scored a lot of uncontested points in the fast break.

The visitors also scored a lot of points before Astana was able to set up on defense.

Individual Excellence
Saratov's half-court offense was very individual-oriented. The visitors occasionally ran the pick-and-roll, but that was more an exception to the rule.

Avtodor focused on aggressive paint penetration and perimeter shooting. Paul Stoll was especially impressive. His four 3-pointers in the 2nd quarter appeared to break Astana psychologically.

Opponent Mistakes
Astana's unforced mistakes were also a factor in Avtodor's success.

Let's break down several episodes.

For example, Evgeny Kolesnikov is defending Pavel Ilyin on this possession.

The Astana guard loses his man, giving up a drive to the basket.

In the end, Kolesnikov makes an uncontested cut to the basket, getting the ball from the center to score an easy two points.

The next possession was even more symbolic. Initially, there was no indication that Avtodor would get an easy basket.

Getting back on defense, Alexey Zhukanenko simply lost his man.

Makiev took full advantage of the opportunity. He found an open spot on the court close to the basket, got the pass and finished with a powerful dunk.

On the next play, the home team got confused defending the pick-and-roll. Pat Calathes and Anton Ponomarev didn't switch properly on defense. As a result, Ponomarev got stuck near the free-throw line.

Saratov found the open man, swinging the ball around the perimeter before feeding the ball to an open Artem Klimenko in the paint.

The Avtodor center had no trouble scoring another two points.

Ponomarev made a mistake on that possession, but Calathes was also not perfect. During this play, he overcommitted on help defense, giving up a pass behind his back.

Evgeny Fidii didn't waste the opportunity, finishing with a dunk.

Avtodor proved once again how well it can play on offense, setting several records. This may also have been the first time that Avtodor looked like the team last season that made such an impression with its up-tempo, aggressive brand of basketball.

Konstantin Kucher