How Antonov Helped Nizhny Overcome Avtodor

Nizhny Novgorod captain Semyon Antonov was named Week Eighteen MVP after guiding his team to a comeback win at home vs. Avtodor. Konstantin Kucher analyzes Antonov's outstanding 4th-quarter performance for Breaking It Down.

Designated the Game of the Week, the Volga derby featured plenty of big shots and a terrific finish.

With three and a half minutes to play, Nizhny Novgorod trailed by four, 66-62. That's when Semyon Antonov took control, dominating the next five possessions.

He started with a '3'. Leading up to the shot, Nizhny looked lost on offense. With the shot clock winding down and Saratov able to neutralize the pick-and-roll, the home team was running out of options.

Dmitry Khvostov had no other choice but to pass the ball to Antonov on the perimeter.

Semyon may not be the most accurate 3-point shooter, but he makes them when it counts. He did it again on Sunday. Matched up against Avtodor guard Paul Stoll, Antonov coolly drained the '3'.

On the next possession, Nizhny Novgorod looked to get the ball to Antonov early. After a pick-and-roll with Khvostov, Avtodor ended up in a defensive mismatch.

Antonov was able to isolate Stoll on the edge of the paint. Nizhny took advantage, feeding the ball to the Russian forward.

Using his size, Antonov got around Stoll, forcing the guard to foul. Avtodor was already over the limit and Antonov made the visitors pay, sinking both free throws.

On the next possession, the Black-Whites once again took advantage of a defensive mismatch. This time they didn't need a pick-and-roll. Quick transition offense left the visitors scrambling. Avtodor guards Chappell and Williams ended up on Rudd and Antonov, while Nizhny guard Evgeny Baburin was defended by Avtodor big man Travis Peterson.

This time, Saratov tried to prevent Antonov from getting the ball in the paint. Artem Zabelin provided help down low on defense.

But the home team found a way through. A pass to an open Mahalbasic forced Zabelin to leave the basket.

The Slovenian big man then found an open Antonov under the basket.

He wasted no time dropping another two points in the Avtodor basket.

Antonov did more than just score. He was also terrific on defense. Twice, visiting players tried to go one-on-one against Antonov. Both times, he came out the winner.

First, Chappell tried to beat him with the dribble. Unfortunately for the American, his drive to the basket ended in a block.

On Avtodor's next trip down the floor, Reggie Williams went at the Nizhny big man, but his shot was way off the mark.

Antonov once again demonstrated his leadership qualities vs. Avtodor. Thanks to his terrific play down the stretch, the home team turned a four-point deficit into a three-point lead. There is no question his presence on the court makes Nizhny better. Ainars Bagatskis has some tough players and his team could start climbing the standings in the very near future.