A newcomer in the competition, Nizhny has reached the Top 16 with a lot of style, and even more drama. Facing elimination in both of its last two games, it first edged Anadolu Efes Istanbul on the road, then rallied to beat Unics Kazan in a do-or-die battle at home. It did so without its injured leader, and the Euroleague's top scorer Taylor Rochestie (20.0 ppg), too. With a shortened rotation, one Euroleague veteran Tarence Kinsey, and one rookie Trey Thompkins, stepped up big time. With significant roles from Dimitriy Khvostov and a couple other rookies, Evgeny Baburin and Art Parakhouski, Nizhny has beaten the odds and remained in the race for Euroleague glory.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Nizhny Novgorod continued the strong tradition of Russian clubs by becoming the sixth team from that nation this century to reach the Top 16 in its debut Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. And after eliminating one of those teams, Unics Kazan, now Nizhny will have a go at the nation’s powerhouse CSKA Moscow. The rare all-Russian Top 16 showdowns are set for Round 5 in Moscow, and Round 12 in Novgorod.
GOING FORWARD: Nizhny Novgorod players have been true road warriors in the club’s debut Euroleague season; Nizhny recorded victories in its last three regular season games away from home. That says a lot about the progress the team has made, but even more about how much the players’ level of comfort rose, and their confidence too. With Rochestie likely to be ready for the start of the Top 16, Nizhny will have plenty to say in Group F.