Dynamo St. Petersburg hosted Paris Basket Racing tonight in what was a match-up between the two top teams in Group D of the FIBA Europe League. In a game of defensive basketball, the Russian side came out on top in the end with a slim 69-65 victory against one of the top defensive teams in Europe.
Despite the final win, Dynamo had problems at the onset in stopping their opponents offensively. Paris was led by John Linehan who played strong on both ends of the court. At the end of the first quarter, the visitors had jumped out to a nine-point lead.
With his side trailing, Dynamo's coach David Blatt made a few adjustments at the start of the second quarter. These changes proved to be successful as the home team opened up the second period with a 15-0 run, and with it regained the lead 29-23.
Dynamo was led during this phase by Denis Khloponin who nailed three three-pointers in a row, and Ed Cota's athletic moves to the basket. The Paris team, desperate to hold onto their second-place ranking, fought back relentlessly to cut the lead to two at the half.
The second half continued in the same fashion, with both teams playing suffocating defense which prohibited either side from gaining an advantage.
The home team managed to maintain a slight two-point lead, and with 39 seconds remaining in the game Paris had their last chance to even the score. However the visitors came up empty-handed as Dynamo's defense was too strong.
The Russian team went on to win 69-65 and confirmed their status as the only undefeated team in the FIBA Europe League.
Gordon Herbert, Head Coach of Paris Basket Racing:
“I’d like to congratulate my friend David of St. Petersburg on this win. You have a very strong team here and I wish only the best as the end of the season approaches. It was a really tough game. We played very well against Dynamo in both games and I’m pleased with my players. John Linehan had a very good time tonight. He’s been in good form in our last four or five games and he helps us a lot.”
David Blatt, Head Coach of Dynamo St. Petersburg:
“I’m extremely pleased with our win. Both teams played perfect in defense tonight. If you like defensive basketball then you’d be pleased with the game. I do like defensive basketball and am very pleased with tonight’s game. In my opinion Paris Basket Racing is the best defensive team in Europe and this only makes our win more valuable. It’s tough to motivate players when you have already secured first place in the group and your opponent is highly motivated to get the win. But we won and I’m proud of my players.”