Spartak St Petersburg and Lokomotiv Rostov are both facing long, hard seasons in the Russian Superleague and the EuroCup.
Spartak can now face it with much more confidence after winning a 86-83 thriller over Rostov on Thursday.
Spartak went into the last quarter trailing by a point but did just enough to win.
Oleg Okulov, the Spartak coach, said: "I think psychologically it was an important victory for us. After three defeats on the road, it hasn't been easy for the team."
Rafael Araujo led the way with 23 points while Damir Markota (picture), the 2.09m forward who played for Croatia at the EuroBasket this summer and helped them reach the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, finished with 19.
Oleg Meleshchenko, the Lokomotiv coach, was gracious in defeat.
"For the fans it was a very interesting game,” he said. “Spartak deserved their victory.
Defending like we did, it is going to be a very difficult championship for us."
Meleshchenko again emphasised how his players’ defense had left them in a difficult position.
"In the final quarter, we allowed Spartak to easily put attacking moves together, and that is always going to give the opposition extra confidence," he added.
Guard Anthony Goldwire scored 17 points and center Kresimir Loncar 16 for Lokomotiv.
Lokomotiv Rostov and Spartak each have two wins from five games and are seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Superleague.