sports blog by andy shenk

Updates: Week of April 16-22

In Anzhi, Carleton, Cincinnati Reds, Lokomotiv-Kuban, Russian Basketball, Russian Football, San Antonio Spurs, Tottenham Hotspur on April 16, 2012 at 7:44 PM

My teams had a tough week overall. The highlight? Lokomotiv Kuban advancing in the VTB League Play-offs, with a convincing road win over Zalgiris. The worst of the week? A tie between Tottenham Hotspur’s two losses, at home to Norwich City and 1-5 to Chelsea in the FA Cup semis, and the Lakers’ drubbing of the Spurs in San Antonio, 98-84, a game in which Andrew Bynum pulled down 30 rebounds to San Antonio’s 32.

One bold prediction for this week: The Cincinnati Reds will sweep St. Louis on the road.


San Antonio Spurs, 42-16, 2nd place in Western Conference

Last week the Spurs went 2-2, losing consecutive games to Utah and the Lakers at the beginning of the week, then rebounding with wins over Memphis and Phoenix.

This week the Spurs play five times, kicking off a season-ending stretch of eight games in eleven days. Expect significant rest for Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili, especially in the Wednesday night game against the Kings: 1) Monday, at Golden State, 9:30 PM*; 2) Tuesday, at Lakers, 9:30 PM, TNT; 3) Wednesday, at Sacramento, 9:00 PM; 4) Friday, vs. Lakers, 8:30 PM, ESPN; 5) Sunday, vs. Cleveland, 6:00 PM

Lokomotiv Kuban, 9-8, 4th place in Russian Professional Basketball League (PBL); qualified for Final Six of VTB League Play-offs

Last week began brightly for Lokomotiv, as they handled Zalgiris 80-71 on the road, clinching their VTB League Final Eight series 2-0 and advancing to play Russian foes Spartak St. Petersburg in the Final Six. Sunday, however, in a PBL contest at home to Triumph, Lokomotiv got blown out 87-69. As a result, Lokomotiv locked in to 4th place in the PBL for the regular season. They will await their first-round opponent in the semifinals of the PBL Play-offs, either BC Khimki or CSKA Moscow. The semifinals will be contested as a best-0f-five series, beginning on April 27 and concluding by May 7.

This week, Lokomotiv plays its best-of-three series with Spartak St. Petersburg to determine who will advance to the Final Four of the VTB League Play-offs: 1) Wednesday, vs. Spartak St. Petersburg, VTB League Play-offs Final Six, 10:30 AM; 2) Friday, at Spartak St. Petersburg, VTB League Play-offs Final Six, TBA; 3) Saturday, at Spartak St. Petersburg, VTB League Play-offs Final Six, TBA, if necessary


Cincinnati Reds, 4-6, third place in National League Central Division

The Reds struggled at home and on the road last week. They began by dropping two of three at home to division rivals St. Louis, then sunk even further with a 1-3 record against Washington at Nationals Park over the weekend. In other news, second baseman Brandon Phillips re-signed with the team for $72.5 million over six years, beginning this season.

This week for the Reds: 1) Tuesday, at St. Louis, 7:15 PM; 2) Wednesday, at St. Louis, 7:15 PM; 3) Thursday, at St. Louis, 12:45 PM; 4) Friday, at Cubs, 1:10 PM, MLB Network; 5) Saturday, at Cubs, 12:05 PM; 6) Sunday, at Cubs, 1:10 PM

Carleton College Knights, 8-15 (2-6 MIAC), tied for 8th in MIAC

Last week the Knights dropped two on the road to Gustavus Adolphus, 5-13 and 3-12; split a home double-header with Hamline, 1-0 and 3-5; and split a non-conference double-header at Wartburg College, 0-4 and 5-2.

This week: 1, 2) Tuesday, vs. Crown College, 2:30 PM; 3, 4) Wednesday, vs. Augsburg College, MIAC, 2:30 PM; 5, 6) Saturday, at St. Olaf College, MIAC, 1:00 PM


Tottenham Hotspur, 59 points, 4th in English Premier League

Spurs had a hugely disappointing week, suffering shock defeat at home to Norwich City, 1-2, and getting blown at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinals, 5-1, to rivals Chelsea. The team must regroup with only five fixtures remaining in the Premier League season. Newcastle United has now drawn level with Spurs on points in the league table, while Chelsea lurks in 5th, only two points behind. A stuttering finish would mean Spurs miss out on Champions League football (and cash) for a second straight year. A stirring finish, however, could propel them past rivals Arsenal, into 3rd, and its guaranteed spot in Champions League group play.

1) Saturday, at Queens Park Rangers, Premier League, 11:30 AM

FC Anzhi, 60 points, 7th in Russian Premier League

Anzhi lost at home in disappointing fashion to Dinamo Moscow, 1-0, on Sunday. The defeat means that Anzhi remains in 7th place in the league, now trailing second-place Spartak Moscow by eight points and fifth-place Lokomotiv Moscow by four points. A second place finish or better offers entry into the Champions League, while a fifth place finish or better ensures entry into the Europa League.

This week FC Anzhi goes on the road to face my former love, Spartak Moscow, in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Sunday afternoon in Luzhniki would be an opportune time for Anzhi to snap its three-game goalless streak and close the gap on European qualification with a victory: 1) Sunday, at Spartak Moscow, 7:30 AM


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