«Khimki» won at home Kazakhstani «Astana» with the score 93:80 (25:23, 24:23, 18:18, 26:16).
«Khimki» (14-5) are fighting for second place, while «Astana» (13-7) had only one less victory in the table. The first half was equal. «Khimki» more often hit inside the paint (26-12), Kazakhstanis consistently made precise shoots from behind the arc (9 out of 18). The teams entered the long break with the score 49:46 in favor of the hosts. In the third quarter, the game developed according to a similar scenario: none of the opponents managed to take the lead — 67:64.
The tense struggle has taken away a lot of strength from the teams — in the first minutes of the fourth quarter, the spectators saw a lot of blunders and losses. «Khimki» were the first to start the consistent game. The hits of Stefan Markovic and Janis Timmy allowed «Khimki» to organize a 10-0 spurt in 2 minutes and end the game as leaders — 84:75. “Astana” never recovered, having limited themselves to 16 points in the decisive segment.
«Khimki», thanks to this success, approached «UNICS» at a distance of only one victory. Kazakhstanis, who previously defeated Kazan, as well as «Zenit» and «Lokomotiv-Kuban», could not cope with another grandee and dropped back to the sixth place.
The most effective players:
«Khimki» head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:
- I am glad to win, it is a very important result for us. Everyone knows the current situation in the VTB League, and at the moment we want to win all the remaining matches of the season, as we are fighting for the second place, which can only be achieved with these victories. Today, we certainly were favorites, but this victory was not easy, because this year «Astana» has played very good basketball. This is a very dangerous team, in which all players know exactly what to do. They have a small rotation, but each player can score a three-pointer in an early attack, and we saw it today. I would like to thank my players for their return in defense and especially to highlight their struggle in rebound game. Today we finally won the rebound, and immediately with the advantage of «+15», which became the main criterion that helped us win.
Head coach of «Astana» Emil Raikovic:
- Congratulations to «Khimki» on the victory. In the past five minutes, they were more focused and in many ways surpassed us. We had problems with fouls, and Grossell and Zhigulin did not finish the match because of fouls, and Horton twisted his ankle during the game and played for the last seven or eight minutes with an injury. There were problems with the rotation, so I had to play with the fourth number in the position of a center and light forward, O’Brien, in the position of a power forward. We tried different combinations, played zone defense, and sometimes it worked. Until the last five minutes, we showed good results and remained in the game, my players played well, so I see no reason for regrets. We played at the maximum, especially considering the problems with injuries and fouls. We will move on.
- «Khimki»: Janis Timma (26 + 5 rebounds), Aleksey Shved (22 + 7 rebounds + 11 assists), Malcolm Thomas (18).
- «Astana»: JJ O'Brien (19), Michael Jenkins (17), Kenneth Horton (16 + 6 rebounds).
The next match “Astana” will hold at home on March 30, the capital basketball players will host the Russian basketball club “Parma” on their court as part of the regular championship of the VTB United League. The match will take place at the arena of the Saryarka cycle track, starting at 20:00. Tickets for the match are already on sale on the website Ticketon.kz
Detailed information about tournaments, tournament tables, the schedule and results of matches are published in the section Tournaments