Russian «Khimki» beat «Astana» at home — 90:87 (22:15, 24:13, 18:27, 26:32)
Khimki objectively felt they need this victory more than Astana, not yet fully solving their tournament task. Nevertheless Astana, thanks to yesterday's defeat of Avtodor, secured the 8th place and got in the playoffs, but still intended to please the fans in the last game of the regular season, not only with a beautiful game but with the result as well. Although the guests immediately seized the initiative, Astana players were not going to surrender. Despite the catastrophic development of events («+20» for «Khimki» after the free throws of Alexei Shved in the second half), the hosts began to catch up gradually; Ousman Krubelly was great on this stretch of the game, scoring 9 points overall.
And at the beginning of the fourth quarter «Astana» dashed away with a score 12: 4 (the same Krubelly and Robert Lowry became the ringleaders of the successful attack) and outscored Khimki -70:68! Then the most interesting began; the hosts responded with the most powerful pressure on the entire court to the scored Shved’s 10 points. And yet in the last attack of «Astana» the ring spit out the ball after Ian Miller's throw — «Khimki» bring home difficult but vital victoria.
The most effective:
«Astana»: Ousman Krubelly (29 + 13 rebounds), Dimitrios Katsvelis (14 + 7 rebounds), Ian Miller (12 + 9 assists), Robert Lowry (10 + 11 assists).
Khimki: Alexei Shved (23 + 7 assists), Jacob Pullen (21), Nobel Bungu-Kolo (13 + 6 rebounds), Robbie Hummel (10), Earl Rowland (10).
Head coach of «Astana» Ilias Papatheodorou:
- In the beginning we did not play as was planned. Thanks to the defeat of «Avtodor» we got in the playoffs, and, probably, mentally we were not properly ready for the game. «Khimki» is one of the strongest teams in the League. And, of course, the guests took advantage of our slackness in the first half. But I think that after such a long break we played like a real team with the right approach to the game, and in the end we had a real chance to win.
Head coach of «Khimki» Dusko Ivanovic:
- We started well today, but then the game went wrong. «Astana» on the contrary had a poor start, but improved in the second half, playing more aggressively, and we were very lucky in the end. Of course, in the second half, we stopped playing in defence, missed many points. Sometimes we just watched as the opponent scored, and, of course, in the playoff games, we need to completely change our approach and our attitude.
This regular season VTB United League came to an end for «Astana», the capital's club secured a place in the playoffs. The final matches of the regular season will be held on April 23, after which the current standings and schedule of the game series will be published on our website in the Tournaments section.
«Astana» will hold The next game at home, on April 21 and 23 the capital team will host the Final Four of the National League of Kazakhstan. Astana will meet with the winner of the Premier League «A» Tobol», a team from Kostanay. Detailed information about the tournament and the teams, the schedule and the results of the matches are published on our website in the Tournaments section.