Khimki, by a 71-82 decision at Caja Laboral
Khimki Moscow Region registered one of the biggest victories in club history by moving into Group H's second place halfway through the Top 16 with a resounding 71-82 road win over Caja Laboral in Vitoria, Spain on Thursday. It says enough that Khimki was the only road winner in Week 3 and now sits alone in Group H's second place with a 2-1 record and two home games left halfway through the Top 16. Caja Laboral dropped to 2-1 and will have to rebound when these teams meet after the break for Week 4 in Moscow. Khimki took over with double-digit leads in the first quarter and didn't let Caja Laboral up for much air the rest of the way. When the hosts did threaten, however, getting within 4 points a couple times in the second half, either Kelly McCarty or Raul Lopez fired back as the visitors won going away. McCarty finished with 23 points that included 5-for-7 two-point, 3-for-6 three-point and 4-for-4 free-throw shooting. Lopez followed with 18 points missing ony a triple while hitting 4 others. Keith Langford filled in the blanks with 14 points and 6 rebounds for the winners. Caja Laboral got 17 points from Lior Eliyahu, an inspirational 15 from Tiago Splitter, who was not expected to play, and 10 more from Marcelinho Huertas. Khimki's better shooting and 26-33 rebounding edge made the difference in the end and set up a do-or-die match between them in two weeks.
Khimki looked inside early to Robertas Javtokas for a pair of power baskets, but a three-pointer by Carl English still put Caja Laboral ahead briefly at 7-6. Javtokas tied it 7-7 at the foul line before the game's first scoring lull. It didn't last, as Huertas found Eliyahu cutting for a nice basket. Lopez broke through for Khimki with a turnaround fadeway in the lane, then after a timeout, McCarty inside and Timofey Mozgov with a tip-in put the visitors in front 10-13. McCarty made good on 2 free throws to up the difference, but Stanko Barac got a basket back for Caja Laboral. McCarty stayed hot on a stop-and-pop jumper and a post-up bank shot to make it 12-19. Caja Laboral's frustration showed when Fernando San Emeterio was whistled for an offensive foul and a technical. Cabezas downed the free throws, and although Javtokas missed both of his, McCarty came back with a swish from the arc to double Caja Laboral on the scoreboard, 12-24. Huertas lifted the hosts' spirits with 4 points at the finish, but Khimki held on for a 16-26 lead after 10 minutes.
Langford let Khimki match its high lead with a jumper to open the second quarter, but consecutive inside baskets by Brad Oleson and Teletovic prompted a Khimki timeout. English got to the basket, too, cutting the difference to 22-28. Both teams played pinball for awhile before Lopez downed a short jumper and Walter Herrmann a put-back before McCarty reappeared at the arc with all the confidence in the world, drilling a triple to make it 24-33. Splitter, after missing a game, got his first points at the foul line, but Langford did the same. Pau Ribas downed a jumper and Splitter got back to the line, making 2 more, to cut the difference now to 30-35. Lopez again stepped up for Khimki, this time swishing a triple, but Eliyahu answered banking in from close and blocking a shot. When Caja Laboral missed a three, however, Lopez fired again from long range to punish the hosts and dished to Petr Gubanov for another, restoring the double-digit Khimki lead, 34-44. Ribas answered before the buzzer and the teams went to the break with Khimki leading 36-44.
Splitter bounded on the court for an inside basket to open the second half. Paulius Jankunas answered with a triple, but Huertas got loose for a layup and Splitter hit a spinning hook shot as Caja Laboral again lowered the gap to 42-46. Vitaly Fridzon answered first for the guests with a jumper and Javtokas downed his own nifty hook at 42-50. Huertas made another smooth layup, but the answer came bigger again from Khimki. Vitaly Fridzon buried a three-pointer from the corner and McCarty put back an offensive rebound as the lead topped double digits again, 44-55. Splitter drew the fourth foul of Javtokas, but Khimki kept adding to the lead as Lopez found Mozgov for a layup and a steal sent McCarty for another as the difference soared to 44-59. A Caja Laboral timeout served to stall Khimki a bit while Eliyahu scored twice, but Langford was able to match both as Khimki pulled into the final quarter ahead 50-63.
A dunk by Splitter was enough for Khimki boss Sergio Scariolo to take a quick timeout in the fourth quarter, but his team continued to struggle. Eliyahu fed Sean Singletary for a reverse layup, then Splitter made the first of 2 free throws, rebounded the miss and dunked at 57-63. Khimki needed something big and got it from Lopez - who else? - in the form of a long triple that McCarty added to with free throws. Despite a three-pointer from Ribas and a running jumper from Huertas, Langdon scored to keep Khimki up 62-70 going into the final 4 minutes. Eliyahu came up with a hustle basket for the hosts, but consecutive offensive rebounds led to Langford storming the baseline for a two-handed dunk over Teletovic that looked like a back-breaker for Caja Laboral. After a timeout, however, he missed the free throw and Teletovic canned a deep shot at the arc to make it 67-72 going into the last 2 minutes. Now, however, McCarty stood open in the corner and did not miss. Huertas found Splitter for a hook, but Khimki broke the press with a runner by Jankunas. Free throws by Lopez entering the final minute made it 69-79. He added a triple for good measure after that, but the bottom line was: Khimki alone in second place in Group H!
Thursday, February 11, 2010