Three-point shooting propels Real past Khimki
Real Madrid earned its first victory of the season by topping undermanned Khimki Moscow Region 94-85 in the Spanish capital. The early exchanges were closely fought but Real raced ahead through a flurry of three-pointers before the interval and kept control in the second half. The hosts improved to 1-2, while Khimki is still looking for its first win of the season. Sergio Llull masterminded the triumph with 21 points on 7-of-9 field goal shooting, with backcourt teammate Nico Laprovittola making 5 of his 7 three-point attempts in a total of 19 points. Trey Thompkins scored 18 points and Facu Campazzo dished 8 assists for the winning team. Devin Booker led Khimki’s challenge with 22 points and Vyacheslav Zaytsev scored 21 with 9 assists. Jonas Jerebko added 18 points and 9 rebounds and young Vladislav Odinokov scored 11.
The early stages were closely contested, with Llull scoring Real’s first 7 points, but Zaystev equalling that and Jerebko also scoring twice for a 7-13 Khimki lead. Alberto Abalde struck from deep, Llull netted again and Walter Tavares gave Real its first lead, 14-13, but that didn’t last long as Odinokov and Zaytsev kept Khimki ahead. Llull scored 4 more points and Jeffery Taylor hit a corner triple to make the lead change hands. Sergey Monia and Odinokov were also on target from deep and it was 25-25 after ten minutes. Llull and Thompkins knocked down threes, but Booker and Odinokov also drained triples to keep Khimki level, 33-33. Laprovittola joined the three-point party with a trio of triples, with Egor Vialtsev also striking from the corner. Laprovittola hit his fourth triple of the quarter and Rudy Fernandez added yet another – Real’s 10th of the half – to make it 49-41 at the break.
Tavares opened the second half with a trio of buckets including a three-point play. A rainbow three from Llull made it 62-47. Jerebko scored three baskets in a hurry to keep Khimki hoping before a quiet passage of scoring was ended by a triple from Thompkins. It was 70-57 with 10 minutes remaining. Booker scored three times early in the fourth quarter to keep Khimki alive, but Thompkins also scored a couple of buckets and Jaycee Carroll entered the action to strike from deep. It was 81-69 with 5 minutes remaining. Zaytsev scored a couple of times in penetration, but Thompkins converted a pair of bullet passes from Laprovittola to maintain a safe distance. Carroll and Laprovittola knocked down another couple of triples and Thompkins netted two more baskets to eradicate any doubt over the outcome despite a late flurry from Zaytsev.
Foul trouble hinders Khimki
With just eight players on the roster, the last thing Khimki needed was early foul trouble but that’s exactly what happened as Egor Vialtysev picked up 3 fouls in the first quarter and another midway through the second. Vyacheslav Zaytsev also reached 4 fouls early in the third quarter and youngster Vladislav Odinokov fouled out midway through the fourth. That all led to 21-year-old debutant Ivan Evstigneev spending 20 minutes on the floor.
Laprovittola makes the difference
The game was level at 33-33 midway through the second quarter, but that’s when Nico Laprovittola took matters into his own hands by draining 4 three-pointers in the space of 3 minutes. That proved to be the key turning point as Khimki never led again.
Argentine assists battle
In addition to knocking down those triples, Laprovittola also enjoyed an all-Argentine assists battle with his backcourt mate Facu Campazzo. They ended up with 7 and 8 respectively, accounting for the majority of the team total of 23.
Real’s big night from deep
Laprovittola wasn’t the only one in fine form from long range as Real finished the game converting 17 of 34 three-point attempts – the joint second-highest in club history. Laprovittola led the way by nailing 5 of his 7 attempts and there were also multiple triples from Sergio Llull, Trey Thompkins, Jeffery Taylor, Jaycee Carroll and Alberto Abalde .
Real will look for its second win of the season when it travels to AX Armani Exchange Milan on Friday. Khimki stays in Spain to face TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz the same evening.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020