Crvena Zvezda romps past Khimki
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade romped past Khimki Moscow Region 90-78 in an impressive showing at both ends of the floor on Thursday night at Aleksandar Nikolic Arena in the Serbian capital. Borisa Simanic scored a career-high 18 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting to lead the winners, who improved to 2-4 on the season. Billy Baron shot 3 for 4 from behind the arc en route to a season-best 17 points, Stratos Perperoglou also made 3 triples and scored 15, James Gist added 12 points and Lorenzo Brown tallied 10 points and 7 assists. Alexey Shved paced Khimki with 14 points, Devin Booker added 14 points and Anthony Gill posted 11 points and 11 rebounds in defeat. Zvezda never trailed in the game after opening it with the first 8 points. The big blow was a 14-0 third-quarter run and the lead eventually reached 27 in the fourth before Khimki rallied late to lower the deficit.
Just 2 minutes into the game, Zvezda's Branko Lazic and Khimki's Janis Timma were involved in a scuffle that resulted in the former being ejected and the latter assessed an unsportsmanlike foul. Simanic gave the crowd what to cheer about with a pair of three-pointers and a layup in an 8-0 start. After a timeout, Booker broke the ice for the visitors with a three-pointer. The pace picked up with the teams scoring on five consecutive possessions at one point. Baron’s basket-plus-foul made it 15-7 after 5 minutes. Ognjen Kuzmic and Simanic each scored on the offensive glass to create a double-digit margin, 19-9. Booker and Shved closed the gap before Vyacheslav Zaytsev's steal and layup made it 23-22. A three by Perperoglou boosted the Zvezda advantage to 28-22 after 10 minutes. Perperoglou remained hot with a long jumper and a three-pointer on either side of a Khimki timeout followed by a bucket inside to give the hosts a 42-28 lead. A three-point lead extended the difference to 16 before Khimki regained its form and closed to 46-36 with a three by Timma. Booker further trimmed the deficit before Michael Ojo's free throw made it 50-41 at the break. Dairis Bertans connected on a four-point play to start the second half, however, Baron knocked down a pair of triples and Lorenzo Brown had a pair of assists and a layup during a 14-0 run that took the Zvezda lead to 66-47. Perperoglou's third three of the night took the margin to 20 and Simanic's fourth made it 75-52. Zvezda continued piling it on, with the score reaching 80-56 after three quarters and peaking at a 27-point margin early in the fourth. Khimki never threw in the towel and Zaytsev and Jonas Jerebko led the visitors on a run of 14 unanswered points to get within 83-70. Lorenzo Brown stopped the bleeding for Zvezda and allowed his team to secure the victory.
Khimki made its move early in the third quarter when it cut the lead to 5. One might think that would be when Zvezda felt the pressure, but Billy Baron, Charles Jenkins and Lorenzo Brown surely didn't. Brown fed Baron for a pair of threes that ignited a 14-0 run that blew the game open at 66-47. Baron had 8 points, an assist and a steal; Brown scored a layup and dished 2 assists and Jenkins had a basket, an assist and a steal in that decisive run.
Highs and lows
The Serbian champs scored a season-high 90 points and Borisa Simanic set career-highs with 18 points and performance index rating of 17. Billy Baron's 17 were also a personal best in Europe's premier competition as were Lorenzo Brown's 7 assists. For Khimki, the 78 points scored were a season-low. Alexey Shved's 14 points were a season-low, too, and his 0-for-6 three-point shooting ended a run of 39 consecutive EuroLeague games with a three-pointer made.
An ovation for Jovic
Before the game, Stefan Jovic received a standing ovation from the fans and was presented with a replica of the No. 24 jersey he wore during his three seasons as a Zvezda player between 2014 and 2017. He led Zvezda to one of its greatest periods with three consecutive Adriatic and Serban League crowns plus a pair of Serbian Cups.
Zvezda will mark the second of three consecutive home games on Thursday, November 7 when it hosts Real Madrid.
Thursday, October 31, 2019