Asseco Prokom topped Khimki 71-67
Asseco Prokom Gdynia registered its first win in Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group A by edging BC Khimki Moscow Region 71-67 in Poland on Wednesday. Asseco Prokom broke its five-game losing streak in this Euroleague season and improved to 1-5. Khimki dropped to 2-4 and needs to bounce back right away to keep its Top 16 options alive. Ratko Varda led the winners and became the game hero by scoring 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, leading Prokom to a big home win. Daniel Ewing added 13 while Filip Videnov had 12 for Prokom. Keith Langford had 17 points for Khimki while Sergey Monya added 14. Monya had 11 points in the first half to give Khimki a 32-36 edge at the break. The game stayed close in the second half, as Benjamin Eze kept the guests within 63-60 with 3 minutes left. Varda had 6 points - including a big triple - in crunch time to seal the outcome down the stretch, as Khimki never recovered.
Ronnie Burrell got Prokom going with a high-flying tip-in but Raul Lopez answered from downtown for a 2-3 Khimki lead. The guests used a dynamic starting lineup with Monya and Vadim Panin opening the floor at both forwards. Bobby Brown buried a four-meter jumper, as Khimki struggled to find open looks early in the game. Monya beat the shot clock with a six-meter shot that Brown matched with free throws for a 6-5 Prokom lead. Eze split free throws but Khimki improved its defense with a taller lineup by bringing Zoran Planinic and Aleksey Savrasenko on court now. Savrasenko made free throws and Langford soon gave Khimki a 6-10 lead. Prokom had been scoreless for more than 3 minutes and Langford sank a jumper in transition to make Prokom call timeout at 6-12, after a 0-7 run. Ewing tried to change things with a big basket and Jan Jagla added a fast break layup for a 10-12 Prokom deficit. An acrobatic layup by Daniel Ewing tied it at 12-12 after 10 minutes.
Ewing capped a 9-0 Prokom run with a wild layup-plus-foul early in the second quarter. Kreso Loncar found Savrasenko for an easy basket and added a jump hook to tie the game at 16-16. Videnov and Jagla struck from downtown, as Khimki tried to improve its offense with Langford and a recovered Thomas Kelati together on court. Monya buried a corner triple off a timeout and Kelati added a jumper but J.R. Giddens joined the three-point shootout for a 25-21 Prokom margin. Loncar buried his trademark mid-range jumper and followed Langford's free throws with a great spin move in the low post to tie it at 27-27. Courtney Eldridge sank foul shots and soon added a three-pointer to put Prokom back ahead, 32-27. Langford found Monya for an open shot from downtown and Lopez copied him soon after that - from the same exact spot - to put Khimki back ahead, 32-33. A red hot Monya buried his third three-pointer to boost the guests' lead to 32-36 at halftime.
Eldridge took over with a driving layup right after the break, as Prokom tried to slow game the game tempo looking for better options in offense. JR Giddens took over with a floating layup in transition that tied it at 36-36. Langford stepped up with a driving layup and Savrasenko scored around the basket to give the guests some fresh air at 36-40. Adam Lapeta found space for an easy layup that Langford bettered with a catch-and-shoot three-pointer. Brown scored in penetration and Ewing copied him right after that to make it a one-point game, 42-43. Vitaliy Fridzon sank a floating jumper and Lopez split free throws to keep Khimki out of trouble, 42-46. Videnov scored in transition and a five-meter jumper by Adam Hrycaniuk tied the game again, 46-46. Planinic had briefly left the game due to a hand injury and a driving layup by Videnov gave Prokom its first lead in this half, 48-46. An off-balance basket by Fridzon fixed the score at 48-48 after 30 minutes.
Loncar nailed a five-meter shot early in the fourth quarter that Varda bettered with 4-of-4 free throws. The game had turned into a physical battle and Khimki struggled to score against the hosts' aggressive defense. Meanwhile, foul shots by Ewing and a power basket by Varda made it a six-point game, 56-50, with 7 minutes left. A huge dunk by Brown soon forced Khimki to call timeout at 58-50. The guests improved their aggressivity at both end and free throws by Fridzon, Eze and Langford brought Khimki back to life, 58-56. Ewing did not miss from the foul line either but Eze shined with a layup off a steal for a 60-58 Khimki deficit. Videnov buried a triple but a jumper by Eze kept Khimki within 63-60. Varda sent the crowd to their feet with a seven-meter bomb and soon split free throws but Langford singlehandedly kept Khimki within 67-64 with a minute left. Varda - who else? - scored again, Monya missed from downtown and free throws by Videnov allowed all Prokom fans to celebrate their team's first Euroleague win this season.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010