When Khimki Moscow Region and Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul faced each other in Round 29 of the 30-game Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season in 2017-18, both teams had qualified for the playoffs. However, they still had plenty of goals to fight for. Entering the game, Fenerbahce had a 20-8 record and had secured the homecourt advantage for its playoffs series and could lock up second place in the standings with a win. Khimki ranked sixth with a 16-12 record, one win behind Real Madrid, which was fourth at 17-11. Khimki superstar Alexey Shved had a good chance to make history and he certainly did; he needed just 1 point to become the players with most points scored in a EuroLeague season.
Shved's stellar season
It comes as no surprise that Shved won the 2017-18 Alphonso Ford Top Scoring Trophy. He averaged 21.8 points in 34 games. He had been outstanding all season, establishing the longest streak of games this century with at least 16 points scored by doing so in 29 consecutive games to start the campaign. He finished the season with 740 points, which is still a EuroLeague record. Additionally, Shved set EuroLeague records for three-pointers made (107) and attempted (324) in a season and points scored (36) and three-pointers made (8) in a playoff game. All those records still stand, which speaks wonders about Shved's achievements that season.
Shved entered the game tied with Keith Langford for the most points scored in a EuroLeague season. Langford had scored 609 for UNICS Kazan in the 2016-17 campaign. Shved broke the record with one of his most frequent shots, a catch-and-shoot three-pointer from the top of the key. Ironically, Shved broke the all-time single-season scoring record on an off night for Khimki. Fenerbahce limited its opponents to a season-low 64 points. Shved finished the game with 19 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting and 8 assists, but Fenerbahce won by 9 points. Khimki was struggling with injuries at the time and was without five key players: Tyler Honeycutt, Marko Todorovic, Andrey Zubkov, James Anderson and Dmitry Sokolov.
About the game
Fenerbahce improved to 21-8 and clinched second place in the standings. The Turkish powerhouse was without leading scorer Jan Vesely, but outrebounded Khimki 28-38. Brad Wanamaker led Fenerbahce with 14 points, Nicolo Melli and James Nunnally added 12 and Kostas Sloukas had 11 for the winners. Shved had 12 of his 19 points in the opening 12 minutes. Even with that, Vyacheslav Zaitcev tied the game with a three-pointer, 52-52, late in the third quarter. Sloukas and Ali Muhammed fueled a 3-15 run that gave Fenerbahce full control of the game, 55-67, with over 7 minutes left.
"I believe the turning point was that we contained Shved better in the second half," Melli said after the game. "We didn’t do a good job in the first one, so I think we did a good job in the second one."
What happened next
No player has even been close to Shved's single-season scoring record, but there are plenty of candidates, with Mike James (590 points), Shved himself (557), Shane Larkin (555) and Nikola Mirotic (533) accumulating a lot of points so far this campaign. Khimki went on to play against crosstown rival CSKA Moscow in the playoffs. CSKA prevailed, 3-1, but Shved averaged 24.3 points in that playoff series and made it to the All-EuroLeague Second Team that season. Fenerbahce downed KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in the playoffs and defeated Zalgiris Kaunas in the semifinals to reach the EuroLeague championship game for the third consecutive season. Real Madrid ended up lifting the trophy by downing Fenerbahce 85-80 behind Luka Doncic, who earned 2018 Final Four MVP honors.