«Spartak» St. Petersburg, Russia vs. «Khimki» Khimki, Russia
Spartak on top, Khimki suffers first loss
In week four of the regular season, Spartak St. Petersburg proved stronger than Moscow region's Khimki at home, 74-69. Both teams fought until the final horn, but fortune smiled on the home team at the end, giving them their fourth straight victory in the still-young season.
The home team paid little attention to its perimeter shooters, looking to go through the paint from the beginning. Vladimir Dragicevic played well, scoring 6 points early on. Khimki, on the other hand, initially looked to the perimeter. Rimas Kurtinaitis's men tried to move the ball and find open looks from beyond the arc, but they soon followed Spartak's example and concentrated on the paint. Khimki won the first quarter, 20-17.
In the second quarter, thanks to Nikita Kurbanov and Dragicevic, the home team dominated the boards (23-14) and went into halftime with a 4-point lead. Silly turnovers and ill-advised attempts to catch up via the three-point line only hampered Khimki in the third quarter and they went in the final period trailing by 7.
After a field goal from Dmitriy Khvostov, Spartak's lead dropped to 6 points and Khvostov's teammates gained confidence in themselves, though it would ultimately prove inadequate. Spartak scored 9 unanswered points and caused some fans to head for the exits – the scoreboard showed 62-47, only 5 minutes left to play.
Rimas Kurtinaitis was forced to go for broke with his heavy artillery. Kelvin Rivers and Zoran Planinic combined for 4 three-pointers in a row. With 20 seconds to play, Sergey Monya, from 2 meters beyond the arc, hit an extremely difficult shot, but the referee waived it off, judging that the shot had been released a tick after the shot-clock expired. His decision proved decisive. Spartak won, 74-69, and claimed sole control of first place in Group A.
Vladimir Dragicevic. The Montenegrin forward started the game brilliantly, sealing off the paint to the opposition en route to playing his best game of the season. His 80% field-goal percentage helped him lead all players in scoring, with 20 points. Dragicevic also shared top honors for rebounding with Nikita Kurbanov, each with 9 boards.
Stat of the game
23.8 – Spartak’s three-point field-goal percentage, though it didn’t stop them from winning the game.
Photo of the match
Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:
- Congratulations to Spartak and to coach Zdovc on their excellent play. The red and white led the entire game and were better overall. I’m only happy about the last 5 minutes of the game. We continue to struggle with rebounding. I don’t have any problems with the officiating; they didn’t play a role in our loss.
Spartak: Vladimir Dragicevic – 20 points, 9 rebounds.
Khimki: Kelvin Rivers – 16 points (57% from beyond the arc).
Highlights. Spartak - Khimki