«Khimki» Khimki, Russia vs. «PGE Turow» Zgorzelec, Poland
Only Khimki, only victory!
In Week 11 of the regular season, Russian Khimki rolled to a 91-72 win at home over Polish Turow. The visitors valiantly held back the Moscow Region team’s onslaught in the first half, but Khimki would not be stopped in the second. The Yellow and Blue unleashed a barrage of the three-pointers to take a healthy lead and waltzed to victory from there.
The news came out a few days ago that Khimki’s players might go on strike because they haven’t been paid in three months. One of the most interesting teams in Russia, and all of Europe, might cease to exist in the near future in the form we know it now.
According to the press, Khimki’s financial problems arose after they changed presidents. According to the Yellow and Blue’s captain, Vitaliy Fridzon, Khimki has a very friendly group of players this year, who would like to continue what they’ve begun, despite the financial difficulties. No one can doubt his words: the Moscow Region club has proven them to be true again and again. However, the club’s management is not communicating with the players or making any official announcements.
After the game with the Poles, the Khimki players will hold a team meeting, where they’ll decide what to do next. It’s clear that if changes don’t happen in the near future, the Moscow Region club’s players will stop practicing and playing games. It’s known that Khimki’s leaders are already searching for openings on other teams.
As if to confirm their captain’s words that the financial situation would not affect their game, the Khimki squad came out motivated and challenged their opponent’s defense from the beginning. The cheers of “Only Khimki, only victory!” rang through the arena, only adding to the home team’s energy.
Rimas Kurtinaitis decided to open up the visitors’ defense via the paint. He guessed right: Alexey Zhukanenko quickly asserted his physical size, scoring six points down low. The visitors went to a zone, which stopped the Yellow and Blue’s run for a time, but not for long. Sergey Monya and Kresimir Loncar from off the bench kept the pressure on the Polish defenders. At a certain point, Khimki’s lead grew to double digits, but to their credit, Turow did not buckle and pulled back within reach thanks to some 3-pointers. Khimki led 22-16 after the first quarter.
With Vitaliy Fridzon and Kelvin Rivers on the floor, the team predictably shifted to a perimeter-oriented offense. For their part, the Poles wisely used Khimki’s enthusiasm to their advantage, earning 10 trips to the free throw line in the second quarter. The teams’ scoring duel ended in a tie, as the score changed little in the second period – 41-34 in favor of Khimki.
After the break, Petteri Koponen took Egor Vyaltsev’s spot in the starting lineup. Kurtinaitis got that one right, too. Monya opened the quarter with a 3-pointer, then the Finnish guard took over. Petteri’s three-point bomb and midrange jumper stretched Khimki’s run to eight points. The home team’s advantage reached 15 points and after Miodrag Rajkovic’s timeout Koponen’s emboldened, relentless teammates continued to blast their opponent. There was no more debate over who would win.
Despite difficult circumstances, Khimki secured a confident win, 91-72. Hopefully this wasn’t the Moscow Region squad’s last performance.
Star of the Game
Alexey Zhukanenko. The powerful center’s convincing play symbolized the resolve with which Khimki’s players took to the court today. The visitors could not stop Zhukanenko, who recorded 16 points and seven rebounds.
Stat of the Game
30-10. The power and strength of their big men, their accurate shooters…The third rock on which today’s victory stands is Khimki’s quality ball movement. The team recorded 30 assists, three times more than their opponent.
Khimki: Alexey Zhukanenko – 16 points, seven rebounds.
Turow: Damian Kulig – 10 points, five rebounds.