Zenit defeated Khimki at home in Game 2 of the playoff semifinals, 92-89 (18-28, 22-21, 25-19, 27-21).
Zenit: Ryan Toolson (24+6 ast), Sergey Karasev (21+8 ast), Janis Timma (13), Stefan Markovic (11+10 ast)
Khimki: Alexey Shved (23+12 ast), Marko Todorovic (22+6 reb), E.J. Rowland (14)
Leading by as much as 16 midway through the 2nd quarter, visiting Khimki had an excellent chance to steal home-court advantage in Game 2 of the semifinals.
Alexey Shved’s 3-pointer with less than three minutes remaining put Moscow Region on top by four, 84-80.
But a two-and-a-half minute scoring drought allowed Zenit to go on a 9-0 run and close out a huge Game 2 victory.
Ryan Toolson and Sergey Karasev led the way for the home team, scoring a team-high 24 and 21 points, respectively. Karasev’s driving layup tied the game at 84-84, while Toolson drained the go-ahead jumper and converted twice at the free-throw line in the final seconds to secure victory.
Early on, it looked like Khimki might boatrace Zenit and restore equilibrium in the series. Shved knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first five minutes as Dusko Ivanovic’s men stormed to an 18-4 lead.
Two 3-pointers from Viacheslav Zaitcev, meanwhile, stretched Khimki’s edge to a game-high 16, 38-22, midway through the 2nd.
Zenit, however, was able to pull within nine at halftime on Stefan Markovic’s 3-pointer and never trailed by more than 10 points the rest of the way.
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Alexey Shved, despite a team-high 23 points to go with 12 assists, struggled to get going in the second half, shooting 2-13 over the final 20 minutes.
With the victory, Zenit takes a 2-0 lead in the series. Khimki faces a must-win on Tuesday in Game 3, hoping to stay alive at home and force a return to St. Petersburg for Game 5.
63 – Vasily Karasev decided to bring Sergey Karasev and Ryan Toolson off the bench, and the duo delivered, helping Zenit’s reserves score an astounding 63 points.
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Zenit head coach Vasily Karasev:
– I want to thank the fans who came to the game and supported us throughout the contest. They helped us squeeze out a very tough game. We managed to win thanks to our work and that’s the most important thing.
Khimki head coach Dusko Ivanovic:
– We lost two games on the road, but now the series starts over and we’re ready to play two games at home. I believe in my team. We can win two and three games in a row. Shved’s fatigue? Everyone’s in the same position. On the court, no one thinks about fatigue, only winning. He’ll also be ready for the next game.
Tuesday, May 30 in Khimki