Khimki defeated Zenit at home in Game 3 of the playoff semifinals, 97-73 (30-21, 26-25, 24-12, 17-15).
Khimki: Alexey Shved (22), E.J. Rowland (17), Marko Todorovic (15+9 reb)
Zenit: Sergey Karasev (14), Stefan Markovic (11+7 reb+5 ast), Anton Pushkov (6+6 reb)
The first half had a lot of similarities to Games 1 and 2. An aggressive Alexey Shved (13 points, four assists) helped Khimki take the lead. Zenit struggled to get going (4-15 from beyond the arc, 10 turnovers), but only trailed by five points with 1:16 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
This time, however, Khimki took the momentum into the locker room, with Sergey Monia drilling a 3-pointer and Markel Brown scoring on a tough putback. 56-46 at halftime.
Shved was named the regular season MVP at halftime and stayed hot, knocking down a ‘3’ to start the second half. Together with Marko Todorovic and E.J. Rowland, the Russian guard guided Moscow Region to victory in a must-win Game 3. Khimki completely controlled the tempo, scoring on fast breaks, set plays and at the free-throw line, while neutralizing the Blue-White-Sky Blues’ offense.
Moscow Region enjoyed a 24-12 edge in the 3rd quarter to lead by 22 points and cruised in the 4th quarter behind an all-Russian lineup of Zaitcev, Likhodei, Sokolov, Ilnitsky and Vyaltsev.
After consecutive setbacks in St. Petersburg, Khimki keeps its hopes alive in Game 3 and looks to force a decisive Game 5 on Thursday.
Alexey Shved. The MVP proved his value to Khimki, scoring a game-high 22 points on 7-13 shooting to go with four assists.
11 – Khimki’s advantage in points scored off turnovers.
Khimki head coach Dusko Ivanovic:
– Today, we did what we were supposed to do. We won and will get ready for Game 4. We looked good on offense, but need to get better on defense. There are a lot of areas where we need to improve to get past Zenit, but especially on defense. We need to play with more patience and focus.
Zenit head coach Vasily Karasev:
– We knew it would be a serious game and that Khimki would be motivated, because they play much better at home. From the opening minutes, we didn’t get the job done on defense, not so much on Alexey Shved as E.J. Rowland. Our three-point percentage was awful. It’s tough to win without hitting shots. We also had trouble with the rotation, since Trevor Mbakwe is sick and we’re without Demonte Harper. In the 4th quarter, we started to preserve our energy. Overall, Khimki just wanted to win more.
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) May 30, 2017
June 1 in Khimki