02november

Berzins, Nizhny Stun Khimki

Nizhny Novgorod shocked Khimki at home on Monday, 93-92. Forced to play catch-up most of the game, Nizhny needed a miracle in the final seconds of game. Kaspars Berzins delivered, knocking down a '3' to give the home team the win.

Intro
The final game of Week Six featured two of the league's top teams. Coming off deep playoff runs last spring, both Khimki and Nizhny Novgorod had started the season 4-1.

The home team took an early lead, but Tyrese Rice and Petteri Koponen helped Khimki claw back and grab a two-point advantage, 18-16, at the end of 10 minutes.

The 2nd quarter was all Khimki. Alexey Shved, who finished with a team-high 25 points, led the charge for Moscow Region, giving the visitors a 44-30 lead late in the period. Nizhny cut the lead to 11 points by halftime, helped by a vicious dunk from Viktor Rudd, but the stats didn't look pretty entering the break. Nizhny committed 11 turnovers in the first half compared to three from Khimki and gave up 50% from downtown.

The 3rd quarter, however, belonged to Nizhny's Kaspars Berzins. The Latvian forward did his scoring in triples, both from the perimeter and via the traditional three-point play. Berzins also contributed on defense, helping the home team cut the deficit to two points before a Shved '3' at the buzzer made it 72-67 entering the 4th quarter.

Shved stayed hot in the final period, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first 3:18 to put Khimki on top, 83-72.

Turning Point
Nizhny refused to fold, holding the visitors to two points over the next four and a half minutes to tie the game at 85-85. Shved put Khimki back on top with another three ball, while Tyrese Rice added two more points to make it 90-85 with 59 seconds left on the clock.

After Berzins knocked down a jumper, Rice turned the ball over and fouled Semen Antonov to send the big man to the line. Antonov converted both free throws, making it a one-point game.

On the following possession, Shved was intentionally fouled. Clutch all game, the Russian guard made both.

With 18 seconds remaining, Khimki decided to foul. Maxim Grigoryev was sent to the line, but could only convert one of two, giving Khimki the ball and a two-point lead.

That's when disaster struck for the visitors. Rice got trapped bringing the ball up the court and Dmitry Khvostov stole the ball and tossed it to Berzins.

The Latvian forward took full advantage, draining a '3' to put Nizhny on top, 93-92, with 13 seconds to play!

Still with a chance to tie or win, Khimki came up empty, allowing Nizhny to complete the miracle comeback and secure back-to-back wins over CSKA and Khimki!

Star of the Game
Kaspars Berzins. He sparked Nizhny's second-half comeback and hit the game-winner in the final seconds.

Stat of the Game
26-25 - Berzins and Shved went back and forth all night with the Latvian big man finishing one point ahead of Shved.

Quotes
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Ainars Bagatskis:
- Based on the quality of our play in the first half, we should have lost by 20 today. We weren't aggressive enough against the pick-and-roll, we let them score under the basket, we lost the rebounding battle and committed 11 turnovers. But the amusing thing is that we were still in the game. During the second half, we started switching more on pick-and-rolls, which complicated things for our opponent. We got lucky at the end, but that's part of the job. At the same time, we threw different defenses at Rice. Congratulations to everyone on the win!

Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:
- I want to congratulate Ainars. This is his second win over a big team this season. I want to point out Nizhny's attitude. It's clear that that the team doesn't just compete, it also comes out to win. That type of attitude leads to wins. We stopped controlling the game in the 3rd quarter. During the first half, we had two turnovers. We had nine in the second. In the end, one of them was fatal and we lost in the final seconds.

Stats

Snapshot

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