Nizhny Novgorod Stuns Khimki On The Road

Nizhny Novgorod defeated Khimki Moscow Region on the road, 82-74. Nizhny's discipline and patience wore down the home team, allowing Ainars Bagatskis's men to lead the entire second half and secure an extremely important road win. Khimki drops to 16-5, while Nizhny improves to 11-9.

Nizhny Novgorod has given Khimki trouble in recent years, splitting the last eight games between the two teams in the VTB United League. Nizhny came out on top in the first meeting this season, winning on a late 3-pointer from Kaspars Berzins. Entering Sunday's contest, Nizhny Novgorod got Victor Rudd and Vladimir Ivlev back from injury, but had to play without Rasid Mahalbasic. Khimki was missing point guard Tyrese Rice.

The score was close in the 1st quarter. Both teams pushed the tempo on offense and looked to score in transition. Khimki proved a bit more successful, leading 22-17 late in the period before Nizhny's Victor Zaryazhko cut the deficit to two, knocking down a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

During the 2nd quarter, Nizhny's smaller lineup was even more aggressive on the offensive end and managed to secure a four-point advantage at halftime. The visitors' defense also deserved credit, holding Khimki to four points over a six-minute stretch.

Nizhny Novgorod kept control in the 3rd quarter. The visitors limited Khimki's opportunities and pushed the lead to 12, 68-56, entering the final period.

The Yellow-Blues failed to pose a serious threat down the stretch. Nizhny's defense finished the game strong, holding Khimki to 18 points in the 4th quarter to preserve an 82-74 win.

Star Player
Dmitry Khvostov. Nizhny Novgorod was terrific all-around on defense, while Khvostov took care of the scoring. The former Khimki guard recorded a game-high 22 points and 10 assists.

Stat of the Game
13 - Khimki's 3-point field-goal percentage. A 3-24 showing from beyond the arc made it difficult for Moscow Region to catch up in the second half.

Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:
- Give credit to Nizhny Novgorod. They traveled to Khimki without a full roster, but were extremely focused. They were disciplined and consistent and controlled the entire game. We expected something to change, but nothing did. Both Nizhny and our team had something to do with that. We weren't aggressive or energetic enough on defense and we were inaccurate on offense. We made a lot of mistakes, not to mention our primary weapon: the 3-point shot. Unfortunately, this isn't our first time to struggle so much. We only hit three of 24 attempts today. It's very tough to win with a percentage like that. It's always tough to play against Nizhny Novgorod, which they've proved time and again. We could have avoided this loss. Some of our players don't have enough pride and want to take it easy. You can't win big games with that type of attitude.

Nizhny Novgorod head coach Ainars Bagatskis:
- Prior to the game, I told my players that Khimki is one of the best up-tempo teams in the VTB League and the Euroleague. Our first and most important challenge was to play smart and disciplined on offense, in order to prevent our opponent from scoring any easy points. We more or less were able to do that at the start of the game. The biggest thing after fast breaks was getting back to play five-on-five. At the same time, in order to beat a team like Khimki, you need a few things to go your way. First of all, we had to give 100% on defense, though sometimes even that's not enough. It was today. Our opponent had open looks, but, luckily for us, they didn't make them. We had a true leader on the court, Khvostov, who got everyone going. Everyone on the court did their job well. We're happy for this win, but it's already in the past and there's no euphoria from it.