Shved - Teodosic Clash In Game Of The Week

Khimki Moscow Region hosts CSKA Moscow in the Game of the Week.

Khimki, 2014-15 VTB United League runners-up, 2014-15 Eurocup champions
CSKA, 2014-15 VTB United League champions

BCMO (capacity 4,000), Khimki, Russia

7:00 PM (7:00 PM MSK), February 8, 2016

Match TV, Match! Nash sport, United League TV

Face To Face
CSKA and Khimki have played 85 times with the Army Men holding a 68-17 series advantage. While the rivalry stretches back more than a decade, CSKA and Khimki have met often in the VTB United League, including several games that became instant classics. The regular-season meeting in 2014-15 was one such encounter. Playing at home, Khimki knocked off CSKA thanks to a Tyrese Rice '3' with one second to play (107-104).

But that was Khimki's lone success vs. the Army Men last season. CSKA took care of business in the first regular-season meeting, 78-60, then cruised against Rimas Kurtinaitis's club in the playoff finals. Hamstrung by a weakened frontcourt, Moscow Region lost three straight to CSKA and missed out on a chance to win its 2nd VTB United League title.

CSKA and Khimki have already met twice this season. Dimitris Itoudis's club seized control early in the first VTB United League encounter. Despite a late Khimki comeback, CSKA was able to hold on for a 100-93 win. Moscow Region got its revenge in the Euroleague Top 16. The game went down to the wire with Alexey Shved drilling the game-winner with one second on the clock (91-89).

Looking Back

As the regular season approaches the home stretch, CSKA and Khimki are in excellent position to earn top seeds in the postseason and make a run at another championship. The Army Men have started the season 18-1 and enjoy a two-game lead over UNICS. Khimki, meanwhile, is 14-3, only three games back in 3rd place. CSKA also boasts a 15-game winning streak, three shy of Khimki's league record 18-game streak from the 2013-14 season. Rimas Kurtinaitis, who recently became the first coach to 100 VTB United League wins, would love for his team to protect its record by beating CSKA and inject some intrigue into the race for the #1 seed. CSKA, of course, could open up a four-game lead on its rival with a victory and further solidify its spot atop the standings.

These two teams will meet again on February 26 in the Euroleague Top 16. Games between CSKA and Khimki rarely fail to live up to expectations. Fans can only hope that these clubs will also meet once more in the postseason.

Khimki has four ex-CSKA players on its roster: Sergey Monia, Egor Vyaltsev, Alexey Shved and Dmitry Sokolov. Sokolov, by the way, has been a solid mid-season addition and impacted Khimki's win over CSKA in the Euroleague. CSKA, meanwhile, is getting excellent minutes from ex-Khimki captain Vitaly Fridzon, named the league's top Russian player in January.

Can Khimki slow down CSKA in the 1st quarter?

In the past, CSKA has often had success seizing control of games vs. Khimki in the opening period. That's what happened last season in the playoff finals. CSKA took a 17-point 1st-quarter lead in Game 1 and set the tone for the rest of the series. The first meeting this season in the VTB United League was similar as the Army Men picked up a double-double advantage. If the game is close in the final seconds, however, Khimki often comes out on top. Buzzer-beaters from James Augustine and Tyrese Rice immediately spring to mind. For that reason, CSKA would love to deal a knockout punch early in this one.

Alexey Shved (Khimki) vs. Milos Teodosic (CSKA).

Teodosic was one of the stars in CSKA's win over Khimki in the fall, while Shved struggled to make an impact in his Khimki debut. He made amends, however, in the Euroleague clash, going off for 28 points and five assists, including the game-winning shot. Now these two European superstars meet again face-to-face. Shved has been phenomenal in recent months after a slow start and is a big reason for Khimki's Euroleague success this season. Of course, Teodosic's next-level playmaking is the perfect foil to Shved's frenetic approach. These two guards are easily among Europe's top-10, making Monday's showdown must-see TV.

Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:
- We got back from Greece on Saturday evening. We watched tape of the Olympiacos game at practice on Sunday morning so we wouldn't make the same mistakes. We are preparing for CSKA according to plan. We know how the Army Men play. Competing on the road or at home doesn't make a difference to them. They play well anywhere. With De Colo and Vorontsevich's return, they are even stronger. But we always make it interesting and we'll try to battle again this time, especially since we are playing at home and will have the psychological advantage.

CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
- Khimki is one of our biggest rivals. They have a very good team this year. We respect them. We have played two games already and we will play even more this season, both in the Euroleague and VTB League. It is important to stay concentrated, to fight and play physical for all 40 minutes. This is a big game and I know that all of Europe is waiting for it as it will be broadcast in many countries. Talking about the game, I surely could go into details. But this game is not only about Xs and Os, it is more about personalities and mental capabilities of the players. We have such players on our team and expect them to show their qualities.

- I expect a serious battle. No one's going to get outclassed, - says Seoul Olympics champion, Sergei Tarakanov. - Given past history between these two teams, this game means extra to Moscow Region. I like how the top 4-5 teams in the VTB United League can all beat each other, while the games between CSKA and Khimki are the league's best advertisement. The Army Men are playing well and nearly everyone is healthy (Korobkov is the only player missing), which is why they will be slightly favored. But Khimki will be energized and desperately wants to win. They also have experience beating CSKA and will be at home. I expect an extremely interesting game.