Khimki defeated Nizhny Novgorod on the road, 99-90 (20-22, 31-27, 20-20, 28-21).
Nizhny Novgorod: Kenny Boynton (27+5 reb+8 ast), Dijon Thompson (19+9 reb+6 ast), Siim-Sander Vene (17), Tomislav Zubcic (13)
Khimki: Alexey Shved (32+6 reb+5 ast+3 stl), E.J. Rowland (20+8 reb+8 ast+3 stl), Marko Todorovic (15+8 reb), Jacob Pullen (15)
Nizhny Novgorod was looking for a win to keep the pressure on 8th-place Astana, after the Kazakhs lost earlier today in Krasnoyarsk.
Khimki, meanwhile, needed a win to prevent Lokomotiv from gaining ground on 3rd place and stay in the hunt for a top-two seed in the postseason.
The home team led by a possession most of the 1st quarter behind Kenny Boynton’s 12 points.
The 2nd quarter was even more competitive, featuring an astonishing 10 lead changes as Khimki squeaked into halftime with a two-point lead, 51-49.
The two teams kept trading baskets in the 3rd quarter. The period ended with Dijon Thompson and E.J. Rowland drilling 3-pointers, with the visitors retaining a two-point margin.
Khimki gradually took control in the 4th, leading by as much as nine, 85-76, with less than five minutes remaining.
But Nizhny kept fighting, surging within two points on a bizarre seven-point possession. Thompson scored the first two on a jumper. After Marko Todorovic was whistled for a technical, he drained two free throws, then Siim-Sander Vene drained a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game, 85-83.
Trailing by two, with a chance to cut the lead to one, Tomislav Zubcic missed a huge free throw at the 1:04 mark. Khimki immediately countered with a Sergey Monia ‘3’. On the ensuing possession, Boynton lost the ball and Jacob Pullen went on to convert twice at the line, 97-90.
Nizhny failed to score again, losing 99-90, in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
79% – Khimki shot 79% from inside the arc, the top mark in the League this season and 8th-best in League history.
— VTB United League (@VTBUL) 2 апреля 2017 г.
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Arturs Stalbergs:
– We played a quality game. Prior to the game against Parma, we changed our approach a little on offense. We decided to be more patient, but still scored 90 points. I don’t have any problem with the offense, but our one-on-one defense got shredded again, not for the first time. A few misses under the basket had a big impact, too. That’s why we couldn’t catch up. Unfortunately, once again we failed to take down a strong opponent, though we had every opportunity.
Khimki head coach Dusko Ivanovic:
– This ended up being a very tough game. Nizhny Novgorod plays a little different from other teams. They’ve got players like Gubanov, Zubcic and Vene, who can all play at the four and five position and shoot the ball well. We had a lot of problems on defense. When we switched, we didn’t do a very good job one-on-one. In the end, we won. We’ve got three games remaining and we’re going to battle for 2nd place. Shved had a tough time since he hadn’t practiced in a week. He’s still got pain, but he played well.
Nizhny Novgorod: April 9 vs. Astana
Khimki: April 9 vs. Zenit