Khimki Evens Series In Kazan Shootout

Khimki Evens Series In Kazan Shootout

Khimki Moscow Region defeated UNICS Kazan on the road in Game 2 of the playoff semifinals, 103-98 (21-23, 27-24, 31-25, 24-26).

Top scorers
UNICS: Errick McCollum (23 + 8 ast), Jamar Smith (20 + 6 reb + 6 ast), Melvin Ejim (18), Raymar Morgan (16)

Khimki: Alexey Shved (25 + 10 ast), Andrey Zubkov (14), Jordan Mickey (13 + 5 reb), Malcolm Thomas (13 + 5 reb), Tony Crocker (12 + 5 ast)

Like Game 1, Khimki jumped out to an early lead, but Kazan’s perimeter snipers Melvin Ejim and Evgeny Kolesnikov combined for a 9-3 run, giving their team the momentum. UNICS finished the first quarter with five 3-pointers.

The visitors answered early in the second quarter with 3-pointers from Charles Jenkins and Alexey Shved. Shved went on to score 11 of Khimki’s 27 points in the period, giving Moscow Region a slim 48-47 advantage at halftime.

UNICS got eight points from center Raymar Morgan at the start of the second half. UNICS, however, was unable to catch Khimki, which enjoyed solid production from backup Andrey Zubkov. The Tatar club did briefly tie the score at 66-66, but another Shved triple led to a 13-6 run for the visitors who coasted into the final quarter with a 79-72 lead. 

Turning point
UNICS got off to a strong start in the fourth behind a 3-pointer from Jamar Smith. But the Shved-Zubkov combo had the answer again, as Shved found Zubkov for a string of field goals. Khimki went up by double digits, 92-82, for the first time on another Zubkov three. 

Kazan’s Errick McCollum helped the home team mount a desperate comeback, slicing the deficit to two, 98-96, with a minute to play. Forced to foul, UNICS sent Shved to the line, who sank both freebies, giving Khimki 100 points and ultimately the win. 

13-21 – Kazan shot 61.9% from beyond the arc, but still failed to win. Khimki, for its part, shot a respectable 12-30 (40%) from downtown. 

Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis: “The scenario for today’s game was similar to the first game. We controlled the entire game, but couldn’t ensure the result in the first game, whereas today we came out on top. I’ve said many times that UNICS is a serious team that knows how to compete and knows exactly what it wants.” 

UNICS head coach Dimitris Priftis: “This was a tough game, like the previous one. Congratulations to Khimki on the win. It’s obvious we need to find a way to stop giving Khimki 100 points. It’s not important whether or not we won. Of course, against this team it’s very difficult to play defense because they have threats on every side. It’s very tough to defend their open shots because all five players can shoot. Plus, Shved can hit from anywhere. It’s really important for us to find a way to defend them and not let them score much.”