VTB United League
CSKA Moscow defeated Khimki Moscow Region on the road, 96-81 (21-27, 29-16, 22-25, 24-13).
Khimki: Alexey Shved (21 + 5 ast), Malcom Thomas (13), James Anderson (11), Thomas Robinson (10 + 5 reb), Stefan Markovic (10)
CSKA: Nando De Colo (23 + 5 reb + 9 ast), Nikita Kurbanov (21 + 5 reb), Will Clyburn (14 + 5 reb), Sergio Rodriguez (13 + 9 ast)
With a sell-out crowd on hand, Khimki was determined to snap a 12-game losing streak to CSKA and take over 1st place in the standings.
The home team jumped out to a 27-21 lead, mixing a strong inside game with 50% shooting on the perimeter. CSKA was not as crisp, knocking down only one of seven three-point attempts in the first 10 minutes.
The momentum shifted in the 2nd quarter as the visitors heated up from downtown. CSKA also put the clamps on defensively, holding Khimki to 16 points, including 2-9 from beyond the arc.
Trailing by nine early in the period, the Army Men outscored Khimki by 16 the rest of the way to seize a 50-43 lead at halftime. Will Clyburn led CSKA with 12 points.
Moscow Region fought back in the 3rd with a steady parade to the free-throw line, outscoring the visitors by three to cut the deficit to 72-68.
Charles Jenkins made the crowd roar with a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to one, 72-71, to start the 4th. But the fans would have little to cheer about the rest of the way.
A combination of missed shots and turnovers allowed CSKA to score 12 unanswered points and seize complete control of the game. Even an unsportsmanlike foul on Nando De Colo and technical on CSKA boss Dimitris Itoudis couldn’t slow the Army Men down as they outscored Khimki 24-13 in the final period and improved to 6-0.
Khimki has now lost 13 in a row to CSKA, though there will be plenty of opportunities for revenge between the VTB United League and EuroLeague in the months to come.
13 – CSKA outrebounded Khimki by 13.
Khimki head coach Georgios Bartzokas:
– It turned out to be a very interesting game. The fans were especially excited to see two undefeated teams in the VTB League play. Congratulations to CSKA on the win. That team has a lot of experience in every aspect of the game and demonstrated that today. Our team doesn’t have as much experience, and once we lost our concentration, we lost the game. In my opinion, that was the main reason for the loss. We started playing the way we weren’t supposed to. If you look at the difference in assists and rebounds, it’s easy to understand why we lost. We should have moved the ball better, played more as a team and done a much better job at simple things like rebounds, energy, turnovers, etc. With all their talent and experience, if you let CSKA get comfortable and don’t stop the defense, they can score 96 points on the road, or even more. On the other hand, I believe this game will be a good lesson, especially for our new players. Like I usually say, we need to forget what happened the next day, because we have a very important game against Baskonia coming up. I want to note that the team played three games in 10 days against three of last season’s EuroLeague Final Four teams. That’s not easy at all for a new team. We need to keep moving. With time, we’ll become more experienced and better prepared for games like these. We need more consistency and stability for all 40 minutes in every game. Those are our priorities now.
CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
– Congratulations to the team on the win. We played better than our opponent today, especially after the 1st quarter, when we spoke with the players and changed our approach on defense. We respect Khimki: their players, coaches, the entire organization. They’ve had excellent teams for many years and this is a valuable win. It will absolutely give us confidence and show that we can play defense, run, move the ball and shoot a high percentage. During the 2nd and 4th quarters, our defense only allowed 29 points to a great opponent. We also had 27 assists. Thank you to the fans who created an amazing derby atmosphere, and to my assistants, who helped out during the game. A separate thank you to doctors Yuri Kozhokar and Andrey Oros. Thanks to them, I was able to be on the bench today, despite back pain. I got two shots before the game. As for the two technicals, now I owe the team dinner. We just need to pick the restaurant. I absolutely deserved the first one. In the second instance, I want to explain that I simply asked the referee to look at a replay of the moment Nando received an unsportsmanlike foul. Later, I was told that it’s allowed in the EuroLeague, but not in the VTB League. That’s another reason for us to think about unifying the rules. It’s not good that we play in different competitions with different rules.
Khimki: November 19 home vs. Zenit
CSKA: November 12 home vs. Parma