Dogus Balbay struck a sensational deep three-pointer with two seconds remaining to give Anadolu Efes Istanbul a stunning victory over heartbroken Khimki Moscow Region.
After three quarters it looked like Efes was cruising with a 12-point lead, but then an incredible scoring streak from Alexey Shved – with 14 points in less than four minutes – brought Khimki back. The home team led throughout the final few minutes but the visitors had one last chance and Balbay took it with an incredible long-range conversion, giving Efes its second road triumph of the season and leaving Khimki winless. Efes was led by 26 points from Rodrigue Beaubois, nearly half of which came in the second quarter. Adrien Moerman scored 12 and Krunoslav Simon added 11 for the victors. Shved inevitably top scored for Khimki with 25 points including 6 three-pointers, while Anthony Gill added 15 points, Tony Crocker scored 13 and Jordan Mickey netted 12.
The game was delayed early on by nearly 20 minutes due to technical issues, and when action resumed Dee Bost sank a couple of triples for the hosts. After the scoring slowed, Crocker reignited the scoreboard with another a pair of three-pointers to help make it 21-18 at the end of the first. Simon’s off-balance buzzer-beating triple and a fast flurry of points from Beaubois sent the visitors in front, but Khimki responded and the lead regularly swapped hands as Gill came to the fore. Brock Motum, Charles Jenkins, Beaubois and Shved all struck from deep as the three-point party continued, but Efes pulled away as a three-point play from Motum plus Beaubois’s free throws secured a 37-45 edge. Khimki started the second half strong as Mickey scored twice, but a Simon triple kept Efes comfortable. Shved and Moerman traded triples, before a pair of baskets from Tibor Pleiss and a layup by Beaubois made it 55-67 after three quarters. A pair of trademark triples from Shved started the final period on a high for Khimki, and last season’s scoring king continued his incredible spurt capped by another triple to make it 69-69. Beaubois and a pair of Dunston baskets sent Efes back in front, but Markovic struck from deep to make it 76-76 with two minutes left. Jenkins sent Khimki ahead from the foul line, and it became a battle of free throws. Crucially, Crocker missed one of those to give Efes a last chance, and Balbay seized it in memorable fashion.
Balbay shines at both ends
Balbay’s initial role was a defensive one of shackling Shved, and he did that extremely well by keeping the Khimki scoring machine off the board in the first quarter, before returning to seal the victory in incredible fashion.
Shved shreds it at start of fourth
Khimki looked beaten after three quarters, trailing by 12, but then Shved took over by scoring all his team’s points in a 14-2 run – including a trio of three-pointers – in less than four minutes.
Beaubois dominates before the break
If Shved owned the last quarter, the second had belonged to Beaubois, who netted 14 points in that second period to give his team a lead which for a long time to look impregnable.
Round 4 will see Khimki go on the road in search of its first win with a trip to face AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan on Thursday, the same night that Efes hosts a big local derby against perfect-so-far Fenerbahce.