Kurtinaitis returns, Khimki dispatches Avtodor 28  january  2019

VTB United League
Khimki Moscow Region defeated Avtodor Saratov on the road, 100-92 (26-23, 24-24, 21-23, 29-22).
Top Scorers
Avtodor: Trae Golden (23 + 12 ast), Boris Savovic (21), Tre’ McLean (12), Artem Zabelin (11)

Khimki: Tony Crocker (18), Jordan Mickey (17), Egor Vyaltsev (14 + 6 ast), Malcolm Thomas (14)

Story
Khimki used an 11-0 run midway through the 3rd quarter to steal the momentum and ultimately a win in Saratov, marking an auspicious start to Rimas Kurtainitis’ second stint at the club.

Tony Crocker led the way with 18 points as the visitors overturned a seven-point deficit. Trailing 62-55, Khimki rattled off 11 unanswered points to quiet the Saratov fans and seize control.

Up by one, 71-70, entering the 4th quarter, Khimki finally broke Avtodor’s resistance with a 6-0 run that pushed the lead to double digits (90-78) with under four minutes to go. Egor Vyaltsev, who scored the go-ahead points in the 3rd quarter, came up big again, knocking down a triple, while Jordan Mickey added a three-point play.

Despite playing Khimki even for nearly 35 minutes, Avtodor finished the game empty-handed and has now lost back-to-back games at home vs. top-four clubs (also Lokomotiv-Kuban).

Early on, it looked like Khimki might put the game away with time to spare. Up by nine, 39-30, in the 2nd quarter, Moscow Region instead let Avtodor pull to within one, 46-45, late in the half.

This dunk from Nikita Mikhailovsky played a part in Saratov’s comeback:



Down three at halftime, Avtodor went on to dominate much of the 3rd quarter before giving up the costly 11-0 run. The home team never recovered, missing a chance for a statement win in front of its loyal fans.

Avtodor’s record is now 6-8, tied with Kalev for the final playoff spot and only half a game ahead of Enisey.

Khimki, on the other hand, remains in 2nd place with the victory (12-2).

Stat
103 – number of wins recorded by Kurtinaitis in VTB League games. The Lithuanian returned as Khimki head coach and currently ranks 4th all-time on the wins list.