BC Khimki beat Zalgiris 93-89 in overtime
BC Khimki Moscow Region finished its second consecutive Turkish Airlines Euroleague appearance in style by rallying to down Zalgiris 93-89 in overtime in Group A on Wednesday. Khimki had run out of chances to reach the Top 16 last week but finished Group A with a 4-6 record. Zalgiris, that led 66-75 with 2 minutes left in regulation, lost the chance to finish second in this group but will keep fighting for Euroleague glory. Keith Langford paced the winners with 35 points, 8 rebounds and 15 fouls drawn. Raul Lopez added 14 points, Kreso Loncar had 13 while Sergey Monya got 10 for Khimki. Mantas Kalnietis led Zalgiris with 24 points. Marty Pocius added 13 for the guests. Kalnietis helped Zalgiris to overcome a slow start and get a 22-23 lead after 10 minutes. Zalgiris dominated the game with good defense that led to easy points in transition, enough for the guests to get a 42-48 lead. Lopez and Langford allowed Khimki to tie the game, 61-61, late in the third quarter. Kalnietis sank back-to-back triples in crunch time and Marty Pocius added a driving layup that seemed to seal the outcome, 65-73, with 3 minutes left. Lopez, and Loncar brought Khimki back to life and a wild triple by Langford sent the game to overtime, 81-81.
Langford got the hosts going with a three-point play, as Zalgiris went scoreless in the opening 3 minutes. Langford kept pacing Khimki with a layup in transition and Thomas Kelati split free throws for a 6-0 lead. Kalnietis stepped up with a jump hook and Dainius Salenga added a three-pointer for a 6-5 score. Zoran Planinic shined with a driving layup but Kalnietis followed a mid-range shot off the glass with a three-point play to give the guests their first lead, 8-10. Lopez struck from downtown while Kalnietis and Ben Eze traded baskets for a 13-12 score. Lopez insisted with another three-pointer but a power layup by Travis Watson kept Zalgiris within 17-15. Arturas Milaknis took over with a tough three-point play and DeJuan Collins added a fast break layup put Zalgiris back ahead, 19-21. Collins scored again in transition but a buzzer-beating triple by Loncar kept Khimki within 22-23 after 10 minutes.
Paulius Jankunas scored twice around the basket early in the second quarter in a 0-6 run that Collins capped with a jumper for a 22-29 Zalgiris lead. Kelati struck from downtown but Tomas Delininkaitis joined the three-point shootout but Planinic and Pocius traded layups for a 27-34 score. Monya sank a close jumper but Khimki only managed to trade baskets now. Delininkaitis hit free throws that Langford matched with a big basket. Tadas Klimavicius and Kalnietis shined with back-to-back baskets to make Khimki stop the game at 31-40. Monya took over with a huge dunk but Klimavicius matched it with a reverse layup. Langford stayed on fire with a big slam, Loncar added a layup and Monya downed a corner triple to bring Khimki back to life, 40-44. Collins hit foul shots and Mindaugas Kuzminskas matched Langford's four-meter shot to fix the halftime score at 42-48.
Aleksey Savrasenko tried to change things with a second-chance layup soon after the break and Planinic added an easy basket for a 46-49 Khimki deficit. Jankunas found space for an uncontested layup but Khimki had improved its defensive balance and did not allow easy points in transition. Langford buried a big triple but Pocius answered from downtown to give Zalgiris some fresh air, 49-54. Kalnietis struggled against Kelati's man-to-man defense but Pocius took over with a seven-meter bomb that forced the hosts to call timeout at 49-57. Lopez and Langford sank free throws to keep Khimki within 53-57. Watson shined with a power layup but more free throws by Langford and Loncar brought Khimki even closer, 58-59. Zalgiris could not find the way to the basket but Salenga stepped up with a floating layup. Lopez nailed a corner triple but a two-handed by Jankunas put Zalgiris back ahead, 61-63, after 30 minutes.
Salenga sank free throws early in the fourth quarter, as Zalgiris had managed to lock the defensive board. Khimki went scoreless for 2 minutes but once again Zalgiris entered the foul bonus too wearly in this period. Langford nailed an open triple but Khimki missed several shots in a row to complete its comeback. Zalgiris found a go-to guy in Kalnietis, who sank back-to-back three-pointers to boost his team's lead to 65-71 with over 4 minutes left. Pocius stepped up with a driving basket and Begic scored around the basket but Lopez and Loncar gave Khimki some hope, 71-75, with less than 2 minutes to go. Kalnietis shined a wild driving layup but Monya bettered that with a three-pointer that sent the crowd to their feet, 74-77. Khimki got the ball back but Lopez missed from downtown. Kalnietis missed free throws that Langford made it a one-point game, 76-77, with 19.2 seconds left. Khimki sent Kalnietis back to the foul line but he made both attempts for a 76-79 score. Loncar hit a put-back layup but Pocius made free throws to keep a three-point Zalgiris lead, 76-79, with 10.4 seconds to go in regulation. Langford found the way to bury a wild, off-balance three-pointer that sent the game to overtime right at the buzzer.
Langford stayed on fire with a step-back three-pointer early in overtime but Kalnietis answered from downtown to tie the game again, 84-84. Salenga hit free throws that Kelati bettered with a triple to complete the hosts' comeback, 87-86 - Khimki's first lead since the first quarter. Langford split free throws but Begic missed twice from the foul line. Planinic set the crowd on fire with a driving basket, good for a 90-86 Khimki lead with a minute left. A three-pointer by Langford sealed the outcome, allowing all Khimki fans to celebrate a big win in arguably one of the best games this season.
Thursday, December 23, 2010