Khimki bested Cibona 83-70
BC Khimki Moscow Region survived a valiant challenge from Cibona Zagreb to open Group H with an 83-70 home victory. Marko Tomas's scoring prowess helped Cibona stay close and a Bojan Bogdanovic triple to open the fourth quarter had the Croatian champs ahead by 4. However Robertas Javtokas dominated inside and on the offensive glass and Kelly McCarty hit twice from downtown as Khimki went on a 16-3 charge to put the game away. Javtokas and McCarty each finished with 17 points to pace the winners, who travel to Greece to face Olympiacos next week. Javtokas also had 9 rebounds in helping his team outrebound Cibona 31-24. Paulius Jankunas added 15 for Khimki. Tomas finished with 17 points for Cibona, but was scoreless in the fourth quarter. Jamont Gordon added 13 points, Bogdanovic 12, Luksa Andric 11 and Samo Udrih 10. Cibona hosts Caja Laboral next week.
Keith Langford was active from the start, driving the lane for the game’s first points nearly two minutes into the first quarter. Gordon penetrated for Cibona’s first basket. The Khimki passing game was generating good looks as Carlos Cabezas and McCarty hit open jumper and McCarty fed Javtokas inside for a one-handed power slam. At the other end, Tomas needed to get off a tough jumper and to crash in Javtokas for a layup to keep his team in the picture. Some defensive adjustments by Cibona silenced the hosts, while Gordon used the pick-and-roll with Leon Radosevic to get the big guy a layup and then banked in a three to give his team its first lead, 10-11. Vitaly Fridzon’s triple was answered by a Tomas layup to tie the score. Udrih’s jumper bounced in for his first Euroleague points with Cibona. Each team went inside as Timofey Mozgov scored for Khimki and Andric for Cibona to make it 17-17 after 10 minutes.
Free throws by Udrih followed by a Bogdanovic three gave Cibona a 5-point edge before Jankunas answered from downtown. Udrih confidently buried a triple to keep Cibona ahead. The defenses stepped up their efforts, leaving no easy points at either end of the floor. Bogdanovic was able to create a three-pointer to make it 22-30 and Gordon fed Andric for a baseline jumper and a double-digit Cibona advantage. Javtokas muscled his way over Andric for a score and Jankunas stripped Vukusic and coasted for a layup to revive the home team. Khimki switched to a zone defense and the results came soon. Tomislav Zubcic came in to spell Vukusic and had a rough time at both ends. Langford burned Udrih for a basket-plus-foul – Udrih’s third of the game – and then a Langford steal led to a Carlos Cabezas layup to cap a 10-0 run that knotted the score at 32-32. Gordon responded from downtown, but McCarty bettered him with a three-pointer-and-foul to give the hosts a 36-35 halftime edge.
Cabezas pulled up for a triple seconds into the second half as the hosts looked to pull away. Tomas recaptured some of his first-quarter magic with two tough baskets to even the score. Javtokas became a focal point on offense and his slam put the hosts up 5 again. Bogdanovic fired in a three from the corner to keep Cibona close, only to see Javtokas spin inside for a score. Cibona used a zone defense to marginalize Javtokas and Andric banked in a three to narrow the gap to 50-49. Tomas tied the score and then put Cibona ahead from the line. Andric exploited a hole in the Khimki defense for a slam. McCarty scored to keep Khimki within 52-53 entering the fourth quarter.
Bogdanovic’s three at the start of the fourth quarter only increased Cibona’s confidence, but Raul Lopez took over. Lopez scored a basket-plus-foul to put his team ahead and then got to the line again and increased the Khimki. Udrih hit back to tie the score at 59-59. Javtokas found Jankunas for a basket-plus-foul. McCarty rejected Andric down low and Fridzon sank 2 free throws at the other end. McCarty looked to put the game away with a big triple for a 67-59 lead, but Gordon kept Cibona fighting with a three of his own. However Gordon picked up his fourth foul at the other end. McCarty added yet another three as the Khimki lead continued to grow. Javtokas brought the fans to their feet with an offensive rebound and rim-rocking slam and foul for a 73-62 lead. Next trip downcourt, Javtokas again grabbed an offensive board and laid it in. Gordon and co. continued to battle in the waning minutes, but Khimki continued to score, refusing to let its lead slip.
Thursday, January 28, 2010