Caja Laboral's big 84-73 road win at Khimki
Caja Laboral remained alive in the battle to reach the Quarterfinal Playoffs with an impressive 83-94 victory at BC Khimki Moscow Region on Thursday night. Despite playing without injured All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter and having power forward Mirza Teletovic spend eight hours in a Moscow airport on Tuesday before authorities allowed him to enter the country, Laboral rallied to improve to 2-2 in Group H, while dropping Khimki to the same record. Khimki would have advanced to the playoffs if it had won. Khimki took advantage of Splitter’s absence to dominate the glass 34-18, but Laboral made up for that by making 12 of 20 three-pointers (60%), led by Teletovic’s 5 of 7 from downtown. The visitors also committed just 7 turnovers, less than half of Khimki’s 15. The final margin was identical to Khimki’s 11-point win in Spain two weeks ago, meaning that the second playoff spot from the group cannot be clinched until the final game of the Top 16. Teletovic paced the winners with 25 points, Fernando San Emeterio added 16, Carl English 13 and Stanko Barac and Lior Eliyahu scored 10 apiece. Keith Langford scored 18 of his season-high 27 points in the first half for Khimki. Robertas Javtokas added 17 points, Kelly McCarty scored 11 and Timofey Mozgov 10.
Things looked good for Khimki at the start, when off a broken play, McCarty drilled a long three with a man in his face. Teletovic showed Laboral would not roll over as he scored twice inside and English followed with a three for a 3-7 start for the visitors. A timeout helped Khimki get focused. Langford’s jumper and a McCarty basket in transition tied the score before Javtokas’s block led to a Langford three that put Khimki back on top. Brad Oleson came off the bench, attacked the basket, drew a foul from Javtokas and put his team up. Next San Emeterio drove hard to the basket, drew Javtokas’s second foul and made it 10-13. The pace increased, which also led to some mistakes. San Emeterio capitalized most to extend the Laboral cushion. After a timeout, things settled down, but not before a Barac hook shot made it 12-19. Mozgov came off the bench to score twice and block a shot to the delight of the fans. However, Oleson finished the quarter by rattling in a triple to make it 18-24.
Teletovic connected from downtown and Marcelinho Huertas scored giving Laboral its first double-digit lead, 18-29. Vitaly Fridzon answered for Khimki only to see Marcelinho make a shrewd play with an offensive rebound and pass in the air to a wide-open San Emeterio for three. Khimki made Mozgov a focal point as Carlos Cabezas handed off to him for a slam. Teletovic and English extended the Laboral lead to 23-36 as Khimki head coach Sergio Scariolo called for timeout. Marcelinho weaved through the Khimki defense to increase the lead to 15. Mozgov grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked it only to see English drill a triple that took the lead to 25-41. Fridzon answered with a three and Langford fed Javtokas inside, prompting Laboral head coach Dusko Ivanovic to call timeout. Barac took a feed from Eliyahu and shook the basket to its foundation with a two-handed jam. Langford converted a basket-plus-foul to bring the hosts within 10. He then drove for another score and despite a Pau Ribas three, Langford went to the line and sank 2. An uncharacteristic Marcelinho turnover allowed Langford to bring his personal tally to 18 and bring Khimki within 39-46 at the half.
Paulius Jankunas opened the second half with a three-pointer, further closing the gap as the fans took notice. Teletovic matched him from downtown, but after another Barac basket in the paint, a second Jankunas triple kept Khimki going. Javtokas corralled a McCarty miss, scored and drew Barac’s third foul. English drained a three to keep Laboral, but with nearly six minutes left in the quarter, Barac was called for his fourth foul and took a seat on the bench. Meanwhile McCarty darted inside for a basket and Javtokas muscled his way to 2 points on the offensive glass to tie the game at 56-56. English followed his own miss, but without Barac, there was no one to stop Javtokas, who scored easily at the other end. However San Emeterio soon drew Javtokas’s fourth foul and he too took a seat. Triples by Teletovic and San Emeterio put Laboral ahead 59-66. McCarty and Teletovic swapped free throws before Fridzon’s layup rolled in. Ribas countered with a jumper, but McCarty free throws made it 65-70 at the end of the quarter.
Teletovic’s fourth and fifth triples of the night gave him 23 points and gave Laboral an 11-point cushion early in the fourth quarter. Langford scored on the offensive glass only to see Teletovic make a jumper over the outstretched arm of Mozgov. Eliyahu extended the lead to 12, but Khimki continued to chase. Javtokas scored inside and later added a free throw, however Barac scored in the paint. Javtokas’s next basket was matched by Eliyahu and then Eliyahu’s hook shot made it 73-88. Not only was the game slipping away, but the margin was in Laboral’s favor. A Walter Herrmann jumper gave Laboral its biggest lead, 73-90. Javtokas brought his team within 13 with another basket on the offensive glass. Marcelinho drove through the Khimki defense for a tough layup-plus-foul with 32.2 seconds remaining. Cabezas scored at the other end and Khimki quickly fouled, sending English to the line with 13 seconds remaining. English missed both and Langford capitalized at the other end with a jumper with 4 seconds left to tie the head-to-head tiebreaker between the clubs.
Thursday, February 25, 2010