The first step is always the hardest28 january 2007

Photographer: Yuri Sokolov

Kestutis Kemzura debuted as Khimki’s head coach during the games of the so-called “Moscow Region Derby,” but not only for BC Khimki, as up until now, the 36-year-old coach had worked as assistant coach. Everything turned out well, despite the not-so-successful start of the game. After the first break, the yellow-blues recovered, and opened their eyes, bringing on some positive results. In the third quarter Khimki scored more points than their opponent in the second half of the game.

BC Khimki’s new Head Coach Kestutis KEMZURA recognized that, of course, he is happy with how the game turned out, not only with the results, but also with the team’s playing performance.

— Evidently some nervousness made a lack of mutual understanding noticeable, given that we have only had two practice games, and some shooting practice. We made some unnecessary mistakes up until the first break; we were going for statistics and an individual game, which lacerated the match.

— In the break, we were able to make some corrections. I think the zone defense helped us and we were able, from then on, make some good offensive plays. Moreover, during the second half the boys went on court with another attitude, and were able to achieve some offensive rebounds, notably Fridzon and McCarty. I am very happy with Booker being able to handle the pressure well. One has to admit that Dynamo was pretty successful at their distance offenses; better than usual. Likholitov had a good percentage of successful free throws: more than 60 against the usual 40%.

It seems you not only knew the opponent’s statistics but you had been watching their games...

— Of course, how else could it have been...

David Blatt said he watches the Russian Championship on the satellite channel Planet-Sport…

— I can hardly follow so closely the games of the National Championship as he does, but believe me, I did not show up on Saturday without my homework.

One of the most useful players was Vladimir Diatchok…

— Yes, all his attempts reached their mark, and in other aspects he was also very successful. I am hoping for such beautiful surprises in the future as well.

What is the reason for changing Mozgov for Podkolzin on the list?

— Medical recommendations, which indicated that it would be best not to allow Pavel Podkolzin to play on Saturday.

The visiting team’s Coach Rutenis PAULAUSKAS recognized that the team that played the best, won, and surely the one with the longest roster in the Russian Championship.

— Dynamo’s starting five played well and probably optimum for today. The players knew how the defense should be played and followed through on the strategy. Nonetheless, after half time we lost the thread of the game. Padius’ performance in the first half was successful while uneventful in the second.

Author: Dmitry Evdokimov