Khimki routs Gran Canaria to close in on title 24  april  2015
Khimki Moscow Region is just one step away from its second Eurocup title after drubbing Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 66-91 in Game 1 of the Eurocup Finals on Friday at Gran Canaria Arena.
Khimki hosts Game 2 of the two-game total-points series next week knowing that a win – or a loss by up to 24 points – will make it the 2015 Eurocup champion and hand it a berth in the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season. Egor Vyaltsev scored a season-high 18 points and Petteri Koponen also netted 18 points, while Paul Davis tallied 17 points and Eurocup MVP Tyrese Rice totaled 13 points and 5 assists for Khimki, which shot at a blistering pace (72.2% on two-point shots, on 47.8% threes) and outrebounded the hosts 25-34. Kyle Kuric scored 23 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting and Eulis Baez added 18 points and 7 rebounds for Gran Canaria in defeat. Davis scored 10 first quarter points to put Khimki ahead 19-21 after 10 minutes. Then Koponen led an 0-8 run which made it a double-digit game. A three-point play by Oriol Pauli got Gran Canaria within 33-40 at halftime. The third quarter saw Baez almost singlehandedly bring the hosts back into the series at 47-49. However Vyaltsev made a pair of threes and Koponen scored 7 points in a 1-16 charge to open the fourth quarter as Khimki ran away with the game – and possibly, the series.

First quarter: Davis puts Khimki ahead

Baez got Gran Canaria going with a layup which Rice quickly erased with a driving basket. Davis scored around the basket, as Khimki dominated the boards in the early going. Vyaltsev finished a three-chance Khimki offense with a layup and Rice found Davis for an easy basket that capped a 0-8 run. Baez rescued Gran Canaria with a power layup and Kuric struck from downtown to keep the hosts within 7-8. Walter Tavares scored around the basket to put Gran Canaria back ahead, 9-8. Davis followed a jump hook with a backdoor layup to restore a 9-12 Khimki edge. After Ian O'Leary ignited the crowd with a wild put-back slam, Davis answered with a tip-in and Kuric did better with his second triple, which tied it at 14-14. Stanislav Itnitskiy shined with a three-point play and James Augustine erased Albert Oliver's layup with a slam. A running hook by Vyaltsev and free throws by Oliver and O'Leary fixed the score at 19-21 after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Vyaltsev shines, Khimki soars

Gran Canaria had managed to shut down Rice, but Khimki kept finding ways to score. Koponen scored in penetration and a reverse layup by Augustine made it a 6-point game. Koponen swished his trademark five-meter jumper, as Khimki held Gran Canaria scoreless for more than three minutes. A layup by Rice made it 19-29. Tomas Bellas rescued Gran Canaria with a triple and a dunk by Tavares brought the hosts within 5. Sergey Monia silenced the crowd with a three-pointer and Vyaltsev also struck from downtown for a 24-35 Khimki margin. Baez hit foul shots, but Davis buried a turnaround jumper. Oliver made it 28-35. Vyaltsev kept pacing Khimki with a three-point play, however Kuric matched that with a bomb from beyond the arc. Koponen scored in penetration, but Pauli answered with a layup-plus-foul to bring Gran Canaria a bit closer, 33-40, at halftime.

Third quarter: Baez rescues Granca

Baez buried a three-pointer immediately after the break, but an acrobatic layup by Vyaltsev restored a 36-42 Khimki lead. Khimki kept struggling to get Rice involved, but improved its defense and Davis hit another jump hook for a 36-44 advantage. Baez ignited the crowd with a wild put-back slam — and the free throw that came with it. And Kuric added a coast-to-coast layup off a steal, which caused Khimki to call timeout at 41-44. Ilnitskiy and a red-hot Baez exchanged baskets and Monia buried a three-pointer to keep Khimki ahead, 43-49. Baez scored again and added a close jumper to make it a 2-point game. Rice stepped up with a step-back triple, Kuric answered with a one-handed jumper in the lane. A free throw by Davis gave Khimki a 49-53 edge. Brad Newley found his first points, but Davis scored down low. Kendall got the hosts within 52-55. A layup by Augustine, a wild alley-oop slam by O'Leary and a buzzer-beating jumper by Koponen fixed the score at 54-59 at the end of the quarter.

Fourth quarter: Khimki’s 1-16 charge puts the game away

Back-to-back threes by Vyaltsev and Monia put the hosts back on their heels. After Kuric split free throws, Koponen made a layup and Vyaltsev nailed another triple. When Augustine completed a three-point play, he also capped a 0-10 run that made it 55-75. Kuric fired in a three, but Koponen responded with the next 5 points for a 22-point lead with five minutes to go. The hosts continued to play hard as Oliver made free throws and Kuric converted a four-point play, but Rice made a pair of threes to keep Khimki comfortably ahead. Kuric banked in a shot, however Koponen’s three and Davis’s free throws gave Khimki its largest lead at the end of the game, 66-91.