VTB United League
Khimki Moscow Region defeated Lokomotiv-Kuban Krasnodar at home, 94-77, in Game 5 of the playoff semifinals. The turning point came in the 3rd quarter, which Khimki dominated thanks to its defense and three-point shooting. The Yellow-Blues added to the 15-point lead in the final period to secure the win and advance to play CSKA in the finals.
A who's who of Russian basketball squeezed into the Khimki gym for Saturday's Game 5 showdown, including basketball executives and players from around the league. Everyone had to be there with a berth in the finals against CSKA at stake. Lokomotiv also brought a sizeable contingent, including players from FC Krasnodar and FC Lokomotiv.
Khimki and Lokomotiv-Kuban needed all five games to decide who would advance to play CSKA. Lokomotiv had to play without Anthony Randolph, while Khimki was missing James Augustine and Ruslan Pateev. Paul Davis, however, was available after missing both games in Krasnodar.
The American big man gave his team its first lead near the end of the 1st quarter. Petteri Koponen added to Khimki's advantage with a 3-pointer, while Davis chipped in another seven points. If not for field goals from Malcolm Delaney and Maxim Grigoryev, the visitors could have trailed by more than eight at the end of the period (27-19).
Lokomotiv needed five minutes to get back in the game. Kruno Simon knocked down a pair of threes and the Railwaymen earned several trips to the free throw line by driving the lane and forcing fouls. Khimki was 2-11 from downtown in the first half and saw its lead cut to one, 42-41, at halftime.
While Khimki was ice cold from the perimeter in the first half, everything changed after the break. Sergey Monia and Koponen got hot from downtown, forcing Sergei Bazarevich to call a timeout. But Lokomotiv couldn't find an answer and started to pick up fouls on defense (Grigoryev fouled out in the 3rd quarter). Davis continued to be effective for the home team, making it a 15-point game at the end of 30 minutes, 71-56.
The visitors tried everything to cut the deficit in the 4th quarter, but three 3-pointers from Tyrese Rice, Petteri Koponen and Egor Vyaltsev effectively decided the outcome. By bouncing back from a 2-1 series deficit and finishing the series at home, Khimki advances to play archrival CSKA in the finals. Game 1 will be held at the USH CSKA on June 3.
Injuries had a major impact on this series. Both teams were missing frontcourt players, while Paul Davis's miraculous return in Game 5 proved a huge boost to the home team. He ended up scoring 18 points, helping Khimki pull out the win.
Star of the Game
Sergey Monia. The Khimki captain led his team in every facet of the game on Saturday: 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and three blocks. Monia was everywhere on the court.
Stat of the Game
29-15 — Khimki put the game away in the 3rd quarter.
Khimki: Petteri Koponen — 21 points; Tyrese Rice — 18 points, five rebounds, seven assists; Paul Davis — 18 points; Sergey Monia — 12 points, five rebounds; Victor Claver — 12 points, eight rebounds.
Lokomotiv-Kuban: Evgeny Voronov — 15 points; Richard Hendrix — 14 points, 10 rebounds; Malcolm Delaney — 12 points, eight assists; Derrick Brown — 11 points; Maxim Grigoryev — nine points.