Shved, Gill keep Khimki alive
Khimki Moscow Region recorded its first-ever victory in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs on Wednesday by beating crosstown rival CSKA Moscow 79-73 at Arena Mytishchi to stay alive in their best-of-five series.
Khimki now trails CSKA 2-1 and will try to even the series when it hosts Game 4 on Friday; a CSKA win would eliminate Khimki and send CSKA to its seventh straight Final Four. League-leading scorer Alexey Shved bounced back from a season-low 12 points in Game 2 by pumping in 27 points to lead the winners, while forward Anthony Gill shined with 22 points with just 1 missed field goal plus 7 rebounds. Tyler Honeycutt made his return from injury and played a key role on defense, too. Cory Higgins tied his career high with 26 points for CSKA, Othello Hunter posted 16 points and 12 rebounds and Sergio Rodriguez tallied 15 points and 8 assists in defeat. CSKA outrebounded Khimki 32-42, but committed 18 turnovers, which was its second-most all season.
Hunter's offensive rebound, slam and foul highlighted a 0-5 CSKA start, while Khimki missed its first 5 shots. More than two and a half minutes passed before Shved got the hosts on the scoreboard. Shved added a three-pointer and Gill converted a tough three-point play to give Khimki its first lead, 8-7. Baskets by Charles Jenkins and Malcolm Thomas helped Khimki extend the lead and Shved's second triple of the quarter made it 17-11. Leo Westermann free throws and Higgins's block and layup drew CSKA within 17-15 after 10 minutes. A three-point play by Gill and Honeycutt's ankle-breaking move and jumper extended the lead to 7. Will Clyburn scored for CSKA, but Egor Vialtsev nailed a three-pointer and a pair of free throws for a double-digit lead, 27-17. Higgins and Hunter halved the CSKA deficit, though Thomas Robinson kept Khimki in control. The trend continued with a basket each – in order – for Hunter, Higgins and Robinson. Rodriguez connected from downtown for his first points and soon Higgins's reverse layup on an inbounds play tied the game at 37-37. Sergey Monia sank a three to give Khimki breathing room, however Rodriguez responded with a step-back triple to knot the game. Shved sank free throws for a 44-42 Khimki edge at the break.
Higgins knocked down an open three from the corner two minutes into the second half to give CSKA the lead, 46-47. He added another from downtown to silence the once raucous arena. Hunter added a jumper to make it 48-52 midway through the third quarter. Shved scored twice before a put-back by Gill pushed Khimki ahead 56-55. Baskets by Higgins and Shved in the final minute of the third quarter ended it at 60-57. Gill started the fourth quarter with a slam and Robinson dunked too for an 8-point lead. Clyburn stepped up with a pair of baskets and Hunter also scored 4 points in a 0-8 run to tie the game at 65-65. Gill drained a triple on the ensuing play and – after neither side scored for nearly two minutes – Honeycutt beat the shot clock with a long three for a 71-65 lead. Gill added another triple before Rodriguez ended CSKA’s drought. Free throws by Rodriguez and Clyburn drew CSKA withinn74-70 with two minutes to play. Shved made a tough layup with 26 seconds left that all but sealed the game. Rodriguez free throws gave CSKA hope, but Charles Jenkins iced the Khimki win.