Khimki Moscow Region re-injected its name in the playoffs race by out-gunning host Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 90-98 in the Montenegrin capital on Thursday.
Khimki's record improved to 9-13 with its second consecutive victory and is just one win off the pace of eighth place at the moment. Buducnost saw its three-game home winning streak snapped and fell to 6-15. Khimki got an inspired performance from Jordan Mickey, who finished with 25 points in just over 19 minutes. He led five visiting scorers in double digits. Charles Jenkins drilled 5 of 8 three-pointers for 17 points, while Malcolm Thomas had 13 and 8 rebounds. Dee Bost and Andrey Zubkov added 10 points each for the winners. Norris Cole sprung to life in the second quarter and landed a double-double with 20 points and 11 assists for Buducnosts. Gogo Bitadze scored 17 to go with 7 boards and 2 blocks. Edwin Jackson added 12 points while James Bell scored 11 for Buducnost. fourth double-digit scorer. After constant ties and lead changes in the second half, Buducnost led 88-87 entering the final minute, but Stefan Markovic's three-pointer and a three-point play by Mickey spelled the difference for Khimki.
Khimki came out with all guns blazing, with 18 of its 22 points in the first quarter coming from beyond the arc. Jenkins made 3 from deep, while Sergey Monia canned a pair and Dee Bost the least one. Earl Clarke hit 2 triples to keep Buducnost within 20-22 after 10 minutes. Bitadze and Nemanja Gordic combined to retake a 28-27 lead for the hosts, but the shots kept falling at both ends. Jordan joined Khimki's sharpshooters with 2 of his own from deep, but Cole answered him as Buducnost took the biggest lead yet, 43-37 at the end of an 11-2 Buducnost hot streak. Khimki's resurgence culminated with a buzzer-beating three from Jenkins, which would see the lead reduced to 46-45 at the half. The pace did not slow down in the third quarter, with Norris Cole adding 7 points to his tally, including a three-pointer late in the quarter. Jenkins was on hand to land yet another from downtown and a quick layup to put the visitors ahead 65-68 after 30 minutes. A Monia three-pointer gave Khimki a six-point cushion at the start of the fourth quarter, but James Bell landed 3 from the same distance to swing the home side in front as the shootout continued. With 1:57 remaining, Cole launched and landed from long distance, but Mickey responded with a trip to the free throw line to level matters again. Mickey took over at that point with 5 more points and an assist to Markovic for his go-ahead three to help the visitors take a 90-98 victory that was as close as could be until the very end.
Charles Jenkins scored 12 points in the opening half on 4-for-5 shooting from deep. He would end up making 5 of 8 triples on the night to match his career-high from downtown in 130 EuroLeague games to date.
Movers and shakers
Jordan Mickey re-entered to the game 5:55 remaining in the fourth quarter and his team down 76-73. He proceeded to score 10 of his 25 points in crunch time to help Khimki prevail.
The game was so close that it wasn't until the very end of the fourth quarter that the momentum finally changed in one team's favor. Stefan Markovic was the man to provide it with a three-pointer to open the final minute by putting Khimki ahead for good. Jordan Mickey followed with a three-point play to make it 88-93, ultimately putting the game out of reach.
Both teams hit the road for Friday games in Round 23. Buducnost goes to Lithuania to face Zalgiris Kaunas, while Khimki enters a lion's den to face Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at OAKA in the Greek capital.