Khimki Moscow Region stayed undefeated by downing KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 79-76 at home on Friday.
Khimki improved to 2-0 in the standings while Baskonia dropped to 1-1. Alexey Shved led the winners with 21 points and 8 assists. Janis Timma added 18 points, Jeremy Evans had 17 while Devin Booker got 14 for Khimki. Toko Shengelia paced Baskonia with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Pierria Henry added 16 points while Luca Vildoza had 10 for the guests. Booker and Timma combined for 9 points in an 11-0 run which allowed Khimki to get a 27-17 margin at the end of the first quarter. Khimki soon boosted its margin to 39-23 midway through the second period but Vildoza and Toko Shengelia fueled a 0-12 run that brought Baskonia back to life, 43-39, at halftime. Shengelia brought Baskonia within 49-48 right after the break but Shved and an unstoppable Evans restored a 62-55 Khimki margin after 30 minutes. Khimki managed to keep a safe lead throughout the fourth quarter and Booker made the difference in the final 2 minutes.
Shved got Khimki going with a reverse layup before Michael Eric gave Baskonia its first lead, 2-3. Booker stepped up with consecutive dunks, igniting an 11-0 run in which Timma had a three-pointer and a fastbreak slam. Vildoza scored in penetration but Shved and a red-hot Timma made it a 14-point game, 19-5. Shengelia and Youssoupha Fall tried to change things for Baskonia and a triple by Matt Janning gave his team hope at 21-12. Evans took over with an alley-oop dunk, getting help from Timma for a 27-17 Khimki margin after 10 minutes. Evans dunked again early in the second quarter before a three-pointer by Shved boosted the hosts' lead to 32-19. Shengelia and Ilimane Diop tried to change things for Baskonia but an alley-oop slam by Booker and a triple by Evans kept Khimki way ahead, 39-23. Baskonia found a go-to guy in Vildoza, who scored 8 points in a 0-12 run highlighted by Shengelia's fastbreak dunk to bring the guests within 39-35. Dairis Bertans and Timma kept Khimki ahead, 43-39, at halftime. Henry scored off a steal soon after the break but Evans did better with a huge dunk that he converted as a three-point play. Henry hit a floater and Shengelia followed a jumper with a triple to bring Baskonia as close as 49-48. Shved stepped up for Khimki, getting help from Booker and Evans – whose dunk and two big blocks to fire up the crowd – to give their team fresh air at 60-51. Evans – who else? – threw it down again but Henry kept Baskonia within 62-55 after 30 minutes. A dunk by Eric and a layup by Shengelia brought the guests even closer, 64-59, early in the fourth quarter. A red-hot Eric scored twice in the paint and Henry added a tip-in, but Booker and Shved kept Khimki in charge, 71-65, with under 6 minutes left. Patricio Garino and Henry managed to get Baskonia within 73-69 in the next-to-last minute but Booker followed a jump hook with free throws to seal the outcome.
Evans was all over the place, blocking shots, downing alley-oops and dunking over Diop in what will be one of the best plays of the year. He finished the game with 17 points on 5-of-7 two-point shooting, 2-of-3 three-pointers and 1-of-1 free throws, adding 6 rebounds, an assist, 2 steals and 3 blocks for a PIR of 23.
Baskonia managed to get as close as 49-48 but Khimki did not allow the guests to take the lead. Shved stepped up with 4 quick points, then Evans had a big dunk and added a couple of huge blocks. Booker helped Khimki restore a 62-52 margin, and the hosts never lost control of the game until the final buzzer.
Khimki simply shot the ball a bit better from all distances. The hosts hit 57.9% of their shots inside the arc, 20.8% from downtown and 95.2% from the free throw line. Baskonia had worse numbers in all distances (47.9% 2FG, 20% 3FG, 54.5% FT).
Did you notice?
Khimki hit 20 of 21 free throws and had the fourth-best percentage from the foul line (95.2%) in club history. Khimki had a 100% free throw percentage three times – against CSKA in 2018 (23-of-23), Efes in 2019 (10-of-10) and Unicaja in 2017 (8-of-8)
Both teams return for Round 3 action on Thursday, October 17. Baskonia visits Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul at 19:45 CET. Khimki visits CSKA Moscow at 19:00 CET in the first Leningradka derby of the season.