Valencia holds on to beat Khimki 24  december  2020

Valencia Basket nearly wasted a 20-point lead, but held on to collect an 88-82 home win over Khimki Moscow Region on Wednesday.
Martin Hermannsson led the way with 16 points and 9 assists for Valencia, which has won three of its last four games and improved to 10-6. Derrick Williams chipped in 15 points, Bojan Dubljevic had 11 points and Klemen Prepelic and Mike Tobey both had 10 points for the hosts, who rebounded from a loss to Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade in Round 15. Khimki’s losing streak extended to eight games in falling to 2-14 despite Errick McCollum scoring 16 points. Alexey Shved added 14 and Devin Booker scored 11.

Booker’s jumper got the scoring going for Khimki while fellow big man Dubljevic got Valencia’s first points to start an 8-1 surge including 4 points from Jaime Pradilla for an 8-3 lead. Shved and Jonas Jerebko drained back-to-back triples and Khimki was back up 8-9. Valencia’s defense kept Khimki scoreless for nearly 3 minutes and a 6-0 spurt had the hosts up 16-11. It was 16-13 after 10 minutes. After Prepelic scored first for Valencia in the second quarter, McCollum got 5 quick points to knot the game at 18-18. The Khimki offense once again sputtered, going 4 minutes without a score. Nikola Kalinic had 4 points in a 10-0 run to open a 28-18 lead. The duo of Williams and Dubljevic was too much with 12 points in a 15-7 close to the first half as Valencia went into the break up 45-29.

McCollum tallied the first points of the second half only to see Prepelic drain back-to-back three-pointers as the gap rose to 51-31. Khimki showed just what it can do offensively with Jordan Mickey hitting a three-pointer and Janis Timma going back-to-back from deep to cut the margin down to 53-46 through a 2-15 run. Six Khimki free throws cut the deficit down to 55-52, but Valencia scored the final 4 points of the quarter and was up 59-52 after 30 minutes. Vyacheslav Zaytsev scored first in the fourth quarter and McCollum’s next triple trimmed the gap to 61-57. Hermannsson answered right back from deep to start a 7-0 spurt that sent the lead to 68-57. Khimki had one more push with Jerebko, Dairis Bertans and Shved all hitting three-pointers to pull within 74-68 with less than 4 minutes to play. Valencia would not be broken and Tobey made it 78-68. Bertans managed 3 free throws, but Mickey’s three-pointer was off with the team down 7 points with 76 seconds remaining. Khimki would not go down without a fight with Booker hitting a triple and Shved converting a three-point play to pull within 82-77 with 19 seconds remaining. Hermannsson showed he has ice in his veins, draining 2 free throws to lock up the win.

Khimki could not slow down Valencia
The game went according to the season team stats as Valencia came into the game as the third-highest scoring team in the league with 83.3 ppg and Khimki had allowed a league-high 88.3 points.

Pivotal performer
Martin Hermannsson came off the Valencia bench and guided the team with 16 points to go along with 2 rebounds, 9 assists and 1 steal for an index rating off 22.

Telling numbers
Valencia shot 67.4% on two-pointers and made all 18 of its free throws while holding Khimki to just 48.3% on two-pointers and forcing 18 turnovers.

Next games
Valencia heads on the road for the next game, but will stay in Spain as it travels to play TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Tuesday, December 29. Khimki returns home for Round 17 to take on Olympiacos Piraeus the same evening.