Game of the Week: Khimki vs CSKA 6  january  2020

VTB United League
Khimki will meet CSKA in a regular season game.
Arena Mytishchi (7000 seats), Mytishchi, Russia

January 6, 2020, 15:00 (15:00 MSK)

Match TV, VTB United League site

Look in the past

Face to face:
CSKA and Khimki have played 112 games. The Army club lead 93-19 and 25-7 within the United League.
Many CSKA vs Khimki battles are classics which, however, doesn’t apply to the last seasons. The Red-blues have won everywhere including VTB League Final four and Euroleague. Khimki stopped losing streak in March 2019 with a minimal home win (73:72) in VTB League regular season. Prior to that their last victory over CSKA in VTB League had happened on February 8, 2015 (107:104).
This season, CSKA hosted Khimki at Megasport in Euroleague regular season. The Army-club won 99:86.

Khimki suffered a big loss from Efes (81:102) in Euroleague which dropped them out of the playoff zone for the first time this season (currently ranked 9th with negative 8-9 record).
The same day, CSKA were beaten by Panathinaikos in Kaliningrad in the OT (102:106). The Army club is ranked fifth with 11-6 record.

The Leningradka derby is a special day for both clubs and their fans. CSKA and Khimki players admit this rivalry is different for them. One can expect winning attitude on Monday as both teams started 2020 with losses. Time to stop celebrating and start real fight.
In the last game of 2019 against Lokomotiv-Kuban, Khimki (11-1) lost the title of League’s only unbeaten team. CSKA (10-3) are catching their pace, pursuing Khimki. Their plan is to start Khimki’s losing streak and fight for the first place in standings.

Khimki and CSKA lead in three key stats: points (96.8 for Khimki and 92.2 for CSKA), 3-pointers % (41.6 vs 42.3) and steals (8.3 vs 6.7).

Familiar faces
Current Khimki players with previous CSKA experience are Egor Vialtsev (2003-04), Sergey Monia (2002-05) and Alexey Shved (2005-12 including youth teams and short-term loans), plus head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis (1981-82). The are no ex-Khimki players in CSKA.
Mike James and Dairis Bertans last season played for Olympia Milano.

Virus in Khimki
According to coach Kurtinaitis, many team members including staff had a flu last days. This is the reason why Alexey Shved didn’t play against Efes (and had no practices this week). Jonas Jerebko was out for a week, but still managed to play in Istanbul.

Khimki head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis:
“We don’t look at the standings, because every game counts. Currently we are more or less stable: got rid of the virus, Alexey Shved feels alright, Jonas Jerebko is back despite playing with fever last game. From this standpoint we are okay, no serious injuries, ready to play. Speaking of the rivals, CSKA is a great team. No matter what the roster is, they have this victorious spirit. And they always try to win because there’s a difference between ‘play basketball’ and ‘win’. CSKA have this feel and they prove it.”

CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis:
“We’ll meet our long-standing rival who we meet regularly. We’ve already played this season, but these were different rosters: the missed some players, now we have the same. What matters is who’s ready to play. We expect a fight on the court.”

Alexey Shved vs Mike James.
Elite snipers shootout, a true celebration in these days. Alexey is no.1 scorer (23.0) while James is ranked 8th (17.6), but this won’t matter on Monday. Each of them can become the decisive factor with the only shot even on a bad day. James scored the winning three-pointer on the last seconds in Minks (and it was only the second good shot out of 10). The duel is subject to Shved’s health conditions, but Khimki leader had several days to recover.