On this festive evening in February candidates for the championship medal, BC Khimki and UNICS faced off against one another in the Moscow Region Basketball Center. Leaving not a trace of doubt, not even for a second of who would take the lead, with the home team clinching a victory: 113-80 (28-12, 30-26, 27-18, 28-24).
Kazan’s UNICS 8-point disadvantage was surpassed by a wide margin. For the upcoming championship game, Khimki will host a game against Universitet Yugra on 16 March.
Top Scorers: Wolkowiski (22), Lampe (21), McCarty (20), Booker (14).
The dozen on Khimki’s roster for this game were exactly the same that played the last game, in fact for the third consecutive match. This did not happen even in the Far East tournament in Siberia, where 13 of Khimki’s players headed out to.
The stands were packed, with only minutes to tip off, but fans had already been fired up for over an hour anticipating the game. Kazan’s fans came on strong but a gradual Khimki buildup joined in on equal footing rocking the arena.
Khimki’s traditional starting line up: Booker, Fridzon, McCarty, Veremenko, Lampe.
Maciej Lampe opened the count gaining a rebound after a fumble by the opponent and later Melvin Booker took a shot from the arc. The first quarter then went on to witness Kelly McCarty and Vladimir Veremeenko also shot from the perimeter. With a 10-0 lead for the home team, UNICS Coach Antanas Sireika called a time out, and later Saulius Stombergas made an attempt from the 3-point line. Khimki’s players practically spun a web for the UNICS playmaker, Jerry McCullough. At the top of minute 4, Melvin took a mid-court shot and following Vitaly Fridzon’s free throw, the marker lit at: 17-3.
Change over time brought Gianmarco Pozzecco, Alexei Savkov, Rubén Wolkowiski, and Vladimir Diatchok on court. The visiting team was able to take control of the court and prompt the home team to call time out. After this minute, Rubén fired up. Four counter offensives forced UNICS to fumble, and Pozzecco, all over the court took the count to: 28-12.
UNICS received one minute to deliberate in a break, which brought on a different panorama in the game. The home team kept sweeping up points (rebounds were 13 to 5 over the first quarter). Wolkowiski and Booker shot a 3-pointer, and Khimki’s shots converted from the perimeter climbed to 5/7-. After the subsequent unsuccessful offense on the part of UNICs, Booker made a successful inside shot taking the score to: 42-22.
The second time out called by Sireika gave way to a rounded off score, and winning UNICS 6 points without an immediate comeback by Khimki. Lampe’s dunk forced Darius Lavrinovic to make his fourth foul. With 3.18 minutes on the clock for half time, and a long range pass by Pozzecco to Kelly McCarty who banked it in. Kelly gradually found his game and later Veremeenko made a spectacular jam. Lampe crowned this streak of 3-pointers with one from the perimeter at the siren’s blow. This shot made number 58 fror Khimki. UNICS, in this Russian Championship, hadn’t allowed more than a 50-point lead in the first half of a game, and with two rebounds per quarter, the visiting team toppled its record in the championship.
The ball came alive in the second half followed by a shot by Lampe, but the boys from Kazan then took possession of the ball. After the first 2.40 minutes of the third quarter UNICS were up 3 points, forcing Khimki Coach Kestutis Kemzura to call a time out, which did not immediately put the brakes on UNICS and both teams began to play out a more closed game, until Khimki opened it up, forcing UNICS coach to call a time out faced with: 69-46.
The downtime didn’t change much for the opponent, as Khimki blocked UNICS offense. Later, Vitaly Fridzon beat Lavrinovic -who earned his fifth foul — gaining a rebound and made a run banking a perimeter-line shot. The visiting team zone pressed, but did not make them gain and Ruben took the lead to 30 points for Khimki with a two consecutive 3-pointers.
At the start of the fourth quarter Vadim Panin busted Lampe’s face, which took him to the locker room, and Savkov punished the visiting team from the arc: 92-62.
Marco Pozzecco vaulted over the opponent like a post, and Kelly McCarty banked the 69th point (up to this moment UNICS had let a maximum 94 point difference with CSKA) after rebounding a fumble by Ruben, With 6.04 till game’s end Khimki’s new guard, Alexei Shved hit the court and Wolkowiski scored from the perimeter. The scoreboard lit up at 101 for Khimki.
Faced with a 38-point disadvantage, Sireika called a minute, but later, and for more than thee minutes until game’s end Khimki had five Russians on court with Timofei Mozgov playing pivot. The last quarter had the visiting team controlling the court, whose roster was pretty much the same as at the start of the game, though this did not change the final outcome by any means.