BC Khimki played against Lietuvos Rytas in Final Eurocup — 74-80. Kelly McCarty led Khimki with 20 points. Carlos Delfino added 16 while Timofey Mozgov and Vitaly Fridzon each had 11 for Khimki.
Mozgov led a 2-10 run that allowed Khimki to get an eight-point lead, 24-32, early in the second quarter. An unstoppable Delfino allowed Khimki to extend its margin to 35-44 at halftime. A three-pointer by Maciej Lampe made it a 12-point game, 39-51, but an 8-0 run brought L. Rytas back to life, 47-51. McCarty stepped up to restore a 49-62 margin late in the third quarter. Arturas Jomantas and Babrauskas fueled a 17-0 run that put L. Rytas ahead, 66-62. It all came down to the final 2 minutes, as a three-point play by Delfino tied it at 71-71. Petravicius, Eidson and a critical triple by Babrauskas allowed L. Rytas to celebrate an incredible win in come-from-behind fashion. Mindaugas Lukauskis became the second player to win two Eurocup titles, something that only Edu Hernandez-Sonseca — Madrid 2007, Joventut 2008 — did before. Coach Rimas Kurtinaitis also won his first European club title, as he lost two finals in the mid-eighties as Zalgiris' legendary shooter. As such, the most successful club in competition history is ready to play the 2009-10 Euroleague, sealing its ticket once again through Europe's second competition.
L. Rytas started on fire, with Eidson burying a hang-time three-pointer and Petravicius scoring a reverse behind big Timofey Mozgov for a 5-0 lead. McCarty downed a triple before a put-back layup by Petravicius and then scored one floater in the lane as Khimki isolated him one-on-one against Arturas Jomantas. Mozgov made free throws while Fridzon stole and finished a fastbreak layup and a 0-6 run for Khimki's first lead, 7-9. Petravicius was unstoppable, however, downing an off-balance power layup and the foul shot that came with it. Eidson buried his trademark stop-and-pop jumper at 12-9, but a layup-plus-free throw by Mozgov tied it again. Zavackas and Fridzon traded triples, as Khimki tried to use Anton Ponkrashov on Eidson, just as expected. Zavackas went inside next for a driving layup, but Khimki's Mike Wilkinson copied him on the other end, tying the game again, 17-17. L. Rytas sub Milko Bjelica shined with a layup-plus-free throw as L. Rytas gave Eidson some rest. Delfino sank a floating layup while a free throw by McCarty helped Khimki forge another tie, 20-20. Bjelica provided a highlight with a two-handed dunk but Ponkrashov matched it with foul shots to fix the score at 22-22 after 10 minutes.
Early in the second quarter, Delfino sent a message with a smooth, long, three-pointer, but Bjelica scored again to keep L. Rytas within 24-25. McCarty joined the three-point shootout while an unstoppable Mozgov added a put-back power layup for a 24-30 Khimki lead, the game's biggest so far. L. Rytas used a timeout but kept missing shots, while Mozgov added to the lead with foul shots. Zavackas revived L. Rytas with a running triple, but Delfino ws ready with an answer, a seven-meter bomb high over his defender that boosted Khimki's lead to 27-36. Khimki had managed to make Eidson uncomfortable enough that the L. Rytas offense stalled, so head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis called another timeout and got Petravicius involved again, rolling off a high-post pick for a layup. Delfino was not done, however, and provided the highlight of the weekend to that point by swooping to the basket for a windmill dunk over two L. Rytas defenders. With Khimki charged up, Garbajosa fed Mozgov for an easy dunk that made it a double-digit game, 30-40, for the first time. Fridzon hit free throws that Petravicius counter-balanced with an open dunk on another feed from Eidson. Lukauskis hit a backdoor layup to give L. Rytas some hope at 35-42, but Garbajosa's free throws let Khimki keep a solid advantage, 35-44, at halftime.
Maciej Lampe stepped up with a second-chance layup immediately after the break for Khimki's highest lead yet, 35-46, but Petravicius copied him in the other end to lower the difference to single digits. L. Rytas had improved its defense, not allowing Khimki to score in transition, but Garbajosa shined with a turnaround jumper that Jomantas matched with a driving layup. L. Rytas only managed to trade baskets now and could not get Eidson involved either. Lampe took advantage with a triple from the left wing that gave Khimki a new high lead of 12 points, 39-51, after 24 minutes. Khimki had opted to slow down the game tempo but could not get better shots now. Meanwhile, free throws by Petravicius and Steponas Babrauskas gave L. Rytas some hope at 42-51. Babrauskas kept pacing L. Rytas with a corner triple while a power layup by Petravicius gave his team an 8-0 run and prompted a Khimki timeout at 47-51. Khimki found a go-to guy in McCarty, who downed a big three-pointer and added free throws to keep his team out of trouble at 47-56. Eidson and Ponkrashov traded foul shots while McCarty buried another shot to restore an 11-point Khimki margin, 49-60. Fridzon shined with an electric backdoor layup but L. Rytas was not done. Bjelica scored inside, Jomantas had an incredible block on Lampe's dunk attempt before free throws by Babrauskas kept their team within 53-62 after 30 minutes.
L. Rytas needed a quick comeback to keep its title options alive and Babrauskas tried to ignite it with free throws. Garbajosa and Fridzon missed from downtown while Jomantas followed a close basket with a five-meter jumper to make it a three-point game, 59-62. Jomantas kept pacing L. Rytas with a running jumper that made Khimki call a much-needed timeout, 61-62. Khimki had been scoreless for more than 5 minutes already before a wild triple by Babrauskas coming off the screen completed his team's comeback, 64-62. Babrauskas kept it going with a high-flying tip that capped a 17-0 run with L. Rytas ahead 66-62. Finally, Khimki became unstuck as McCarty buried a mid-range jumper, although free throws by Eidson kept L. Rytas up 68-64. Fridzon scored off an inbound pass but Babrauskas gave his team a 69-66 edge with 4 minutes remaining. McCarty nailed another mid-range shot while Mozgov had a key block on Eidson that forced a 24-second steal. Petravicius, however, scored inside but a three-point play by Delfino tied it at 71-71. Petravicius a made foul shot and grabbed a key defensive rebound allowed Eidson to bury a critical jumper, 74-71, with 58.4 seconds to go. A corner triple by Babrauskas sealed the outcome, 77-71, allowing all L. Rytas fans to celebrate one of the most incredible come-from-behind wins in European club basketball history!
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Javier Gancedo, Eurocupbasketball.com