It will be a duel between two teams that have said goodbye to playoff options in Istanbul when Darussafaka Tekfen welcomes Khimki Moscow Region on Wednesday. Darussafaka remains in last place with a 3-23 and lost 10 of its last 11 games while Khimki lost its slim chances last week at home against Real Madrid enlarging its losing streak to four games now, for a 9-17 record.
Earlier this season
This will just be the second time these two teams meet in the EuroLeague, as Khimki won their previous encounter in Russia by one single point, 85-84, in Round 14. Alexey Shved was already injured in that game so Dee Bost led the way with 19 points and Andrey Zubkov and Jordan Mickey had 15 apiece. For the guests, Michael Eric and Ray McCallum had 13 points apiece. With 13 seconds to go, Jeremy Evans left Dacka leading by one point, 83-84, but in the last second of the game, Mickey hit two free throws that gave the win to the hosts.
Michael Eric and Jordan Mickey have been two big men making a big splash in their respective EuroLeague debuts. Eric has led Dacka under the boards with 11.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 25 appearances this season, 16 of them as a starter for the Istanbul team. Mickey comes off the bench for Khimki, averaging 14.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 24 appearances this season. As it happened in Round 14, expect these two players to be in a duel that will have a major impact on the outcome of the game.
Keys to victory: Darussafaka
If Darussafaka wants to give its fans some EuroLeague joy it will have to try to diminish the 18.6 assists per game that Khimki is averaging so far. The guests also lead the league in steals however (7.6 spg.) so the hosts will have to work hard on both ends of the court. On top of that, Shved has been long back from injury and will now play in this game, so Darussafaka will have one more problem to deal with. Pride is at stake.
Keys to victory: Khimki
The last time these two teams met, Toney Douglas had not signed for Dacka yet, so Khimki will have a new obstacle in front of it. Also, the guests have the second weakest register in rebounds in the league, so they will have to crash the boards in order to cut their deficit against Dacka under the glass (34.4 to 29.8 rpg.). Khimki should probably keep the hosts away from the paint and have them shoot threes, since Dacka has the weakes numbers in the league from that distance (30.6%).