CSKA claims second place with derby win
CSKA Moscow clinched second place in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by dominating the Leningradka Derby against cross-town rival Khimki Moscow Region to win 72-80 on Friday. CSKA improved to 23-6 by winning its eighth of the last nine meetings against Khimki, whose record fell to 9-19 in its last home game of the regular season. CSKA staked game-long double-digit leads that peaked at 42-61 midway through the third quarter before Khimki tried to reel it back, getting as close at 68-76 before running out of time. Nando De Colo had 14 points, Kyle Hines 12 and Cory Higgins 11 for CSKA. Khimki got 17 points and 7 assists from Alexey Shved and 15 points to go with 4 blocks from Jordan Mickey, but suffered from 6-for-27 three-point shooting.
An early Shved triple gave Khimki a 5-2 lead before a series of dunks and put-backs by Daniel Hackett, Nikita Kurbanov and Hines let CSKA surge ahead 5-10. CSKA kept pounding the basket with new dunks by Joel Bolomboy and Will Clyburn to lead 15-23 after 10 minutes. Sergey Monia's triple and fastbreaks by Charles Jenkins and Tony Crocker got Khimki within 22-26. Despite Mickey heating up with 8 points inside, Bolomboy struck from deep before Hackett, De Colo, Hines and Andrey Vorontsevich closed out a 37-49 half for CSKA. Bolomboy and Shved exchanged triples to start the second half, but De Colo preceded his with 2 free throws as CSKA surged ahead 42-61 for its highest lead of the night. Mickey's three-pointer and 4 points by Vyacheslav Zaytsev let Khimki close the gap to 51-64 after 30 minutes. Vorontsevich struck from deep as CSKA lengthened the lead to 53-70. Khimki again lowered the difference, getting it to single digits for the first time in almost 15 minutes as Andrew Harrison scored 5 straight points to make it 65-74 with just under 3 minutes left. Monia closed the gap to 68-76 with a triple in the next-to-last minute. But De Colo was perfect at the line and Khimki's next miss ended the threat.
Another strong finish
CSKA has now placed first or second in all three EuroLeague regular seasons under the new 30-game format. Its best regular season record so far was 24-6 when it finished first last season. CSKA can match that in Round 30 next week.
With his team-high 7 rebounds on Friday, CSKA center Kyle Hines moved into 10th place all-time in the EuroLeague with 1,120 for his career, surpassing Mike Batiste, who had 1,117. His teammate, Daniel Hackett, dished 4 assists, giving him 502 in his career. He is the 27th in EuroLeague history to reach 500 assists.
Khimki's block party
Khimki's aggressiveness in trying to come back was highlighted by 10 blocked shots, the most in the EuroLeague since CSKA had the same number two years ago. Teams have recorded double-digit blocks just 12 times in in EuroLeague history; Khimki has three of them, more than any other team. The club record is 11 and the league record, held by Zalgiris, is 12.
CSKA hosts a potential playoffs opponent, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, next week in Round 30. Khimki hits the road to visit FC Barcelona Lassa in the very last game of the regular season.
Friday, March 29, 2019