Three-point blitz ends Zvezda losing streak
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade used a three-point onslaught to overturn a double-digit deficit and beat Khimki Moscow Region 92-81 at home on Thursday. Khimki led for the first 29 minutes, but Zvezda battled back to go ahead, 62-60, with 10 minutes remaining and a flurry of long-range strikes saw the hosts pull clear in the latter stages. Jordan Loyd led the way with 22 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting and Dejan Davidovac made all 4 of his shots from beyond the arc for a total of 16 points. Corey Walden (15) and Ognjen Dobric (12) also scored in double figures for Zvezda, which made 16 of 22 three-point attempts. Khimki’s scoring came mostly from two players: Errick McCollom scored 29 points and Jordan Mickey contributed 27 in defeat. The win ended an eight-game losing streak for Zvezda, which improved to 8-21, while Khimki fell to 3-25.
Sergey Monia netted under the basket in a slow-scoring start and Mickey made it 0-6 with a pair of mid-range finishes. Loyd’s three-pointer got Zvezda on the board, but Mickey scored again as Zvezda’s offense stayed cold. Landry Nnoko’s dunk was canceled out by Mickey’s layup before Davidovac hit from three-point range and Khimki free throws made it 8-15 after 10 minutes. McCollom extended the lead to 10-19 before Loyd hit another triple and then added a mid-range jumper, but Mickey and McCollom stayed hot for a 15-24 lead. Dobric’s three was equaled by Sergey Karasev, and McCollom added a tip-in. Davidovac hit a fastbreak slam, but Karasev and Mickey scored inside to keep Khimki comfortable, 24-33. Walden took over with all the points in a 7-0 run, but Mickey rescued the visitors again. Branko Lazic hit from deep, before McCollom drove inside to beat the halftime buzzer and make it 34-38.
Karasev and Dobric traded triples at the start of the second half before McCollom also struck from deep and Vyacheslav Zaytsev scored 4 in a row to give Khimki a 39-48 lead. Mickey added another mid-range strike for a double-digit lead, completing a 0-9 run. A series of free throws brought Zvezda closer before Duop Reath and Walden hit triples to make it 54-56. Dobric tied it up with a three-point play and then gave Zvezda its first lead from the foul line. Davidovac hit a triple to make it 62-60 after three quarters. Uskokovic and Davidovac sent Zvezda further ahead, but Karasev, Mickey and Zaytsev struck quickly to tie it up, 66-66. Davidovac and McCollom traded three-point blows before another Davidovac triple was bettered by two scores from Mickey, 72-73. Free throws and deep threes from Loyd and Lazic sent Zvezda up 83-73 and another pair of Loyd deep strikes completed an 18-2 run to seal the outcome.
Zvezda’s inside shooting woes
Zvezda missed its first seven shots and failed to get on the scoreboard until more than 4 minutes had been played. The home side continued to struggle inside, making only 1 of its first 11 two-point shots and finished with just 9-of-28 inside the arc (29.1%).
Long-range shooting secures win
However, those two-point shooting troubles were more than compensated by Zvezda’s outstanding long-range accuracy. Zvezda went 16-of-23 from beyond the arc, only bettered by 17 against Real Madrid in December 2017. The conversion percentage of 69.6% was the best in club history.
Milestone night for Davidovac
Zvezda forward Dejan Davidovac reached the career milestone of 500 points in the competition with 16 points on perfect shooting, making both of his two-point attempts and going 4 of 4 from three-point territory.
Khimki returns home to welcome Valencia Basket for Round 30 next Friday. Zvezda travels to Panathinaikos OPAP Athens the same night.
Thursday, March 11, 2021