Shved, McCollum spark first Khimki win
Khimki Moscow Region finally gained its first win of the season by outlasting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 83-77 in a hard-fought game in the Russian capital. It was fiercely contested during the first three quarters, with neither team leading by more than the 8-1 advantage claimed by Khimki in the opening minutes. The lead swapped hands regularly and it was anyone’s game until new Khimki signing Errick McCollum inspired a charge midway through the fourth, and Zvezda could not respond. Alexey Shved led Khimki with a double-double of 15 points and 12 assists, but he was outshone by McCollum who gave Khimki a huge lift in the second half with 22 of his 23 points coming after the break. Jordan Mickey also posted a double-double for Khimki with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 5 blocked shots. Jordan Loyd top scored for Zvezda with 18 points, while debutant Johnny O’Bryant added 14 and Corey Walden netted 11.
Khimki netted the first three field goals for an 8-1 edge, before Loyd scored from deep and in penetration to get Zvezda moving. Jonas Jerebko netted his second triple but Zvezda bettered that with consecutive deep strikes from Walden and Branko Lazic for its first lead, 13-14. Taylor Rochestie and Emanuel Terry completed a 0-10 run, which was ended by a deep strike from Janis Timma. Defenses dominated the remainder of the first quarter, which finished 19-22 after free throws. Vyacheslav Zaytsev tied it up from deep, but O’Bryant scored in the low post for Zvezda’s first field goal in four minutes. Ognjen Kuzmic added another close-range score before defenses took over, with no field goals for nearly three minutes. Greg Monroe and Loyd traded baskets, before 4 straight points and a big block from Mickey tied the game at 30-30. Shved’s three-pointer sent Khimki in front, but threeballs from Rochestie and O’Bryant helped Zvezda regain the ascendancy. Shved then took over, netting 4 fast points to help make it 44-40 at the break. After the second half started with a flurry of free throws, Kuzmic’s open dunk and Lazic’s fastbreak layup sent Zvezda in front and Emanuel Terry’s fierce alley-oop protected that lead. McCollum scored 4 straight points to send Khimki ahead, 54-53, and he then penetrated to beat the third quarter buzzer for a 58-57 lead. O’Bryant and McCollum traded long-range blows as the start of the fourth, and another pair of scores from McCollum made it 66-60. Kuzmic tipped in to make it closer, but Jerebko and Timma kept Khimki ahead. McCollum another pair of triples for a 77-66 edge inside the last 3 minutes. The teams traded triples in the final minutes, including a couple from Walden, but Zvezda never got closer than 6.
Shved assists first, scores later
Khimki sharpshooter Alexey Shved orchestrated his offense to perfection in the early stages, registering 5 assists with 0 turnovers in the opening 5 minutes. He didn’t score his first field goal until the last three minutes of the first half, but then took off and nearly reached a double-double before half-time, pairing 11 points with 9 assists in the first half.
Defenses dominant after the break
The third quarter was fiercely contested with defenses dominating and nothing being given easily. Khimki particularly struggled initially, only scoring 8 free throws with no field goals in the opening 7:30 of the second half. Zvezda then had similar problems at the start of the fourth, scoring only 3 points in the first 4 minutes as Khimki established a platform to go on and win the game.
O’Bryant impresses on debut for Zvezda
Errick McCollum was the star man in Khimki’s win, but he wasn’t the only debutant to catch the eye: Johnny O’Bryant also impressed on his first EuroLeague game for Zvezda after signing until the end of the season a few days ago. The former Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv forward provided 14 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor.
Khimki will be on the road next Friday to take on Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul for Round 7, while Crvena visits FC Bayern Munich on the same night.
Friday, October 30, 2020