Alba Berlin survived overtime at home to fight until the end of the regular season in Group C after registering a 90-83 victory over visiting Khimky in the German capital on Tuesday. Berlin raised its record to 4-5 while watching Khimki fall to the same, both taking part in a five-way tie for second place in the group standings with Hapoel, Lukoil and Oostende one game left. Alba almost missed out on the fun, but Khimky center Ruben Wolowysky missed 1 of his 2 free throws with 2 seconds left in regulation time, denying his team a comeback victory from 15 points down. Free throws early in overtime let Alba surge ahead before Chris Owens and Will Avery put the finishing touches on the victory. Those two finished with 20 points each to lead the winners, while Julius Jenkins added 18 and Sharrod Ford 10 plus 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. Khimky got 16 points from Kelly McCarty, 15 each from Ademola Okulaja and Melvin Booker, plus 12 from Maceij Lampe.
Owens was the hot-handed weapon for Alba in the opening minutes, hitting 4 jump shots by himself, which Khimki answered only with a triple by Booker. When Wolkowysky got the visitors within 8-7 with a layup, Alba got a pair of huge triples from Avery which were good for a 16-9 lead. Khimky tried a zone defense, but Alba continued to dominate the boards on both ends of the court to broaden the lead to 22-10 with Owens, Johannes Herber and Ruben Boumtje Boumtje at the end of the first quarter. Khimky opened the second quarter with Lampe introducing himself with a jumper and a layup. Alba's answer was the first triple of Jenkins as Owens had to sit with his third foul. Avery dished to Boumtje Boumtje for an alley-oop, but the crowd soon calmed down as Booker took over for Khimky, scoring a layup and assisting Vladimir Veremeenkos on a dunk. Lampe added two more layups to cut Alba's lead to 38-29 before a fourth triple by Avery opened Alba's final rush to halftime. He then stole to again set up Boumtje Boumtje, while young Nicolai Simon added his first triple and Ford dunked to send Alba to a 47-33 lead at the break.
Booker opened the third quarter with a triple to signal Khimky's intentions. He was answered by Owens hitting his first three-pointer for 52-40, but the game now became a lot more physical. Much more aggressive in defense, Khimky forced Alba to commit turnovers and take bad shots. But Alba still could rely on its own defense, too, and baskets became rare. Veremeenko scored 3 points and Jenkins 4 as the score hit 56-44, but after the four foul on Owens, Khimky took the game under control withb a smaller and quicker lineup. Okulaja, McCarty, Gianmarco Pozzecco and and Boris Gorenc combined to cut Alba's lead to 59-56 at the end of the third quarter. Okulaja, the Berlin native who grew up in Alba, completed Khimky's comeback early in the fourth quarter with an amazing 10 points in a row to give the visitors a 61-64 advantage.Alba hit back with more fastbreaks by Jenkins to take back the lead , but Booker was good for another huge triple to make it 67-69. Ford and Avery retook the lead for Alba at 71-69, by McCarty answered with 2 layups. The lead went back and forth as Owens hit his second triple for 75-73, but Okulaja knocked down his third at 77-76. Wolkowysky with 2 seconds to go had the chance to win the game with free throws, but made only one, forcing overtime.
The first minutes of the extra time were a free-throw contest, too. Herber, Avery and Owens pulled Alba ahead 82-79, then Owens put back an offensive rebound and Avery buried his fifth triple for an 87-79 Alba lead. Booker missed two crucial three-pointers that could have re-opened the game for the guests, allowing Alba despite 3-for-6 free-throw shooting by Jenkins, Nenad Canak and Avery to not only win the game, but even a potention tie-breaker against Khimky with a score of 90-83.
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Horst Schneider, Berlin