ASVEL survives big Khimki rally
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne protected its home floor by surviving a big fourth-quarter rally to hold off visiting Khimki Moscow Region 92-88 on Thursday night. ASVEL was up by 19 points after the opening possession of the fourth quarter, but Khimki rallied to cut it to a single point. However, the hosts never relinquished the lead and prevailed in a dramatic final minute to improve to 8-8. Khimki also has an 8-8 record in a three-way share of seventh place in the standings. David Lighty paced the winner with 20 points and Jordan Taylor had 17 points and 8 assists. Adreian Payne added 11 points and Charles Kahudi 10 in the victory. Janis Timma netted 20 points on 6-for-11 three-point shooting, while Jeremy Evans and Alexey Shved each scored 15 points in a losing effort.
Khimki went ahead first behind Stefan Jovic and Timma, with Jovic dishing a pair of assists for corner triples from Timma to make it 10-14. ASVEL often went to Tonye Jekiri inside and downtown shots from Kahudi and Rihards Lomazs helped tie it at 22-22 late in the first quarter. Triples from Anthony Gill and a third three from Timma made it 27-32 for the visitors. Big man Adreian Payne hit a triple on one end and Shved knocked one down on the other before the hosts went on a run. Lighty and Taylor scored inside and Kahudi from the outside in a 9-0 run. A triple from Taylor put ASVEL up 43-39 and the hosts took a 50-45 lead into halftime.
Jonas Jerebko scored 6 points early in the third, but ASVEL had six different players score 12 points in less than 6 minutes, including driving layups from Theo Maledon and Taylor to take a 62-51 advantage. Back-to-back threes from Amine Noua and Payne extended it to 70-53 late in the third. The hosts increased it to 76-57 with a Lighty's dunk to open the fourth quarter, but Khimki charged back. Timma hit back-to-back triples and Evans added a three-point play to get within 78-70. Another three from Timma, his sixth, and a driving layup from Evans made it 80-75 midway through the final quarter. Maledon and Lighty gave the hosts some breathing room, but Chris Kramer hit a lucky triple and Evans nailed a jumper to get Khimki within 87-86. Taylor made a jumper to keep the hosts in front and then, with the score 90-88 and 9.6 seconds on the clock, Kramer missed 2 foul shots and ASVEL managed to cling on to a victory.
Free throws matter
For the night, ASVEL attempted 59 field goals and Khimki 60. Each team made 24 two-point shots and 9 three-pointers. The difference ended up being Chris Kramer missing his 2 free throws and David Lighty making his foul shots in the final seconds. ASVEL made 17 of 22 free throws, while Khimki finished with 13 of 18.
David Lighty tied his career-high with 20 points, despite shooting 0-for-4 from three-point range, which dropped his three-point shooting average to 44.7%. However, Lighty made a career-best 8 two points shots out of 9 tries.
Offense getting going
ASVEL entered the game tied for last in the EuroLeague with 73.1 points per game, but scored 50 before halftime and finished with 92 points for the night. ASVEL has scored 89, 93 and now 92 points in its last three home games after not scoring more than 84 in any game before that.
Khimki rallies Shved-less
Alexey Shved led Khimki with 15 points when he was subbed out of the game with 7:09 to go and ASVEL up 78-61. He never returned as the lineup of Chris Kramer, Stefan Jovic, Janis Timma, Anthony Gill and Jeremy Evans mounted a comeback and played until the final buzzer.
Next week in Round 17, ASVEL will get 2020 started by welcoming Real Madrid, while Khimki goes on the road to visit Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Thursday, December 26, 2019