Shved, Khimki hold off Zvezda
Khimki Moscow Region broke a three-game losing streak by beating Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 78-72 at home in Mytischi Arena on Friday. Both teams are tied with 10-14 records now and situated just below the playoff positions. Khimki dominated 28-18 after one quarter but Zvezda never gave up, got within 51-46 in the third, and saved the tie-breaker with a 0-9 run in the last 2 minutes of the game. Alexey Shved led the winners with 22 points and 9 assists, followed by Jonas Jerebko with 19 points and 8 rebounds and Devin Booker with another 13. Kevin Punter had another good scoring night with 20 points and Vladimir Stimac contributed 10 points and 6 boards for the losers.
A flurry of turnovers by both teams delayed the offenses from finding any rhythm, but Zvezda drew first blood with an early 2-7 edge, although Khimki reacted through Booker to make it 8-9. Janis Timma of Khimki and Lorenzo Brown of Zvezda traded triples before Jerebko arrived with 6 straight points to fire up the hosts. Shved took over with a pair of triples as Khimki took advantage of 9 Zvezda turnovers already to lead 28-18 after 10 minutes. Stefan Jovic added 4 points to the lead early in the second quarter, when the visitors were held scoreless for more than 4 minutes until Vladimir Stimac banked in a second-chance basket at 32-20. Jerebko hit a corner three before Punter hit back-to-back triples in a 1-9 that limited the damage for Zvezda to 48-36 at halftime. Shved nailed a difficult three-pointer after the break but those were Khimki's only points for 4 minutes. Zvezda reduced the gap to 51-41 on Lorenzo Brown's three-pointer. Branko Lazic followed with 5 points to make it even closer, 51-46, midway through the third quarter. Shved came to the rescue with a long three to which Jerebko added a layup and Timma a corner triple to rebuild Khimki's double-digit lead, 59-46. Shved fed Jerebko twice inside before the third quarter ended 64-51. Shved kept Zvezda at bay by burying another contested three when the visitors got within 68-59. His assist on Jerebko's three-point play made it 76-63 entering the last 2 minutes. The visitors hadn't said their last word, though, as a 0-9 run led by Punter made it a two-possession game with 20 seconds to go. Free throws by Shved ended up closing the game but Zvezda saved the tie-breaker.
Shved shows up
Even though Crvena Zvezda trailed for the most part of the game, it never gave up and knocked at Khimki’s door several times. But, every time it did it, Alexey Shved showed up with timely buckets and assists to lead his team.
Best defense this season
Khimki Moscow Region registered it season-best in defense as it only allowed 72 points by Zvezda. The hosts forced their opponent to 21 turnovers, 16 of them in the first half, to take a valuable home win.
Winning with eight
After losing Sergey Karasev because of an injury this week, Khimki Moscow Region had to squeeze its rotation. As many as six players had to sit out against Crvena Zvezda, but Rimas Kurtinaitis found a good response by the eight healthy players he used.
After a weeklong break for national cups, both teams return to EuroLeague action for Round 25 in two weeks. Khimki Moscow Region will play on the road as it visits AX Armani Exchange Milan on Thursday, February 20. Crvena Zvezda will play home when it welcomes CSKA Moscow the following evening.
Friday, February 7, 2020