Khimki downs Milan, snaps road losing streak
Khimki Moscow Region snapped its eight-game road losing streak by downing AX Armani Exchange Milan 69-78 on Thursday night at Mediolanum Forum. Both teams now hold 11-14 records, but this win gave Khimki a regular-season sweep of Milan. Khimki took the lead for good with a 0-15 run early in the third quarter, and it never allowed the hosts to get closer than 4 points. Alexey Shved was the top scorer with 18 points plus 6 assists, while Jonas Jerebko collected 16 points and 12 rebounds. Devin Booker added 12 points plus 8 rebounds and Stefan Jovic scored 10 in victory. Sergio Rodriguez has 18 points and 8 rebounds for the hosts, Vladimir Micov added 15 points and Kaleb Tarczewski collected 12 points and 9 rebounds in Milan's third consecutive defeat.
Khimki started hot from long range, with Jerebko nailing a pair and Jovic a wide-open corner triple to help open an 8-10 lead. Micov hit a jumper and a triple for the hosts, but Shved answered with a triple and sparked a 3-11 run that had Khimki up 16-21 at the end of the first quarter. Back-to-back threes from Dairis Bertans and Janis Timma extended it to 18-27 early in the second, but Milan kept taking it inside as Michael Roll and Micov each hit runners before a floater from Rodriguez cut the difference to 29-31. A step-back triple from Rodriguez against Shved put Milan in front, 34-33 late in the second. A three-point play from Shved, and a last-second triple from Chris Kramer sent Khimki with 38-39 lead into halftime.
After hitting 7 triples in the first half, Khimki found success taking it to the rim in the third quarter with Shved, Jerebko and Booker each scoring twice, before Timma's three-pointer capped a 0-15 run to make it 42-54. Milan was held scoreless for almost 6 minutes, but Della Valle's three-point play sparked life into the hosts. Shved knocked down another triple and Khimki went into the final quarter up 51-59. Roll and Rodriguez halved the deficit at the start of the fourth, but a Shved-to-Booker alley-oop sparked a 0-7 run, during which Bertans nailed a triple and Khimki's lead was back into double-digits, 55-66 with 6 minutes to go. Milan attempted another charge, but could not get it going offensively. Baskets were few and far between. Rodriguez hit a triple to get Milan to 69-74 entering the final minute, but Booker answered with a close-range basket with 30 seconds left, sealing the deal.
Khimki held Milan without a basket for 5 minutes and 40 seconds, turning a 42-39 deficit into a 42-54 lead early in the third quarter.
Khimki shot 11 for 27 from three-point land, but an excellent 7 for 14 in the first half when six different Khimki players hit a triple. Milan, on the other hand, finished the night 3 for 21 (14.3%).
In a playoff race that is getting tighter with each passing round, Khimki's sweep of Milan could be of huge importance. Khimki also beat Milan 87-79 at home in Round 8.
Milan has now lost six of its last seven games. After starting the season with a 7-2 record, Milan has now suffered a defeat in 12 of its last 16 games.
Next week in Round 26, Khimki will be at home against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and Milan will travel to play Zalgiris Kaunas.
Thursday, February 20, 2020