Khimki survives ASVEL rally to win in OT
In a clash of two already-eliminated squads that needed overtime, Khimki Moscow Region prevailed 87-85 over visiting LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne at Arena Mytishchi on Wednesday night. In its last home game of the season, Khimki managed to build a promising advantage, 50-35, right after halftime, but ASVEL rallied in the fourth quarter and William Howard sent the game to extra time with back-to-back threes. Key baskets by Alexey Shved and free throws by Jordan Mickey allowed the hosts to celebrate in the end. Khimki improved to 4-27, while the guests dropped to 12-19 after their fifth loss in a row. Shved paced the winners with 32 points - 25 after halftime - and 4 assists, while Jordan Mickey put on a terrific performance of 28 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for a career-high PIR of 36. Sergey Karasev followed them and chipped in 10 points. Guerschon Yabusele recorded a monster double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds for a career-high PIR of 37, Moustapha Fall and 12 points, Amine Noua got 10 and 9 rebounds and Norris Cole had 10 and 9 assists in defeat.
Fall got the guests going with 2 strong dunks and 3 assists to push ASVEL to an early 4-10 lead. Mickey accepted the challenge and poured in 5 points in a 10-3 run to give Khimki its first advantage, 14-13, midway through the first quarter. Shved extended the margin from the line, but Derrick Walton nailed a corner three and Noua provided another one to push the visitors ahead, 20-22, after 10 minutes. Mickey kept rocking inside, having scored more than a half of Khimki’s total points, for a 33-27 advantage. Even though Fall replied from inside twice to make it a one-possession game, nobody else joined in for the visitors. A quick 9-0 spurt capped by a corner three by Shved helped Khimki build a double-digit edge at halftime, 42-31.
Shved came up big right after the break and extended the difference to 46-31. ASVEL needed almost 3 minutes to score a field goal, which allowed Khimki a comfortable margin even without displaying an efficient offense. Fall and Yabusele heated up to fuel the guests right before Cole showed up with a couple of jumpers that reduced the gap to single-digits, 54-46. Yabusele made it even tighter, but Shved took over with back-to-back triples and a pull-up jumper to cool Khimki, 62-50, after 30 minutes. Both teams got stuck on offense early in the last quarter until Walton drilled a three, Yabusele hit twice from the line and then assisted Noua for a dunk to make it 63-59. Things got even worse for the guests after a timeout, as Yabusele completed a three-point play and Noua provided 5 extra points that returned the lead to the visitors, 66-67, with 4 minutes remaining. Shved and Mickey came to the rescue and brought Khimki back in front, but Howard connected from downtown to get it all square, 70-70, entering the last minute. Sergey Monya seemed to have closed the game when he hit a three-pointer, but after Cole and Mickey traded free throws, Howard appeared again to send the game to overtime with a corner three with 1 second’ to go.
Yabusele took the reins for the visitors and made it 75-79, but missed 3 free throws in a row that gave Khimki an 82-81 lead behind a three by Shved and a short jumper by McCollum. That didn’t stop Yabusele, though, as he scored again from the line, then stole a key ball that gave ASVEL the opportunity of building a bigger gap. However, Noua missed a couple of free throws and Shved took advantage of it to put Khimki again in front, 84-83, with 28 second’ remaining. The game turned into a free-throw contest, as Mickey made 3 of 4 and ASVEL couldn’t get a shot on the last play
One half for each, and OT for both
Jordan Mickey and Alexey Shved combined for 60 points, becoming the key weapons for the hosts. The former scored 19 of his total 28 points in the first half, the latter got 20 of his 32 in the second. They joined together in overtime, combining for 8 of Khimki’s last 10 points.
LDLC ASVEL erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter and managed to take a 77-80 lead in overtime. But Derrick Walton missed 1 free throw, then Yabusele missed 3 in a row that allowed Khimki to avoid panicking. Two more mistakes from the line by Amine Noua ended up burying ASVEL’s hopes.
Khimki Moscow Region played its last home game of the regular season, as it visits CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos Piraeus in the next two rounds. Given that Khimki won’t pay the playoffs, this overtime was win was the best way to say goodbye to its fans.
In Round 33, Khimki Moscow Region will stay in Russia to play crosstown rival CSKA Moscow on the road on Friday, April 2. LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne will travel to Saint Petersburg to play against Zenit the same day.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021