Second-half defense leads Fenerbahce to win
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul recorded its second consecutive win by downing Khimki Moscow Region 89-76 at home on Thursday. Fenerbahce improved to 4-7 in the standings and dropped Khimki to 6-5. Luigi Datome led the winners with 20 points, Melih Mahmutoglou and Kostas Sloukas each added 19, Derrick Williams scored 12 and Ahmet Duverioglu had 10 for Fenerbahce. Janis Timma paced Khimki with 26 points, Anthony Gill scored 18 and Jonas Jerebko 10 for the visitors. Khimki led 44-49 at halftime, but Fenerbahce improved its defense after the break and held Khimki to just 6 third-quarter points. Sloukas, Duverioglu and an unstoppable Williams boosted the hosts' margin to double figures after 30 minutes and little changed after that as Fenerbahce kept a safe margin until the final buzzer.
Stefan Jovic fed Dairis Bertans for a triple and scored in penetration for an early 0-5 Khimki lead. Fenerbahce found answers from beyond the arc, as Mahmutoglou and Datome gave the hosts their first lead, 8-7. Devin Booker joined the three-point shootout and Gill dunked, but Sloukas struck three times from beyond the arc in an 11-0 run that boosted the hosts' lead to 21-12. Timma followed a triple with a layup before Mahmutoglou answered with 5 quick points to make it 26-17. Gill and Timma stepped up for Khimki and Vyacheslav Zaytsev buried a three-pointer to bring Khimki within 28-24 after 10 minutes. Datome rescued Fenerbahce with a step-back jumper, but Timma nailed consecutive bombs from downtown to tie it at 30-30. Datome followed a three-pointer with a basket-plus-foul only to see Jerebko and an unstoppable Timma tie the game again. Datome nailed a turnaround jumper and Williams bettered Evans's dunk with a big triple for a 41-38 Fenerbahce lead. Evans added a couple of layups to restore a Khimki edge. Gill hit a jump hook and Timma followed his fifth three-pointer with a driving layup that boosted the visitors' margin to 44-49 at halftime.
A tip-in by Duverioglou and an outstanding alley-oop slam by Williams ignited an 8-0 run that Mahmutoglou capped with a fastbreak layup for a 52-49 Fenerbahce edge. Booker and Timma tried to change things for Khimki, but Duverioglu and Datome kept the hosts in charge. Fenerbahce managed to stop Timma and Khimki's offense collapsed. Meanwhile, a jumper by Sloukas and a huge dunk by Williams made it a double-digit game. Jerebko scored down low, but Sloukas replied with a floater for a 65-55 Fenerbahce cushion after 30 minutes. Jerebko and Williams traded triples early in the fourth quarter, but Khimki started to find answers on offense from its big men. Booker took over with a tip-in and Gill added a three-point play that gave the visitors hope at 68-63. Joffrey Lauvergne dunked and Mahmutoglou struck twice from downtown to give Fenerbahce fresh air at 76-65. Gill stepped up with a three-pointer and Booker scored down low, but an unstoppable Mahmutoglou downed another triple and Lauvergne added a dunk off the steal that sealed the outcome, 83-70. Khimki did not recover in the final 4 minutes.
Mahmutoglou opened the floor for everyone with his shots from beyond the arc and had one of the best EuroLeague games of his career, stepping in for injured superstar Nando De Colo. He finished the game with 19 points - matching a career-high - on 2-of-3 two-point shooting and 5-of-7 from downtown. He added 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a foul drawn for a PIR of 20 - a new personal best.
Fenerbahce needed to send a message after the break and did it by improving its defense and playing with more intensity at both ends. An 8-0 run highlighted by Williams's ferocious alley-oop slam, one of the plays of the year, put Fenerbahce ahead for good, 52-49. Khimki never regained momentum, as Fenerbahce's intensity made the difference in the third quarter (21-6 in those 10 minutes).
Three-point shooting made the difference in the game. Khimki attempted 31 shots from downtown, hitting only 10 (32.3%). Fenerbahce took fewer attempts from beyond the arc, 24, but hit more shots, 13 (54.2%). That better shot selection made the difference in an exciting game.
Did you notice?
Timma set a new career-high, 26 points, but only scored 2 in the second half. His 24 first-half points allowed him to match his previous career-best effort in the competition - those same 24 points came against Unicaja Malaga while playing for Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, on December 7, 2017.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Friday, December 6. Khimki welcomes FC Barcelona and Fenerbahce hosts ALBA Berlin.
Thursday, November 28, 2019