By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Valencia led from near-start to finish and was up by even 20 at the beginning of the second half en route to defeating Khimki Moscow 88 – 82 and improve to 10 – 6, a record that keeps them in the playoff zone.
Khimki, on the other hand, suffered its 14th loss in 16 games this season and remains the sole holder of the bottom spot of the standings. Τhe Russian club traveled to Spain without former NBA center Greg Monroe who was healthy, but the team decided not to use him.
Martin Hermannsson delivered season-highs 16 points and nine assists to pace the Valencia offense while scoring important points and dishing out key dimes down the stretch and when Khimki was pushing to try and come back in the game. Rimas Kurtinaitis’ players were down 51 – 31 early in the third period yet recovered quickly to make it a competitive affair again.
“Khimki played really well in the third quarter and they showed a completely different team in the second half,” Hermannsson said. “Thankfully we had a little bit of a lead after the first half and we were able to match it at the end and get the win.”
Khimki had actually made it a three-point game, 55 – 52 in just a couple of minutes, until going down by double figures again in the fourth period. They made another turnaround attempt but didn’t approach closer than six points.
“We got back into the game, but the difference from the second quarter was too big to win the game,” Kurtinaitis said.
Errick McCollum led Khimki with 16 points, Alexey Shved had 14 points and Devin Booker 11. For Valencia, Derrick Williams added 15 points, Bojan Dubljevic 11 while Mike Tobey posted 10 points and eight rebounds.
“If we want to stay at this level, we have to improve”
Valencia coach Jaume Ponsarnau wasn’t particularly pleased with how his team played despite the win.
“They changed the rhythm in the second half and forced us to stay focused. It was very important not to lose the concentration in the last quarter and we controlled the situation – even against their great scorers. And we won. We know we have to improve. If we want to stay at the level of the EuroLeague, we have to improve.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball