By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Khimki Moscow returned to wins in EuroLeague by defeating fellow Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg 87-73 on the road to capture its fifth victory in seven games.
Devin Booker led Khimki with a EuroLeague career-high 20 points, plus seven rebounds. Alexey Shved added 19 points for the winning side, 17 of them in the first half of the game, along with five assists.
“I think we got better energy, and guys had a great effort on the court tonight,” said coach Rimas Kurtinaitis after the final buzzer. “This is the most important thing. We controlled more or less the entire game. It is a great victory.”
Austin Hollins was the only Zenit player in double figures thanks to his EuroLeague career-high 25 points. His team dropped to 2-5 after suffering its third loss in a row.
Following Shved’s barrage with 10 points in the second period, Khimki reached halftime up 43 – 52. Zenit closed that gap to two, 58 – 60, in the third quarter, but Rimas Kurtinaitis’ players responded with a 2 – 13 run to make it 60 – 73 early in the fourth period and establish a double-digit lead for the remainder of the match. Zenit
“The EuroLeague is a little bit different”
However, the game was not a walk in the part, according to Khimki’s Anthony Gill: “This year the EuroLeague is a little bit different, we have games that are closer together this year. Zenit is a great team, they have great talent on the team. We did not come out ready to play defense in the beginning and they hit a lot of shots. They are a EuroLeague team, every team in the EuroLeague is a great team. If you don’t play defense and you are not ready to go from the beginning, they can score a lot of points. That’s what happened. The second half we played a little bit better.”
On the other hand, Zenit coach Joan Plaza couldn’t be happy: “We also had too many turnovers again; that is something they like a lot. We were defending in the last part of the game like we were offending, meaning we were missing shots and we were giving them too many chances to run on a fast break and get easy buckets. They have talent, they have power, they have a bench, but we made it too easy for them to get this victory. We need to keep learning. We had four games in nine days, and we need to be able to control our tiredness and control how to manage these games. Khimki has a lot of good players, you can say they even got lucky shooting some three-pointers, but we have to focus on ourselves, on our weaknesses, how to fix it in the future.”
Photo credit: EuroLeague