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Khimki (Russia) defeated Astana (Kazakhstan) on the road, 91-69, in a rescheduled Week 17 contest. Moscow Region was significantly better throughout the game and put its opponent away by the third quarter. Khimki picks up its first victory in Astana in three attempts and extends its record winning streak to 15 games.
A slower tempo dominated in the first quarter, with most of the offense running through the paint. Khimki was a little more creative than Astana (which struggled against the Russian defense), helped out by January MVP James Augustine’s early advantage over opposing center Olaseni Lawal. The visitors had lost in their two previous visits to the Kazakh capital and made it clear in the opening period that they hoped to turn over a new leaf, leading 22-11.
Early in the second quarter, Astana found itself in deep trouble. Two quick baskets from Augustine and Sergey Monia extended Astana’s deficit to 16 points, 27-11. Aleksandar Trifunovich, not surprisingly, called for time. It looked as though the home team, all fired up to snap Khimki’s 14-game winning streak, had forgotten how to execute. The Serbian coach likely advised his men to calm down and play their own brand of basketball. Whatever he said, it worked. Janis Blums scored soon after the break, starting up an 8-0 run for the home team. Astana may have made drawn closer, but Khimki’s perimeter shooters got hot again at the end of the period to retain an 11-point lead, 44-33, at halftime.
Turning Point
The Kazakh champions were determined to build on their momentum after the break… but the visitors had other plans. Khimki captain Sergey Monia began the quarter with three straight 3-pointers! Egor Vyaltsev (another 3-pointer) and Mickael Gelabale (3-point play) also chipped in. The scoring burst pushed Khimki’s lead back to 18 points. Khimki continued to shoot away from outside the rest of the game, while Astana appeared to accept its defeat to the league leaders even before the start of the fourth quarter.
Khimki wins in Astana on its 3rd attempt and stretches its winning streak to 15 games.
Star of the Game
Sergey Monia. The versatile forward sparkled from beyond the arc against Astana. His 3-pointers essentially guaranteed another win for Khimki. It should also be noted that Monia picked up seven rebounds and four assists.
Stat of the Game
30 – number of Khimki team assists. That’s tied for 5th-best in VTB United League history.
Top Performers
Astana: Janis Blums – 21 points; David Simon – 11 points, six rebounds; Dmitriy Klimov – 11 points; Lonniel Rush – 10 points.
Khimki: Sergey Monia – 19 points, seven rebounds; Petteri Koponen – 19 points; Marko Popovic – 14 points, six assists; James Augustine – 12 points; Egor Vyaltsev – 11 points, five assists; Mike Green – two points, five rebounds, nine assists.