Khimki Moscow Region kept pace with the Group D leaders by earning a dramatic 68-72 road win over Armani Jeans Milano on Wednesday after coming back in the final quarter from game-long deficits. Khimki's victory kept it in a three-way tie for first place with Real Madrid and Panathinaikos, all at 3-1. After being down 11 in the second quarter, Khimki fought back and ran off 10 unanswered points at the beginning of the fourth to swing the contest in its favor.The visitors then held off a furious last-minute charge by Milano to secure the win. Keith Langford led the winners with 17 points on countless fearless drives to the basket. Kelly McCarty seconded him with 14 points, including 3 huge triples in the third quarter, and Carlos Cabezas chipped in with 12, of which 11 came in the second quarter to pull his team back in the game. Morris Finely scored a game-high 19 for Milano while Marco Mordente and Jonas Maciulis chipped in with 11 apiece in the losing effort.
Both teams started the game shooting well. Maciulis opened the scoring with a nice turnaround bank shot. Cabezas answered with a quick three-pointer for Khimki. Milano's Alex Acker then bookended a three by McCarty with a pair of deep jumpers before Langford also hit from outside for the visitors. With the score knotted at 9-9, both teams then turned up their defenses and the offenses struggled. Fedor Dmitriev broke the dry spell with a three-pointer from the corner after some nice ball movement from his Khimki teammates. Stefano Mancinelli drove down the lane for the scoop shot, but Robertas Javtokas got 2 free throws to fall, putting Khimki up 11-14. Morris Finley drilled a wide-open triple from the wing for the hosts, and his teammate Marco Mordente added another from the opposite side next time down. After a Khimki miss, Finley pushed for a coast-to-coast layup to cap an 8-0 Milano run before Timofey Mozgov of Khimki lowered the difference to 19-16 after 10 minutes.
Langford sliced to the bucket for 2 points to start the second quarter, but Mike Hall responded immediately for the home team with a bank shot and moments later made a great block. Finley then drilled another three-pointer, and, after another defensive stop, Massimo Bulleri hit from the baseline. Khimki gave the ball away twice and Mordente hit a tough floater to cap the 10-2 run that gave Milano a double-digit lead at 29-18. Khimki head coach Sergio Scariolo called for time, and his players responded. Dmitirev drilled a three-pointer from the corner and Langford drove in for a hard layup. Bulleri hit a jumper from the foul line, but a back-to-back triples by Cabezas drew Khimki to within 33-29. Acker fed Mason Rocca for the score inside, but Cabezas got the foul line where he converted both attempts. Both teams came up empty on their last trips before halftime and Milano went into the break with a 35-31 advantage.
Mancinelli made a layup to get the third going for Milano, but McCarty hit right back with consecutive three-pointers to knot the score at 37-37. Maciulis stepped up and matched McCarty with consecutive triples of his own to regain the lead for his team. Langdon got to the line for 2 points, but Milano big man Marius Petravicius powered in a bucket from down low, 45-39. Khimki got 2 points from Javtokas at the foul line and McCarty drained his fourth three of the evening to bring Khimki back to within one. The game once again became a defensive fight with fouls coming more easily that field goals. Langford, staying aggressive, got to the line for a pair of foul shots, but Bulleri found his spot at the top of the key and swished a jumper. Khimki took the lead at 48-49 on another three by Dmitriev from the wing, but Mancinelli gave Milano the 1-point lead going into the fourth.
Khimki started the final period with a 0-10 takeover run. Javtokas scored in the post, Vitaly Fridzon made his first 2 points of the night with a jumper, and Raul Lopez drained a three-pointer to claim the 50-56 lead. Coach Bucchi called for time, but Milano stayed cold from the field and Fridzon nailed a three to extend the lead to 9 and force another quick timeout from Milano. Finley finally made a bank shot that cut the Khimki run but did not break the visitors momentum. Langford drove in and got a 2-plus-1 to push the lead to 52-62. Mordente hit a tough layup and then moments later made a three-pointer to keep Milano in the game. Javtokas scored a pair of free throws, but Finley answered with a tough reverse layup. After another defensive stand, Bulleri hit an acrobatic layup to pull Milano to within 61-64. McCarty then hit 2 free throws to give Khimki some breathing room. Finley bracketed a three by Langford with two long range bombs to cut the lead to 67-69. With 20 seconds left, Cabezas made 1-of-2 from the line. Finley was fouled intentionally, but the guard only made 1-of-2. Milano put Fridzon on the line with 10 seconds to play where he made both for the 68-72 win.
Thursday, November 12, 2009