Khimki will try to recapture its early-season winning form when it hosts ALBA Berlin, which has been on a roll recently. Khimki has lost four consecutive games and seen its record slip to 6-6 and the edge of the playoff zone. ALBA has won three of its last five and its most-recent defeat, last week on the road at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, went to overtime. This will be the first game between these teams in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Khimki power forward Anthony Gill and his ALBA counterpart Luke Sikma may not always be the players who capture the respective headlines when their teams play well, but there is no question that they are at the heart of their teams' efforts. Gill leads his team in rebounding (5.3 rpg.) and is shooting 52.4% on three-pointers, showing his inside-outside threat. Sikma also tops his team in rebounds (6.3 rpg.) and is an excellent three-point marksman (44.4%), while dishing 4.1 assists per game, too. If either team can slow down the other's power forward, it will have a substantial advantage.
Marching into three-point history
Khimki's Alexey Shved is the owner of the EuroLeague single-season record for three-pointers made with 107. However, ALBA's Niels Giffey is making three-point history of his own. Giffey has made at least half of his three-point tries in every game this season and is shooting an incredible 19 for 27 from downtown this season; that 70.4% is on pace to smash the record for most accurate season, which is currently held by Pawel Wiekiera of Idea Slask who made 18 of 30 threes (60%) in the 2002-03 season. Giffey's red-hot pace has also seen him take over as the most-accurate three-point shooter in competition history! He is now 38 for 75 in his 36 career EuroLeague games for a 50.67% success rate, which edges Fran Pilepic (50.45%). However, the top spot is fluid; if Giffey misses his next three-point try, his percentage will drop to 50%, which knocks him below Pilepic.
Keys to victory: Khimki
Alexey Shved is third in the league in scoring this season with 19.6 points per game, but it is when he is passing more that Khimki is at its best. Shved passes often; he is 10th in the league with 4.9 assists per game. When he has delivered more than 5 assists per game, Khimki is 5-0. When he has less than 5, Khimki is 0-4. Shved is such a difficult player to stop, but perhaps the key for Khimki in this game is Shved getting his teammates involved as much as possible.
Keys to victory: ALBA
ALBA not only leads the league in assists (20.1 apg.), but also in turnovers (14.7). In a game between high-scoring teams, every extra possession can be valuable. ALBA is also second in the EuroLeague in steals (7.4 spg.), so if the team can continue to amass steals and deliver assists while limiting its turnovers, it will be in a good position to claim a valuable road win.