Cibona crushed BC Khimki 82-63
Cibona registered its first win in Top 16 Group H by thrashing BC Khimki Moscow Region 82-63 in Zagreb, Croatia on Wednesday night. Cibona, that had lost 3 consecutive games each by just 3 points, improved to 1-4 in Group H but will run out of chances to make it to the Top 16 if Caja Laboral beats already qualified Olympiacos in Greece tomorrow. If Olympiacos wins, however, Cibona has a slim chance to advance, but it needs to beat Laboral next week and expect the Reds to down Khimki. Meanwhile, Khimki dropped to 2-3 and needs to beat Olympiacos next week to keep its chances alive, regardless of other scores. Jamont Gordon paced the winners with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added Euroleague career-bests of 22 points on 6-of-6 three-pointers and 9 rebounds. Marko Tomas had 15 points for Cibona. Keith Langford had 16 points for Khimki while Kelly McCarty added 10. Gordon had 12 points in the first quarter to lead Cibona to a 20-17 edge after 10 minutes. Cibona changed the game with a very effective 2-3 zone defense that made Khimki go scoreless for more than 6 minutes. Meanwhile, Gordon, Bogdanovic and Tomas fueled a 17-0 run that put Cibona ahead for good, 52-35, right after the break. Nothing changed since that moment, as Bogdanovic kept hitting one three-pointer after another and Cibona managed to keep a double-digit lead all the way until the final buzzer.
Gordon got Cibona going with free throws, as Cibona tried to isolate him against Carlos Cabezas in the early going. Khimki could not get Robertas Javtokas involved so the guests opted to attack the basket. Langford scored in penetration but Gordon answered from downtown and added a wild driving layup for a 7-2 Cibona lead. The hosts kept playing aggressive at both ends and a red hot Gordon provided a highlight with an off-balance three-point play. Javtokas tried to change things with a layup. An exhausted Gordon went to the bench but free throws by Tomas kept Cibona way ahead, 12-4. Raul Lopez scored in transition and Jankunas struck from downtown to bring Khimki back to life, 12-9. Bogdanovic got the crowd involved with a fast break dunk that McCarty matched with a mid-range jumper. Vitaliy Fridzon took over with a followup layup but Tomas answered with a turnaround jumper, good for a 16-13 Cibona edge. Dalibor Bagaric and McCarty traded free throws, as Cibona switched to a 2-3 zone defense that Timofey Mozgov beat with a put-back layup. An off-balance jumper by an unstoppable Gordon allowed Cibona to get a 20-17 lead after 10 minutes.
Khimki kept struggling to find its big men early in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Cibona found a new go-to guy in Bogdanovic, who followed a seven-meter bomb with a fast break layup to make coach Sergio Scariolo call timeout at 25-17. McCarty beat the hosts' full court pressure with a three-pointer and Lopez added a mid-range jumper to get Khimki as close as 25-22. Cibona tried to slow down the game tempo but didn't find good shots now. McCarty downed his trademark corner triple to tie the game, 25-25, after a 0-8 run. Gordon fed Luksa Andric for an alleyoop layup and soon added free throws to give Cibona some fresh air at 29-25. Robert Troha took over with a reverse layup, as Khimki could not find answers against the hosts' zone defense. The guests called timeout but a catch-and-shoot corner triple by Tomas soon made it a nine-point game, 34-25. Khimki had been scoreless for more than 4 minutes already and free throws by Andric gave Cibona its first double-digit lead. Khimki had missed 8 consecutive shots and committed 5 turnovers against the hosts' zone defense. Gordon set the crowd on fire with a high-flying driving layup and soon added free throws for a 15-point Cibona lead, 40-25, at halftime.
Cibona switched to man-to-man defense after the break but Khimki kept struggling to find open shots. The guests, however, had started to play more aggressive in defense. As such, both teams went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Tomas sank a five-meter jumper that capped a 17-0 run. Cabezas stepped up woth a left-handed driving layup that Andric matched with a put-back basket. Tomas stayed on fire with another mid-range shot and Bogdanovic buried one from downtown to boost his team's lead to 49-27. Khimki did not improve his offense off a timeout until Langford nailed a three-pointer. Gordon took over with a stop-and-pop jumper and fed Leon Radosevic for a layup that broke the game open, 53-30. Jankunas tried to ignite the guests' comeback with free throws and Frdizon struck from downtown for a 53-35 Khimki deficit. Mozgov soon added a layup in transition to make Cibona stop the game at 53-37. Khimki was all over the place in defense, while Mozgov dunked it and Fridzon added free throws to get their team within 53-41, after a 0-11 run. Bogdanovic downed a big triple and even Langford hit free throws, Tomas answered in the same way to fix the score at 58-43 after 30 minutes.
Khimki needed a quick comeback to keep its options alive but the hosts improved their defense early in the fourth quarter. Andric shined with an up-and-under layup and soon split free throws for a 61-43 Cibona lead. Langford kept trying to change things for Khimki but a corner triple by Bogdanovic sealed the outcome, 64-44, with 8 minutes to go. Samo Udrih shined with a driving layup that made Khimki call timeout at 66-44. Jankunas sank a jump hook. as Cibona already tried to run the game clock down. Bogdanovic - who else? - nailed his fifth three-pointer in as many attempts and then matched Langford's layup-plus-foul with another shot from downtown, good for a 72-50 Cibona lead. Free throws by Tomas made it a 24-point game, 74-50, as both teams fought for points differential now. Langford kept pacing Khimki with a driving layup and soon added a three-pointer to get his team within 76-58. Cibona called timeout to avoid tie-break related problems and a three-pointer by Gordon allowed Cibona fans to celebrate that their team stayed in the playoff race at least for one more day.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010