Heurtel leads Barcelona to fourth straight win
FC Barcelona Lassa stayed strong to outlast Khimki Moscow Region 80-87 after an intense battle in the Russian capital. The visitors led nearly all the way but was pushed very hard by a determined Khimki team, with the hosts rallying from a double-digit deficit to make it a 1-point game before Barcelona pulled away in the latter stages. Thomas Heurtel inspired the victors with 18 points and 8 assists, receiving valuable help from big men Ante Tomic (16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) and Chris Singleton (16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals). As ever, Alexey Shved led Khimki with 27 points and 6 assists, while Tony Crocker added 17 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. It was Barcelona’s fourth straight win and improves the Spanish team to 4-2, while Khimki drops to 1-5.
Barcelona made a lightening start as baskets from Singleton, Tomic and Adam Hanga opened up a 0-6 lead to force Khimki into timeout. Khimki then started firing from long-range through Shved and Dee Bost, before Tomic responded with two more close range scores. Khimki’s fireworks continued with Anthony Gill, Crocker (twice) and Shved adding further three-pointers, but Victor Claver answered from deep and it was 23-19 after ten minutes. Barcelona edged ahead as Khimki remained scoreless for four minutes, and Heurtel netted 5 quick points to make it 25-30. Charles Jenkins got Khimki moving again with a three-point play and a three-pointer, and layups from Hanga and Tomic followed by a buzzer-beating triple from Bost tied it at 38-38 at the half. A tough layup and one from Tomic and a deep three from Heurtel restored Barcelona’s advantage, but Shved answered back with 5 points to keep it close. Shved’s fourth triple tied it at 48-48, but Singleton netted from downtown and Kyle Kuric laid up for another lead. A steal and tough layup from Singleton stretched the advantage to 53-62, the biggest of the game. Bost hit another triple to reduce the arrears, but a three-point play from Pangos secured a double-digit lead. Triples from Shved and Sergey Monia made it 71-74 midway through the final period, and a slam from Malcolm Thomas pulled it back to a one-point game. After Heurtel and Crocker struck from deep, Singleton threw down a slam and Tomic scored free throws to give the visitors a big enough cushion to edge home.
Heurtel hits top form
Heurtel enjoyed his best game of the season so far, starting on fire by dishing six assists in the first seven minutes. Later he turned into a scorer as well, and his importance to the win was reflected by the fact he ended up playing 27:44, his most minutes of the season and more than any other Barcelona player on the night.
Shved survives foul trouble
Another big night for Shved was in danger of being derailed when he reached 4 personal fouls with 14 minutes remaining. He spent the next five minutes on the bench before coach Georgios Bartzokas brought him back in, and he managed to stay in the game for the remainder of the action.
Khimki hot and cold from deep
Khimki based its offensive game on three-point shooting, making 39 attempts from long-range and only 19 from two-point territory. The results were mixed: 6 of the first 8 three-pointers were converted, but the next 6 were missed. In the end, Khimki made 17-of-39 from deep (43.6%).
Barcelona will look for a fifth successive victory with a road trip to Zalgiris Kaunas next Friday, while Khimki is also on the road to face Real Madrid.
Friday, November 9, 2018