the Most unfortunate of our basketball “sisters” – clearly, “Zenit”. The St. Petersburg club finally said goodbye to the dream about successful debut in the elite tournament. Neither rich even by the standards of Euroleague budget, nor a solid selection of players, no change of coach (in mid-February, the Spaniard Joan Plaza was replaced by his compatriot Xavi Pascual) did not save him from the status of an outsider: after five consecutive defeats (the last two on the stage from a modest German “Alba” and “Bavaria”!) the team settled on the last, 18th place in the table.
Meanwhile, CSKA, as expected most hardened Russian representative in the Euroleague and recall it to the current champion, solves other tournament tasks. Although CSKA can’t brag of stable game (that’s on Thursday Itoudis and To hurt in the last seconds lost at home to a direct rival “Barcelona”), has practically secured a spot in the playoffs. However, there is an important caveat: if they finish in the regular season in the top four, having the home-field advantage in the 1/4 finals. At the moment, the results of the 26th round, CSKA left the Quartet of leaders, behind Maccabi.
and finally, the “Khimki”. Our third participant of the Euroleague lives in this regular season, perhaps the most interesting, intriguing life. A successful start (4 wins in 5 matches), prolonged downturn, with a lot of injuries and sometimes hurtful lesions (for example, in Athens from Olympiacos, when at the last minute, missed 9 points advantage, or at home with the outsider “Zenith”), unexpected defeat one of the tournament favourites real Madrid… a Team led by Rimas Kurtinaitis, to honor for yourself, the game overcame the crisis and was back in the race for the playoffs. Victory in the last three rounds – proof.
Very important, you might say, a turning point was the game in Milan last week. After defeating one of the competitors in the fight for the playoffs, Khimki players cheered, gained the necessary confidence. In this spirit the team had a Friday home match against “Villerbanne”: Alexey Shved (24 points + 13 assists) with partners made uniform defeat of the French – 108:79! So effective and convincing (“+29” at the end of the match) “Khimki” in this season of Euroleague haven’t played.
– you Need to play this way every time, this is an example of how to win matches – rightly said after the game the leader of the “Khimki” and today the second sniper of Euroleague (average 21.2 points) Alexey Shved.
– the Team did a great job, both in terms of energy and in terms of commitment to the protection, – said the head coach of “Khimki” Rimas Kurtinaitis. – Despite a big gap from the beginning, we played as if there was a tie. Glad that the team understood what I want from her. Frankly, I expected more from the opponent, but I would not say that they played bad. We played well. A very important victory, because in the standings, many teams now have identical performance. We need home wins, Hatami want to win and away.
“Khimki” markedly improved their position in the standings, returning to the zone of the playoffs and today occupying the seventh place in the table (12 wins in 26 matches – the same number in the asset reaching close to the Spanish “Valencia” Turkish “Fenerbahce”). With every game completely changed the team closer to its goal: to paraphrase all of the same Chekhov’s three sisters, “In the playoffs! In the playoffs!”.