CSKA Moscow downs Khimki in VTB League semis opener

CSKA MoscowCSKA Moscow drew first blood in its VTB League semifinal series against Khimki Moscow Region by taking an 86-83 home win in Game 1 of the best of five series.

This is the semifinal contest most have been looking forward to, a clash between last season’s finalists, two Euroleague giants, and the only two winners of the VTB League in its eight year history. Of course, CSKA Moscow’s stats are more favorable considering the club is the current Euroleague champion, has won all but one VTB League season, and is hunting its fifth consecutive crown.

However, increasingly this competition is showing that it is filled with quality, and Khimki will provide a stern test to the Army Men as the series progresses.

CSKA Moscow vs. Khimki Moscow Region, 86-83

Khimki’s starting five produced big to keep the team in the game, scoring 57 points, but the club will need more from the bench in coming games … it could have made the difference here. It was an up and down game where the lead changed 14 times and the scoreboard was tied 7 times, but CSKA just managed to share the offence more productively.

Nothing could separate the teams during the first quarter as they traded buckets and locked the score 20-20 at the first buzzer. In the second period Khimki took an element of control with a 17-20 run that made it 37-40 through the long break. In the second half the game continued to be high quality and tight, with a 22-22 third act giving the guests a path to victory at 59-62 through thirty minutes. In the fourth quarter, CSKA finally found another gear and the hosts won the frame 27-21 to take the win.

Milos Teodosic started from the sides, but was instrumental with 27 points and 7 assists from his 31 minutes on the floor. Euroleague MVP Nando De Colo was quiet for CSKA Moscow, but Kyle Hines found his rhythm with 16 points and 5 rebounds.

Khimki’s power duo, Alexey Shved and Tyrese Rice stepped up, especially Shved who produced a game high 32 points for the losing effort. Rice offered 11 points and 6 scoring passes.

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