Consider the rest of the VTB League officially put on notice. Khimki Moscow Region is taking no prisoners in 2019-20. So far, the Russian club has blazed a trail in the early rounds of the regular season to find themselves at the top of the standings with an impressive 4-0 record.
Their latest victim was Avtodor Saratov (0-2), whom they demolished on Monday night 84-101 on the road, no less.
While watching the action in the first half, you’d have no clue that the game would end up as a blowout. At the end of the first quarter, the back-and-for exchange of baskets ended up with a 22-23 advantage in favor of Khimki.
Very little changed in the second period, with both teams matching each other point for point. The scores stayed close at the halftime mark at a near deadlock 49-50.
The tides changed after the break. Thanks to some impressive sharpshooting on the side of Khimki, they managed to pull away and increased their lead to five points heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was when things just kept falling into place for Khimki. And by that, it meant their 3-point shots were finding their mark an alarming rate (at least for Avtodor). For the game, Khimki converted on 14-of-31 shots from long range, a stark difference to the 6-of-20 shooting from deep by Avtodor. From there, all hell broke loose and Khimki just steamrolled Avtodor via their 3-point bombardments.
Speaking of 3s, Khimki’s Janis Timma went thermonuclear as he sank 7 3-pointers en route to his game-high 27 points which also came with seven rebounds and four dimes. He was unstoppable. Alexey Shved flirted with a double-double, notching 18 points and eight assists.
Orlando Johnson paced the Avtodor squad with 21 points to his name, while teammate Mouhammadou Jaiteh secured a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards.
The VTB League is sporting a fresh landscape early on, with perennial powerhouse, CSKA Moscow finding themselves in unfamiliar territory with a 2-2- record. Khimki has displayed the foundational pieces and the system in place to be a formidable team to contend with in every league they’re competing in this season. That said, it’s early still and there’s a lot more basketball to be played in the VTB League, so we shall see how things pan out over the next several weeks.