Khimki forces semi decider against Lokomotiv

Khimki Khimki Moscow Region won Game 4 of its VTB United League semi-final series against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar to force a decider in Game 5. Of course, the winner of this series will face off against CSKA Moscow in the final after the Euroleague giant punched its ticket yesterday with a sweep over Nizhny Novgorod.

Lokomotiv had taken a 2-1 lead over Khimki in Game 3 and with the series heading back to Krasnodar the club had home court advantage as it sought to reach the final. However, Khimki Moscow Region defied the location to collect a 67-76 victory that means we will be treated to an all or nothing game on Saturday.

Khimki picked up the win thanks to superior scoring from the bench, nabbing 30 points from the side compared to 23 for Lokomotiv. The visitors also held the lead for much of the game and even contended with a gutsy Krasnodar outfit that was better in the paint on the night. The hosts struggled from beyond the arc and only hit two three pointer buckets during the whole game, a stat that really told down the straight as Lokomotiv mounted a mini comeback.

Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Khimki Moscow Region, 67-76
The first quarter was important as Lokomotiv looked to kill the series early, but Khimki beat the hosts at their own game to open a 19-22 lead through ten minutes. In the second frame the visitors went huge from downtown to reel off a 0-18 run and eventually win the period 9-28, a score that made it 28-50 through the long break. Khimki held a sizeable lead through halftime, but Lokomotiv has proved strong in the chase before and the home team won the third quarter 21-12 to cut the deficit to 13 points after thirty minutes, 49-62. The Railwaymen had the momentum now and made things nervy during the fourth act, but ultimately Khimki had too many points on the board and pushed to victory.

Marko Popovic led the winning effort with 16 points, followed Ruslan Pateev with 11 points. Tyrese Rice, Petteri Koponen, and Victor Claver all hit 10 points, with Claver also adding 8 rebounds.

Derrick Brown helped to push Lokomotiv back into the game with a game high 20 points, while Malcom Delaney drained 13 points and Krunoslav Simon added 10 points in the loss.

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