Real Madrid stunned by Khimki, bottom of Group A

Real MadridThe Euroleague tipped off on Wednesday this week with a mouth-watering Group A clash between Real Madrid and Khimki Moscow Region in the Spanish capital.

This was of course a clash between the current Euroleague champions (Madrid) and the Eurocup champs (Khimki) and it lived up to its billing. Real Madrid was seeking revenge for losing to Khimki in Russia during round one of the 2015/2016 Euroleague season. However, once again Khimki proved resilient and managed to come away from Spain with a huge 82-85 win, completing a double of Los Blancos.

The result also had implications in Group A, with Khimki moving to 4-2 and still well on course to make it to the Top 16. As for Real Madrid, the defending title holders are now in very real danger of falling at the first hurdle as this defeat pushed them to the foot of the table, at least for the time being, with a 2-4 record. Madrid can still progress, but sooner or later the players need to wake up and it is getting increasingly probable that the club needs to now complete the remainder of the Regular Season undefeated.

Real Madrid vs. Khimki Moscow Region, 82-85
Over 9000 fans packed the Barclaycard Centre in Madrid and witnessed the teams trade blows throughout the first quarter. Both Los Blancos and Khimki swapped buckets during a frame that had nine lead changes, but before the close of the stanza Khimki, fuelled by Egor Vyaltsev, took a 22-24 lead into the first split. The visitors continued to press early in the second quarter and midway through the period opened a 10 points lead at 27-37. Real Madrid hit back to close the deficit and once again it was two points that separated the teams at a buzzer.

The halftime score of 42-44 suggested this would be a close game throughout, and so it proved in the third act, but it was the hosts making the early running. However, Madrid’s early third frame dominance soon snapped as Khimki fell into a groove again and retook the lead. The Russians more than anything else in this game showed that they are adept at leading and keeping a dangerous opponent at arm’s length. It was 63-66 through thirty minutes and in the fourth the guests continued percentage plays and keeping the perimeter closed, it was a tactic that proved enough to win the contest.

Tyrese Rice pressed Khimki with 18 points and 8 assists, while Alexey Shved rinsed 13 points in the win. James Augustine added 12 points for the Russians and Sergey Monia added 11 points.

Sergio Rodriguez topped five Real Madrid players in double figures with 17 points, but Gustavo Ayon stood out more with 14 points and 15 rebounds in a double-double performance.

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