Ruthless Russians sink rivals in Euroleague
By Zoran Milosavljevic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Russian clubs enjoyed a perfect week in Euroleague as Moscow rivals Khimki and CSKA as well as Lokomotiv Krasnodar all won to move closer to the competition's knockout stages.
Khimki beat Barcelona 75-61 at home and Lokomotiv defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul 76-61 away on Thursday, after six-time winners CSKA celebrated an impressive 96-87 victory at holders Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Khimki were tied with Barcelona in Group F before the game with both sides having won four and lost four of their eight matches.
The Russians, however, blew away the twice former winners after taking a 19-point halftime lead and gained the upper hand in a tight race to reach the last eight.
Barcelona fought hard to get back into the match after the break but Khimki's ironclad defense restricted the Catalan side to only 20 field goals from 61 attempts.
"It was one of our best defensive performances of the season, we played tough from the first to the last minute," Khimki coach Rimas Kurtinaitis told www.euroleague.net.
Barcelona, winners in 2003 and 2010, now face an uphill battle to avoid an early exit in a fiercely competitive group after another lackluster performance.
Six-times winners CSKA stayed top of Group F, improving to 7-2 after five of their players scored in double figures, led by power forward Kyle Hines, who amassed 16 points. Continued...