Today, the Euroleague Round 20 starts with the game between Khimki Moscow and Real Madrid. Both teams suffered losses in the last round, so this game should be a good chance to recover and to make their fans happy. In their last meeting in Spain, Real Madrid smashed Khimki with 104-76.
It seems that everything goes wrong for Khimki those days. In their last 6 games in all competitions, they managed to get only one victory, in VTB League against rivals CSKA Moscow. Last round, they receive the visit of another Spanish team Valencia, who came without their star Bojan Dubljevic and everybody expected a nice win from them. But, that wasn’t the case because Valencia played a very good and organized basketball, while Khimki forced a lot of shots from distance, scoring only 8 out of 30 attempts, including a 2-12 in the last quarter when everything was settled. In the end, Valencia got an 84-75 victory, causing a huge upset for Khimki’s fans. The main contributors for the home team were: Alexey Shved (18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists) and Anthony Gill (12 points and 4 rebounds). For this game will be out only the same players as in the game with Valencia, Mozgov, Kubanov and Vialtsev.
Real Madrid came in Russia short-handed because both Anthony Randolph and Rudy Fernandez miss both games, including this one. Those absentees are very important for Real because both can be a huge threat from the distance. Their last game against CSKA Moscow was only about defense, with both teams scoring under 33% of their field-attempts. At the beginning of last quarter, Real Madrid had a 3-point lead, but in the end, CSKA came out victorious 60-55. That’s only the second loss suffered by Real Madrid in last 14 games played in all competitions, while in Euroleague their 10 games winning run was stopped. Real has a very good and long roster, but on offensive end, missing Randolph and Rudy weigh a little bit too much, even for them. The main contributors for the Spanish team were: Trey Thompkins (14 points and 6 rebounds) and Facundo Campazzo (11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists).
Khimki must recover from their poor form and give a huge win for their fans, in order the keep them close to the team, because as I saw against Valencia, their fans didn’t make any atmosphere there. For Real, to come back from Russia to Spain with 2 defeats will be disappointing for them, so I expect a win from Real here.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc