Khimki claim VTB United League title

Russian side Khimki claimed its first title in several years after defeating CSKA Moscow 66-64 in VTB United League final. Meanwhile the hosts of the Final Four, Unics Kazan, had settle with the third place.

Both finalists have changed their head coaches in the middle of the season and appointed Lithuanian coaches Rimas Kurtinaitis and Jonas Kazlauskas respectively.

While CSKA were under the pressure due to their poor performances this season, Khimki also wanted the trophy since they lost both meetings against CSKA in Russian league.

Neither side was able to score easily as the game concentrated on defence. Kurtinaitis’ Khimki were the first to open the scoring. They also limited CSKA to just 6 points during the first 10 minutes.

The score was tied 2:2 just before the middle of the first quarter. But then Thomas Kelati scored seven unanswered points to pull Khimki ahead.

CSKA’s struggle to find the basket continued until the second quarter. Russian champions found their rhythm in the second period and managed to take a two-point lead at one point thanks to a team effort.

Then Khimki went for a 8-0 run to finish the first half with a six-point lead. The third quarter was very tight as neither team build a lead larger than 5 points.

The final quarter featured a battle till the final buzzer as CSKA tried to tie the score. With 7 seconds left to play Khimki held a four-point lead but Jamont Gordon hit a desperate three-pointer to give a tiny hope for his team.

However, that wasn’t enough as there were only two seconds left to play. Andrey Vorontsevich fouled Travis Hansen with just a little over 1 second left to play. Hansen intentionally missed the second free-throw knowing that CSKA won’t have enough time to make a shot.

The third place game saw tournament host Unics Kazan take on the only Ukrainian side Azovmash. Unics, who claimed Eurocup title last week, won convincingly 95-75 to please the home crowd.