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Olimpia is looking to get back on track with Khimki, Messina: “Patience is required, we need to be the team making the game”

24/02/2021
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Olimpia completes its eighth double round of the season by playing against Khimki Moscow on Thursday 25 February (8.45 pm, at the Mediolanum Forum). Milan is chasing the sixth victory in “Game 2” of a double round, even if this is a particular situation: the game is played three days after the previous one instead of the customary two and above all it is the first of the week for Khimki. Another intermediate milestone: by winning their 17th game, Olimpia would set the new club record for most wins in a EuroLeague season, which is 16 and is currently shared with the 2013/14 season team. Zach LeDay and Jeff Brooks are still out, but among the bigs Coach Messina can count on the addition of Jeremy Evans, who could make his debut against his former team. Khimki is built around the veteran Alexey Shved, the EuroLeague second-best scorer, first in assists, who is averaging 9.2 three-point attempts per game. Olimpia won the Moscow game because of a great offensive performance, led by Shavon Shields, who set his career high of 26 points.

COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “We know that we are facing a team coming from a difficult season, but there’s still a lot of scoring talent in Khimki, obviously starting with Alexey Shved. This is a game we need to play with patience, because nothing is given in sports, so we have to be the team that will make the game, not the one waiting for things to happen naturally.”

GIGI DATOME – “We approach this game with the goal to go back on our winning track. It’s going to be important to play with focus and physicality, because usually when we do that we also play good overall games, and we need one.”

THE REFEREES – Ilija Belosevic (Serbia), Mehdi Difallah (France), Tomasz Trawicki (Poland).

NOTES – Gigi Datome is third behind Kyle Kuric (Barcelona) and William Howard (Asvel) in the three-point shooting percentage, with 54.7 percent. Zach LeDay is fifth at 50.0 percent. Kevin Punter (the 9th-best EuroLeague scorer, averaging 14.5 points per game) has made at least one three in 31 of his last 32 EuroLeague appearances. Shavon Shields is eighth in three-point shooting accuracy, at 47.7 percent. He has made at least one three in 14 straight games. Michael Roll is ninth at 46.7 percent. Olimpia as a team is second at 41.99 percent, behind Zalgiris. Malcolm Delaney is six assists shy of 500 for his EuroLeague career.

MICOV ​​@ 100 – The next game in which he will enter the court will be the number 100 in the EuroLeague with Olimpia for Vlado Micov. He is the second to reach the triple digit in the club history after Kaleb Tarczewski (107) did it earlier in the season. Andrea Cinciarini is in third place with 88, Nicolò Melli has 82 and Mike D’Antoni is in fifth place with 77.

KHIMKI – Compared to the team that started the season there are no longer with Khimki, besides Coach Rimas Kurtinaitis, replaced by Andrey Maltsev, the power forward Jonas Jerebko and the center Greg Monroe. The Serbian point guard Stefan Jovic, the American guard Errick McCollum and the other American center Devin Booker, the second-best scorer behind Shved, have not played in the last few games. However, Jordan Mickey has returned (12.2 points per game), and veteran Anton Ponkrashov, who already made his debut in the previous round against Baskonia, has been signed to make deeper the Russian players’ core group which includes Sergei Karasev, Sergei Monia, Vyacheslav Zaytsev, Evgeny Voronov, Evgeny Valiev and Egor Vyaltsev. The two Latvians Janis Timma and former Olimpia shooter Dairis Bertans have a key role on the team

.THE KHIMKI CONNECTION – Dairis Bertans played the entire 2017/18 season in Milan, winning the Italian league and was there for part of the 2018/19 season. Bertans has also won the Super Cup in Milan twice. He left Olimpia to pursue an NBA career in New Orleans. In EuroLeague he scored the Barcelona winning shot in 2018. It should be noted that Alexey Shved was coached by Ettore Messina at CSKA Moscow from 2006 to 2009 and together they won the EuroLeague in 2008. Olimpia could also use Jeremy Evans, who played in Khimki during the last season.

KALEB TARCZEWSKI
PUNTER TO TARCZEWSKI
KYLE HINES