Williams and Tobey put Valencia in trouble for the Top-8

Number 2 in the draft (18 points and 4 rebounds) and center Taronja (12 + 9) lead a hard-fought victory, number 16, against bottom Khimki.


Valencia Basket had a trap in Moscow that they solved not without problems. The triumph is not one more. He is number 16 and equals in eighth place with Zenit (one game less) and Baskonia. And now he has four commitments left, of which three of them will be at La Fonteta. It was a correct victory for Valencia in which Derrick Williams (18 points and four rebounds) put the showtime on. The Californian scored up to five dunks in the contest. With this attitude, there is still time to rejoin the group in the final stretch of the season. Tobey (18 + 4) was fundamental in the second half, hitting the zone and catching a key rebound. The bad news, Van Rossom, who retired with a sprained ankle.

It was a stone-breaking match against Khimki without any pressure and in which some of his players, such as the Americans McCollum and Mickey need to show off to have a Euroleague contract next season. Valencia had its ups and downs, like the one seen when the match was almost won (52-71, min. 33). A 16-2 run got Khimki into the game and the basket was getting small. At 68-73, with one minute remaining, and a failure by Prepelic, a saving offensive rebound by Tobey was key because on that play two free ones by Kalinic sentenced the duel.

Cost a lot. And that Valencia Basket came out with the intention of finalizing their match against bottom Khimki on the fast track. With a reborn Derrick Williams (7 of the first 9 taronjas points, with a triple and two dunks) and a Kalinic scraping everything that happened near his territory, in defense, the visitors launched themselves with the first advantages. Khimki could not find the way to the basket and Valencia moved the ball and had good shot options. Then the anarchic McCollum came out and added from here and there avoiding the taronja escape. But just in the last attack of the first act, a triple from Pradilla made it 17-27, the maximum until then.

Valencia smelled the blood and the second unit gave a new pull with a 2-8 inning that put the maximum advantage (19-35, min. 12) until then. But this second was going to be a quarter of a set. A 7-0 with Zayshev playing Shved brought the Russians closer but a triple from Prepelic and a basket from Williams put things in place. At that moment, Labeyrie missed an incomprehensible mate and Valencia seemed to collapse mentally. Another 12-2 run, with Karasev and Mickey doing damage, put Khimki in the game (38-42, min. 19). Two free of Prepelic left him at +6, at halftime.

Ponsarnau's command in the dressing room was clear: look for Tobey in the painting. The Russians were inches short under the rim and the American could hurt. No sooner said than done. The bases started to find him and Tobey started spawning inside to break a 2-3 zone that the Russians used for quite some time. Al Khimki was starting to run out of gasoline. Kalinic, Sastre and Williams began to punctuate each Russian pass. It was the beginning of the getaway. Another mate from the number 2 of the 2011 draft put Valencia at 49-58 and the wind facing the end of the third quarter.

A partial 3-13 for the taronjas at the beginning of the last act, with Tobey abusing a Mickey who was more determined to do his numbers than to wear himself out defending a 'seven feet' like the American. With 52-71, with seven minutes to go, Valencia lowered the blind. Too soon. Khimki still gave a final arreón, with a partial of 16-2, which could cost dearly. In the end, Kalinic, with two free games, and Williams, with a past hoop, definitively grabbed the victory.

Photos from as.com

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