CSKA is currently on a three-game winning run and another victory on Friday would secure the team home-court advantage in its upcoming playoff series. If Anadolu Efes Istanbul and AX Armani Exchange Milan were to both lose on Thursday, however, CSKA would already have that goal met and this game would be about finishing as high as possible for the hosts.
CSKA coaches are counting on the same players who flew to St. Petersburg. Joel Bolomboy (ankle injury), Mike James (suspended by head coach) and Nikola Milutinov (shoulder injury) will not play.
Khimki players have long lost their chances of reaching the playoffs, they now can only dream of avoiding an all-time lowest number of wins in the regular seasons (5, Darussafaka, 2018-19).
Janis Timma, Devin Booker and Stefan Jovic are still on Khimki roster, but all those players have not played for a long time.
Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA head coach:
This is a series of back-to-back games that we play, so evidently we have to take care about stamina and we need everybody's readiness to help. We played so many times against Khimki, they have certain talent, great scorers and creators like Shved, McCollum, Mickey. At the same time Ponkrashov, Zaitsev, Vialtsev and the rest of the players do support [their leaders], they spread Monia... A lot of experience out there, Khimki is our rival. We know that this is a EuroLeague game, we are on the good track, so we need to give it all tomorrow.
Semen Antonov, CSKA forward:
Khimki needs no introduction, and tomorrow we will have another Derby of Leningradka within the Euroleague. It is clear that the opponents have problems with absences, but in the recent games - against Asvel, against Zenit in the VTB League - they show that it is not a matter of absent ones, but of those guys that are in the squad. We need to focus on their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, we count on the support of the fans, we will try to win in order to solve our next tasks. Now we have made only the first step, we got into the playoffs, now we need to earn the advantage of the home court to make it a little easier in the playoffs.
Khimki players Alexey Shved, Sergey Monia, Evgeny Voronov and Egor Vialtsev all played for CSKA. Shved played parts of seven seasons for CSKA between 2005 and 2012 and won the 2008 EuroLeague with the club. Monia spent three seasons with CSKA and Vialtsev two.
Nikita Kurbanov and Voronov defended Lokomotiv-Kuban colors in 2014-15 season.
Janis Timma was a teammate of 4 Army Men: he played for Baskonia with Toko Shengelia and Johannes Voigtmann (2017-18) and for Olympiacos with Janis Strelnieks and Nikola Milutinov (2018-19).
Khimki interim coach Andrey Maltsev coached CSKA juniors for past 15 seasons.
Thirteen different players have appeared in CSKA's starting lineups so far this season. Only Nikita Kurbanov has started every game.
Johannes Voigtmann has made at least 1 three-point shot in 17 of his last 18 games.
Semen Antonov needs 17 points to reach 500 for his career.
Games of 2020-21 season:
09-Nov-2020. VTB League. Regular Season. Khimki – CSKA: 86-78 (-8)
11-Dec-2020. EuroLeague. Regular Season. Khimki – CSKA: 87-96 (+9)
15-Mar-2021. VTB League. Regular Season. CSKA – Khimki: 92-73 (+19)
Khimki Moscow Region
Colors: blue, yellow
Home court: Moscow Region Basketball Center (3,500), Arena Mytishchi (7,000)
President: Dmitry Golubkov
CEO: Pavel Astakhov
Interim head coach: Andrey Maltsev
Trophy Case: 2-time Eurocup winners (2012, 15), Russian Cup winner (2008), VTB United League champion (2011), 9-time Russian League runner-up (2006, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18), Russian League bronze winner (2007), Russian Cup finalist (2006), FIBA-Europe Cup finalist (2006), Eurocup finalist (2009)