Russia: Booker Focuses On Second Leg

16 March 2005

By Doug Booth, PA International

Melvin Booker is never happy when a job is only half completed.

The US-born BC Khimki guard was adamant that Tuesday's 95-85 win over Unics Kazan in the first leg of the FIBA Europe League quarter-final was already a distant memory.

"It means nothing. We have to win one more game for me to be totally satisfied," said Booker.

"I won't be pleased until we have won the series."

Khimki's Oscar Torres
Khimki blitzed Kazan with 38 final-quarter points and the 2004 champions face an uphill task if they want to defend their title.

Kazan have dominated in games against Khimki in recent seasons, and have claimed two wins over them in this year's Russian Superleague.

Booker reserved special praise for Venezuela guard Oscar Torres, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds.

"He must be one of the best players from Venezuela to play in Europe," said Booker.

"He's not just a great shooter. He's explosive and powerful all around the court."

Booker was at his best late in the game, sinking two efforts from outside the arc to give Khimki a 80-74 lead late in the final quarter.

Kazan point guard Shammond Williams scored a game-high 29 points and Booker admitted the New York-born sharpshooter, who turns 30 on April 5, is key to the Russia team's success.

"He is very difficult to play against because he can both shoot and penetrate," said Booker.

The two teams face each other again on Saturday in Kazan and Booker is hoping his side's shooting is spot on again as it was in Tuesday's final quarter.

"Our defence picked up when we started making our shots in the final quarter," he said.


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