BC Khimki put an end to Real Madrid’s 14-game winning streak at home in the Euroleague. A meaningful victory for the Russian side and for many of its players who had never won in Madrid before. Like 31-year-old James Augustine. Always known as a defensive stalwart, the Illinois-born center came up with big plays in the fourth period and finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block. The former ACB player (Gran Canaria, Valencia and Murcia) couldn’t hide his satisfaction with a win that puts Khimki real close to the Top 16 and gives them bragging rights over the reigning Euroleague champion.
How much does this win mean for Khimki?
It’s a big one for us. We played hard. Paul (Davis) played hard. Marko (Todorovic) played hard. We fought the rebounds, which I think helped us win.
Your team has a great deal of offensive talent, but against Real you showed other virtues as well. Like good defense, energy and heart.
Yeah, and that was something we were missing in the last couple of games. The games that we lost, we didn’t have the same intensity. Against Fenerbahçe, they scored 50 points in the first half and we lost our identity. Intensity from everyone, that’s what we need on a daily basis.
Looking at your faces at the end of the game, hearing you celebrating big time in the locker room, it seemed to me this was more than a regular game for you guys. Wasn’t it?
Yeah, we wanted to play hard. We were all talking in the locker room, this is probably the first time any of us have won here. And we’ve all played here many times! So, it’s a big win for us, good time for us. Puts us in a good position. We’re happy.
Eurocup champions, plenty of Euroleague and NBA experience, depth at every position. Where’s your limit?
We got to take it step by step. The goal is always to win the Euroleague. We’re gonna work for that and we’ll see how it goes, but step by step.
This is your fourth season with Khimki. Can you talk about your role in the team?
My role changes every year. It may even change every game. Sometimes I have to rebound, sometimes I have to score, sometimes I have to play defense. But it is a team effort.
Any chance to see you back in the ACB?
Yeah, I’d love to come back. I live here in the summer time. Hopefully I’ll come back, but we’ll see. Year by year.