By Johannes Berendt

For a club that was founded less than 10 years ago (1997), BC Khimki has tasted some early success. They have wasted no time to establish themselves in the top Russian league. Last year, they finished second only to cross-town rivals CSKA in the league and Cup. They also reached the final of the FIBA EuroCup, falling 88-63 to DKV Joventut.

Friday´s fixture will be their first clash with an NBA team. They will certainly turn to their four former NBA players to get the inside scoop on the Clippers. Guard Melvin Booker played for Houston, Denver and Washington, center Pavel Podkolzin logged six games for Dallas between 2004 and 2006 and Ruben Wolkowisky also appeared in 41 games for Seattle in 2000-01. And then there´s Oscar Torres, who averaged 6.0 points for the Rockets during the 2001-02 season and also played for Golden State.

Naturally, there´s a strong rivalry between Khimki and CSKA, which should make Thursday´s clash in the Universal Sports Hall an entertaining affaire. This season won´t be the same, however, as captain and national team forward Alexander Petrenko tragically died in a road accident in July.