| Real Madrid sent a message that echoed all around the continent by downing CSKA Moscow 78-82 in Group D in front of a sellout crowd at Universal Sports Hall in the Russian capital that included the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Madrid improved to 5-3 and almost put both feet in the Top 16. Meanwhile, CSKA dropped to 6-2, but stills leads Group D and had already qualified for the next stage. Felipe Reyes paced the winners with 19 points and 11 fouls drawn. Alex Mumbru added 14, Louis Bullock had 13 while Jeremiah Massey got 12 for Madrid. Trajan Langdon led CSKA with 14 points. J.R. Holden and Terence Morris each added 12 while Erazem Lorbek and Aleksey Savrasenko had 10 apiece for the hosts. Bullock shined early while a tip-in by Mumbru allowed Madrid to tie it at 20-20 after 10 minutes. Holden and Viktor Khryapa helped CSKA build a double-digit lead, 35-25, but Massey and Reyes brought Madrid back to regain a 41-43 margin late in the first half. Holden and Langdon stepped up after the break to give CSKA a 64-59 edge after 30 minutes. Madrid used a 0-10 run that Reyes capped with a floating jumper to get a 67-69 edge with four minutes to go. Bullock took over with consecutive three-pointers in the final two minutes to seal the outcome down the stretch.
Just as expected, CSKA started the game with very aggressive man-to-man defense and at the other end Savrasenko followed a layup-plus-foul with a power basket for a 5-0 lead. Bullock got Madrid going with a triple, but Morris immediately answered from downtown. Quinton Hosley joined the three-point shootout before Axel Hervelle tied the game at 8-8. Raul Lopez nailed a triple coming off a screen to cap a 0-8 Madrid run and give his team a 8-11 edge. CSKA called timeout and Morris stepped up with a layup, but Bullock fired in a long jumper. Holden was received with a warm ovation when he came off the bench for just the eighth time in 164 career Euroleague Basketball games. Langdon and a red-hot Bullock traded three-pointers, but the reigning Final Four MVP added a layup-plus-foul to tie the score at 16-16. Lorbek and Massey traded baskets, but a put-back layup by Langdon put CSKA back ahead, 20-18. A tip-in by Mumbru tied the game again, 20-20, after 10 minutes.
Holden buried a corner triple right at the start of the second quarter, while Madrid started to miss open shots. Lorbek scored down low for a 25-20 CSKA margin. Mumbru took over with a bomb from downtown, but CSKA had adjusted its offense. Khryapa and Morris nailed back-to-back triples to boost the hosts' margin to 32-23. Reyes shined with a power layup, which Khryapa bettered with a seven-meter bomb. Mumbru struck again from beyond the arc, but a floating layup by Holden helped CSKA to keep a 37-28 margin. Massey scored twice in the low post and then followed Reyes's outstanding low post move with a dunk off a steal to bring Madrid back to life at 39-36. Savrasenko scored down low off a CSKA timeout, but Massey answered with free throws. Madrid was a different team in defense at this point while a three-pointer by Marko Tomas tied it at 41-41. Free throws by Sergio Llull completed the guests' comeback, but a corner triple by Planinic restored a 44-43 CSKA edge at halftime.
Both teams struggled to score after the break until Morris sank a free throw for a 45-43 CSKA lead. Hervelle beat the shot clock with a three-pointer, but Langdon and Morris answered from downtown to restore a 51-46 CSKA margin. Madrid kept powering the offensive boards, but its shooters were off-target now. Holden sank his trademark mid-range jumper before a three-pointer by Lopez kept Madrid within 53-49. Lorbek took over with a turnaround jumper, as the guests tried to slow down the game tempo now. Reyes made 4 free throws only to see Planinic finish a long CSKA offense with a corner triple. Holden nailed another jumper, but Mumbru and Reyes allowed Madrid to make it a three-point game, 60-57. Lorbek beat the guests' zone defense with a layup and soon added a put-back basket to give CSKA some fresh air, 64-57. An alley-oop layup by Massey brought Madrid within 64-59 at the end of the third quarter.
Langdon fired in a bomb from downtown at the start of the fourth quarter as Madrid tried to attack the basket to get back in the game. Massey and Hervelle ignited the guests' comeback and Reyes scored in the low post to bring Madrid back to life at 67-64. CSKA kept struggling to score while a triple tied the game at 67-67 with six minutes to go. CSKA called a much-needed timeout, but Reyes capped a 0-10 run with a floating jumper that gave Madrid a 67-69 edge. Savrasenko stepped up with a layup, however Mumbru struck from way downtown for a 69-72 Madrid edge. CSKA lost control, as Khryapa committed a turnover and Langdon missed a seven-meter shot. Meanwhile, free throws by Reyes gave Madrid a 5-point lead with just under two minutes remaining. Zizis sank a triple, but Bullock immediately answered from downtown and soon he nailed another three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 72-80, allowing Madrid to return to the Spanish capital with a prestigious road win.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008