CSKA Moscow took the big showdown in Group A by edging Montepaschi Siena 74-70 in an outstanding game in the Russian capital on Wednesday. CSKA extended its home-court winning streak to 19 Euroleague games at Universal Sports Arena and now leads Group A with a 2-0 record, while Montepaschi dropped to 1-1. Matjaz Smodis led the winners with 16 points. Theo Papaloukas added 12 off the bench, while Ramunas Siskauskas and Marcus Goree each had 11 for CSKA. Rimantas Kaukenas led Montepaschi with 19 points, helping his team to rally from a double-digit deficit in the final 11 minutes. Ksistof Lavrinovic added 16 for Montepaschi, which trailed 58-46 late in the third quarter. Outstanding defense and an unstoppable Kaukenas allowed Montepaschi to take a 67-70 lead with two minutes to go. Smodis stepped up with free throws and a jump hook for a 72-70 CSKA edge with 9.1 seconds to go. Terrell McIntyre lost the ball in Montepaschi's decisive possession and Trajan Langdon sealed the outcome with more free throws.
CSKA ran its offense through big Aleksey Savrasenko in the early going, as he followed a jump hook with a big basket in the low post. Montepaschi did not panic, however, as Lavrinovic answered twice from downtown and sent Savrasenko to the bench with two early fouls. He and added a free throw to give the guests a 4-7 lead. David Andersen hit a triple from the top of the key, but Montepaschi kept its momentum going. McIntyre stepped up with an acrobatic layup as CSKA entered the foul bonus midway through the opening period. The hosts even missed around the basket, while Kaukenas made free throws for a 7-12 Montepaschi lead. Smodis and Goree shined with consecutive layups, but another triple by Lavrinovic kept the guests ahead, 11-16. Papaloukas fed Goree for an easy basket and added a dunk over Ben Eze in a 7-0 run that Siskauskas capped with a triple, causing Montepaschi to call timeout at 18-16. Eze finished a third-chance Montepaschi offense with a floating layup that Papaloukas matched at the other end to give CSKA a 20-18 edge after 10 minutes.
Montepaschi continued to commit turnovers early in the second quarter, while Papaloukas took over with a driving basket, which Andersen followed with a put-back layup for a 24-18 CSKA lead. Eze banked in an off-balanced shot, but the guests kept finding it hard to score as CSKA's defense was as physical and well-adjusted as usual. Andersen had a block, which allowed Nikos Zisis to bury a triple from the corner, which led to Montepaschi calling timeout at 27-20. Vlado Ilievski stepped up with a driving layup and Shaun Stonerook nailed a triple from the right wing to get Montepaschi within 2. CSKA tried Langdon on Ilievski now, while Goree followed a baseline jumper with a three-pointer to restore a 7-point CSKA lead. Langdon and Zisis added respective driving baskets to give CSKA its first double-digit lead, 36-25, after a 9-0 run. Kaukenas took over with an eight-meter bomb and Lavrinovic added a layup-plus-foul in a 0-8 run that McIntyre capped with free throws to keep Montepaschi in the game, 36-33, at halftime.
Smodis got CSKA going in the second half with a baseline jumper, while Siskauskas added free throws, as once again Montepaschi struggled against the hosts' outstanding defense. Smodis paced CSKA with a a terrific move in the low post, which Bootsy Thornton erased with a layup. CSKA kept looking for its big men inside, as Andersen scored in the paint and soon added free throws on Lavrinovic's third foul for a 46-36 lead. Tomas Ress stepped up with a four-meter jumper and Thornton added a big basket to give Montepaschi some hope at 48-40. CSKA was getting to the line often, as Siskauskas and Papaloukas combined for 6 successful free throws, but Thronton and an inspired Kaukenas kept Montepaschi close, 54-45. Papaloukas provided a highlights with a huge driving layup and then fed Zisis for an easy basket to give CSKA a 12-point lead. Kaukenas and Lavrinovic made free throws and Siskauskas and Ilievski traded baskets to fix the score at 60-52 after 30 minutes.
Smodis opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer that helped CSKA restore a double-digit lead at 63-52. Eze stepped up with a second-chance layup and Sato added a turnaround jumper to get Montepaschi closer, 63-56. Papaloukas rescued CSKA with an easy layup, but Kaukenas matched it with a driving basket and soon added a five-meter shot to get Montepaschi back in the game, 65-60, with six minutes to go. Stonerook beat the buzzer with a triple, making CSKA call timeout at 65-63. Goree banked in a critical shot, but Eze erased it with a left-handed hook shot and Kaukenas buried a triple off the dribble to complete the guests comeback, 67-68, with 2:20 to go. CSKA did not find the way to the basket while an unstoppable Kaukenas added another driving layup for a 67-70 Montepaschi edge. Smodis stepped up with free throws and added a jump hook to put CSKA back ahead, 71-70, with a minute to go. McIntyre committed a turnover but Andersen missed free throws in the other end. Stonerook missed a three-point shot and Montepaschi quickly fouled on Smodis, who hit 1 of 2 free throws for a 72-70 CSKA edge with 9.1 seconds remaining. It all came down to the final play, but McIntyre committed another turnover and Langdon sealed the outcome with more free throws.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007