Caja Laboral routs CSKA by 21 to force Game 4
Caja Laboral Vitoria avoided elimination and continues to fight for a Final Four berth after tying a franchise playoff record of 15 three-pointers in a 93-72 rout of CSKA Moscow in Game 3 of their best-of-five playoffs series at Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria, Spain on Wednesday night. CSKA suffered its worst defeat in playoffs history, but still holds a 2-1 lead in the series. Laboral hosts Game 4 on Friday, while a potential Game 5 would be played next week in Moscow. Laboral took the lead for good in the first quarter with triples from Nemanja and Milko Bjelica and pulled away in the second quarter with a 13-1 run that got them to 32-17 lead. With some impressive defense that held Sasha Kaun and Viktor Khryapa scoreless, and after Thomas Heurtel’s run of 8 points just before halftime, Laboral took a 19-point lead into the break. The hosts cruised to a big victory in the second half, with their lead reaching as many as 34 points before CSKA cut it in the fourth quarter. Heurtel bagged 21 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting, while Milko Bjelica had 15 points in 15 minutes on the floor, shooting 3 for 3 behind the arc. Nemanja Bjelica had 13 points and 7 rebounds, all in the first half, and Andres Nocioni chipped in with 10 points in victory. Nenad Krstic scored 12 for CSKA, Vladimir Micov and Aaron Jackson each had 11, while Sonny Weems and Zoran Erceg scored 10 apiece in defeat.
First quarter: Bjelica and Bjelica push the hosts in front
Neither team scored for almost two minutes at the start of the game before Weems nailed a jumper to start the scoring. Nocion made a fastbreak layup to open Laboral's account, but offenses struggled early on and baskets were few and far between on both ends of the floor. Weems drove baseline for a dunk and 4-4, but Milko Bjelica and Nemanja Bjelica each nailed a triple, and 2 free throws from Nocioni put the hosts up 12-4. With some physical defense, Laboral kept CSKA without a field goal for more than four minutes, before Milos Teodosic snapped the visitors’ scoring drought with a jumper. He added couple of foul shots to the tally, but Nemanja Bjelica sank another triple for 15-8. However, in the final 50 seconds of the quarter, Krstic scored from close range and Teodosic from long range, cutting it to 15-14 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: 17-3 run puts Vitoria in control
Nemanja Bjelica hit a jumper to open the second quarter and Heurtel drove for a layup and 19-14. Krstic and Tibor Pleiss traded baskets inside as both teams seemed to get into their offensive rhythm, but the hosts pulled away. Fernando San Emeterio made 2 foul shots and Nemanja Bjelica’s tough floater extended Laboral’s lead to 25-17. With emotions starting to run high, Teodosic and San Emeterio got into a face-to-face argument, and Laboral coach Zan Tabak was awarded a technical. But, in between those two, San Emeterio hit a long jumper, Maciej Lampe made a shot from close range, and Nemanja Bjelica nailed his third shot from behind the arc for 32-17. CSKA’s only field goal in the final nine minutes of the half was a jumper from Weems for 34-21, but before the quarter’s end Heurtel got red-hot, sinking a couple of triples and a jumper and giving the hosts 43-24 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Laboral builds a 33-point lead
Erceg opened the third quarter with a layup, but Nocioni’s triple and a pair of fouls shots from Milko Bjelica made it 48-26. After a layup from Teodosic, Lampe answered with a basket inside, before Fabien Causeur made layup, then missed additional free throw, but grabbed his miss and nailed a triple for 55-30. Krstic tried to get the visitors going with a basket-plus-foul, but back-to-back-to-back triples from San Emeterio, Milko Bjelica and Omar Cook extended it to 70-37. Aaron Jackson finished the quarter with a layup, making it 70-39 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Triples rain down as hosts wrap up win
Milko Bjelica nailed a triple to open the fourth quarter, and Vladimir Micov answered from downtown for the visitors. With minds already on Game 4 and most of the starters already sitting on the bench, Dmitry Sokolov, Erceg and Anton Ponkrashov all scored baskets inside, and Micov hit another triple for 77-52. Tibor Pleiss scored three times inside for Laboral, including a basket-plus-foul, to help keep the margin in the 20s, while Sokolov made a dunk and Erceg and Jackson nailed triples for the visitors, 84-62. Micov made a layup and Ponkrashov hit CSKA’s fifth triple of the final quarter, but the game was already out of hand for the visitors. Heurtel and Jackson traded triples, before Heurtel rounded out the scoring hitting twice more from long range.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013