After losing the previous two games, CSKA Moscow righted the ship in Week 4 by defending its home floor against the still winless Union Olimpija 79-69. The Russian champs improved to 2-2 in Group C behind 19 points from Trajan Langdon, who took sole possession of 10th place on the Euroleague’s all-time scoring list. CSKA visits Caja Laboral next week, while Olimpija seeks its first win when it hosts Lottomatica Roma. CSKA used a strong performance on both ends of the court to open an 18-point lead in the opening moments of the second quarter and then used its veteran savvy to hold off Olimpija’s repeated attempts at a comeback. Ramunas Siskauskas added 18 points and Viktor Khryapa filled in the playmaking hole left by the missing J.R. Holden, dishing out 8 assists in addition to scoring 10 points. Matt Walsh once again led Olimpija with 21 points while Saso Ozbolt and Edin Bavcic added 13 and 11, respectively, in the losing effort.
CSKA started the scoring with a three-point play from Dimitry Sokolov, but Bavcic used a screen to get a clean layup to quickly answer for Union Olimpija. Khryapa dished a nice assist to Zoran Planinic for an easy score inside and the CSKA guard added 2 more on a turnaround in the lane next trip down. Walsh and Langdon traded deep jumpers before Ozbolt swished another from midrange for Olimpija. Siskauskas and Ozbolt exchanged triples as both team lit it up from the field. Siskauskas scored inside and then drilled a three to give CSKA a 17-12 lead. CSKA turned up its defense and opened up an 11-point lead as Langdon nailed a three, Sokolov made 1 of 2 from the free throw line and Langdon swished a baseline jumper. Walsh made 2 foul shots to break the Olimpija dry spell, but Khryapa made a short jumper and Anton Ponkrashov nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to give CSKA a 30-15 lead after 10 minutes.
Both teams came out cold in the second quarter till Langdon drilled a three-pointer with a defender in his face to push the hosts’ advantage to 18. The CSKA defense continued to suffocate the Olimpija big men as Langdon drew a charge against Uros Slokar. Walsh finally scored a three-pointer to get Olimpija on the board. Sani Becirovic added a layup in transition and Slokar hit 2 free throws off another CSKA turnover to pull Olimpija to within 10 points. Siskauskas fed Ivan Radenovic for a layup, but then the CSKA star picked up his third foul and had to go to the bench. Khryapa got out on the break for a one-handed dunk, but Olimpija responded and cut the deficit to 7. Ozbolt sparked the run by driving into a crowded lane for a tough bank shot and Walsh capped the spurt with a three-pointer moments later. Sokolov was the recipient of a dunk after some good ball movement from his team and CSKA managed to reestablish its double digit lead at 44-33 going into the half on 2 free throws from Andrey Vorontsevich.
Ozbolt drilled a three-pointer to open the third quarter and Becirovic added a layup and a free throw to cut the deficit to 5 points as Olimpija tightened its defense and CSKA struggled to get into its offensive game. Langdon responded by moving inside for a layup, and, after consecutive giveaways by Walsh, Ponkrashov scored a field goal to give CSKA some breathing room. Ozbolt fed a pass to Slokar for a 2 points, but Siskaukas came back on the court to notched his 10th point on a layup, forcing coach Olimpija head coach Jure Zdovc to call for time with the score at 50-41. Becirovic hit from near, but Siskauskas drew a foul against Dusan Djordjevic while taking a triple and hit all 3 foul shots. Slokar went 1 for 2 from the line, but Langdon drained a three-pointer that made it 56-44. Bavcic hit back from long range, but Langdon stepped up and added 2 more from the foul line. Ozbolt hit another three, Khryapa answered with a dunk and Slokar made a jumper as the teams traded blows. CSKA went into the final period holding a 64-54 lead.
Siskauskas and Bavcic matched each other with three-pointers to begin the fourth quarter. Nikita Kurbanov threw down a dunk off an assist from Khryapa and Ponkrashov gave CSKA a 71-57 bulge on a layup moments later. Walsh finally managed to score for Olimpija, but CSKA could smell the win and would not let the challengers maintain any consistency on offense. Khryapa put the nail in Olimpija’s coffin with a huge three-pointer with five to play. Vidmar scored a basket-plus-foul and Walsh chipped in 2 free throws moments later to get the lead down to 75-64. Siskauskas answered with a layup, but Vidmar scored once again inside. Walsh added a point from the line to claw to within 10 points late, but it was CSKA’s night to shout victory.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009