CSKA, with a dominant 86-63 decision over Caja Laboral
A strong show of experience vaulted CSKA Moscow to an no-doubt-about-it 86-63 home victory over dangerous Caja Laboral to open their Quarterfinal Playoff on Tuesday. The two teams meet again in Game 2 of the best-of-five series on Thursday, also in Moscow. CSKA put on a defensive masterpiece, holding Caja Laboral below 50 points in the game's first 33 minutes while enjoying big double-digit leads throughout. One factor in that defensive performance was rebounding, a 36-22 advantage in which CSKA limited Caja Laboral to just 4 offensive rebounds - and therefore as many second chances - all game! Although experience counted, young power forward Andrey Vorontsevic paced five double-figure scorers for CSKA with 15 points and pulled down 7 of those rebounds. A lesser scorer, Zoran Planinic, was nonetheless key with 7 rebounds and 7 assists at point guard. Viktor Khryapa made 4 of 5 three-pointers for 14 points to follow Vorontsevich. Ramunas Siskauskas added 13, Trajan Langdon 11 and Sasha Kaun 10. The CSKA defense let no Caja Laboral scorer surpass 11 points, a total shared by Mirza Teletovic and Fernando San Emeterio. The only good news for the guests was that Tiago Splitter returned after a lengthy injury absence with 10 points.
Laboral head coach Dusko Ivanovic placed Pau Ribas and Walter Herrmann in his team's starting lineup to guard Planinic and Siskauskas, respectively. Herrmann got the guests going with an easy basket that Langdon matched with a mid-range shot. Planinic shined with a driving layup off a steal as Laboral struggled to get easy shots. A fast break layup by Langdon caused Laboral to call timeout down 6-2. Siskauskas finished a four-chance CSKA offense with a bomb from downtown that capped a 9-0 run. Carl English tried to change things with a triple, but a power layup by Kaun kept CSKA in control. Laboral did not panic, however, as English sank a seven-meter bomb and Teletovic bettered Siskauskas's fast break layup with a huge shot from downtown to get within 13-11. Marcelinho Huertas shined with his trademark floating jumper that Kaun matched with a layup. Teletovic pushed Laboral with a turnaround jumper that tied it at 15-15. Langdon hit free throws and Siskauskas scored off an inbounds pass to put CSKA back ahead. Khryapa joined the three-point shootout and a driving layup by Vorontsevich sent the crowd to their feet at 24-17. An acrobatic layup by San Emeterio got Laboral within 24-19 after 10 minutes.
Tiago Splitter stepped up with an easy layup early in the second quarter as Laboral tried to speed up its offense with him and Lior Eliyahu together on court. Vorontsevich took over with a wild put-back dunk as CSKA improved its ball circulation with twin point guards - Planinic and J.R. Holden. Khryapa downed his second three-pointer and Holden also struck from downtown to give CSKA its first double-digit lead, 32-21. Vorontsevich capped a 10-0 CSKA run with a layup as San Emeterio tried to change things with a driving basket. Siskauskas copied him at the other end as CSKA opted to slow down the game tempo through an outstanding Holden. San Emeterio and a red-hot Siskauskas traded baskets as Laboral kept trying to get Splitter involved without much success. Langdon downed a jumper off a screen, good for a 40-25 CSKA lead. Herrmann shined with an acrobatic one-handed jumper, but Vorontsevich matched it with a six-meter shot and soon added a big triple to break the game open, 45-27. Khryapa capped a 7-0 run with a layup in transition, as CSKA was all over the place in defense. English scored coming off the baseline, but a layup by Planinic fixed the halftime score at 49-29.
Planinic fed Kaun twice inside for a layup and a slam as CSKA reasserted its dominance at the start of the second half. Laboral's only early basket came on a Teletovic steal and layup. Khryapa answered that with a triple from the top of the key that stretched the lead to 25. Kaun took a seat with three fouls, but CSKA did not let up. Triples from San Emeterio and Herrmann were essentially nullified when Khryapa also hit from downtown. Brad Oleson joined the three-point party, but Laboral could not score in transition and the CSKA defense continued to shine, never letting the visitors close to the 20-point margin. Holden continued CSKA's romp with a steal and assist to Vorontsevich and then a three. Teletovic with 4 points from the line from three straight possessions was Laboral's only scoring threat at that time. Langdon's off-balance jumper at the third-quarter buzzer was ruled late, but still the hosts had a 70-44 cushion with 10 minutes to play.
Despite the huge deficit, Laboral continued to plug away. Oleson converted a basket-plus foul and Splitter broke away for two baskets inside. At the other end, Dimitry Sokolov had CSKA's only score. After Splitter brought his team within 21, Langdon connected on a triple from the wing to reestablish CSKA's control. Vorontsevich flew in for an acrobatic layup in transition that sucked any remaining fight out of the visitors. In the closing minutes, Laboral tried to work Splitter back into shape and CSKA gave its reserves a taste of the victory as the local fans saluted their heroes for an impressive start to the Quarterfinal Playoffs.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010