CSKA Moscow finished the 2010 Euroleague Basketball season in third place after holding off Partizan Belgrade 90-88 in a memorable overtime thriller on Sunday at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in the French capital. CSKA was led by its old guard as Trajan Langdon produced a record scoring night and J.R. Holden sank a game-winning three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in overtime to secure a tough win. Langdon finished with 32 points – setting a club record for points in a Final Four game and ranking seventh all-time. He also climbed to third place on the career Final Four scoring table with 172. Sitting in second on that chart is Holden with 194. The all-time leader is Nikos Gallis with 231 points. Holden finished this game with 12 points. Viktor Khryapa added 17 points, Ramunas Siskauskas scored 13 and Andrey Vorontsevich 10 for the Russian champs. Partizan, which became the first team to lose two overtime games at the same Final Four, got 16 points and 8 rebounds from Lawrence Roberts. Aleks Maric and Dusan Kecman added 15 apiece, Jan Vesely and Bo McCalebb had 12 each and Aleksandar Rasic. McCalebb forced overtime with a coast-to-coast layup in the final seconds of regulation and then Partizan went up 4 in the extra session, but was unable to protect the lead down the stretch and CSKA came from behind for the win.
Both teams struggled to score in the first two minutes until Vesely hit free throws. Langdon downed a triple in transition for CSKA’s first points. Partizan looked to Vesely against Siskauskas in the low post, but it was Langdon that stamped his mark on the game a jumper and soon another shot from downtown in a 7-0 CSKA run that Khryapa capped with a fast break layup. Kecman hit free throws and a follow-up layup by Vesely got Partizan within 10-8. Siskauskas buried a huge triple over Vesely and a red-hot Langdon added free throws to keep CSKA out of trouble, 16-8. Partizan tried twin point guards - Bo McCalebb and Petar Bozic - and brought in Maric to generate double-team situations. Langdon, however, nailed a jumper off a screen to make it a double-digit game. Bozic came back with a three-pointer, Maric leapt to haul in a defensive rebound and McCalebb assisted Vesely on an alley-oop as Partizan found its rhythm. Lawrence Roberts added a triple as Partizan cut the gap to 4. Langdon connected on a pair of free throws and J.R. Holden hit from downtown as CSKA looked to re-open a comfortable lead, but Rasic ended the quarter with a three to bring Partizan within 25-20 after 10 minutes.
Khryapa inside and Dusan Kecman with a tip-in opened the second quarter. Sasha Kaun fed an open Khryapa for a three and Langdon knocked down his third of the night to push the lead to 33-22. Vesely scored twice – the first a two-handed slam off a Kecman assist – to keep Partizan alive, but Langdon remained cool headed with a hot hand as he drained a jumper. Roberts and Vorontsevich traded scores before Kecman sank a jumper to make it 37-32. Vorontsevich followed with a floater only to see McCalebb dart through the CSKA defense for a layup. Langdon went to the well for another jumper, but the game of chase continued as Roberts stuffed in a missed McCalebb shot. Rasic cut the gap to 3 with his second triple and Roberts made it 2 from close range after a Vorontsevich free throw, but Siskauskas came to CSKA’s rescue with a triple. McCalebb assisted Maric for a jam that made it 47-44 at the halftime break.
McCalebb used his speed generate a layup in transition as Partizan got within 1 in the first minutes of the second half. Khryapa answered from the line, but the scoreboard soon showed a 49-49 tie after Roberts drained a three. Maric netted a hook shot and suddenly Partizan was ahead for the first time since the opening minutes. A second Maric bucket inside stretched the lead to 50-53 only to see Siskauskas drain an open three and tie the score. Maric remained a force inside with a third basket on as many Partizan possessions. Langdon got his name back on the scoresheet with 2 free throws only to see Vesely convert an acrobatic score that made it 55-57. Vorontsevich inside and Holden from behind the arc put CKSA back on top. After a timeout, Maric made 2 free throws only to see Langdon do the same when Vesely was called for a technical foul. However a Branislav Djekic layup in transition put Partizan ahead 61-62 after three quarters of action.
Kecman and Holden traded threes in the first minute of quarter No. 4. Kecman then drove for a tough basket and Kaun scored on the offensive glass as the game stayed close. Kaun muscled through Maric to put CSKA on top 68-67. Khryapa downed a soft mid-range jumper to push the lead to 3. Roberts countered from the line to keep it close. Partizan experimented with a zone defense for the first time all night and Nikita Kurbanov punished them with a three-pointer. McCalebb sacrificed his body for a rebound, trying to ignite his team, but instead Holden stripped Vranes. Still the Serbian champs stepped up on defense, stopped CSKA twice and Rasic made a layup to get within 73-71 with under two minutes remaining. Roberts added free throw to make it a 1-point game with 65 seconds to play. Siskauskas gave CSKA a 3-point cushion when he sank 2 free throws at the 26.4-second mark. Kaun fouled out and Maric made it 75-74 from the line 11 seconds later. As CSKA tried to run out the clock, Partizan was forced to foul and sent Langdon to the line with 9.5 seconds remaining. He made both, giving him 27 on the night, and Partizan called timeout to draw up a play. CSKA fouled McCalebb, who drained 2 free throws with 7.7 seconds left, after which CSKA called timeout. Rasic locked up Khryapa as soon as he touched the ball on the inbounds play and he missed the first, giving Partizan an opening. Kecman came off the bench, but the ball went to McCalebb, who drove the length of the floor for a layup to knot the score at 78-78 and send it into overtime.
Kecman opened the bonus session with a three, but baskets became tough to come by. Khryapa needed more than two minutes to make CSKA’s first point of the overtime. Nevertheless, Langdon reached 30 points with a triple that put his team up 1. McCalebb answered back with free throws and Bozic made it 82-86 with a three. Langdon made his 11th and 12th free throws of the night to keep his team alive and Khryapa tied the game with a basket inside plus a foul and put his team ahead 87-86 with the resulting free throw. Rasic sank a jumper with 25.1 to go. CSKA stayed calm, worked the ball and Holden drilled a triple with 2.4 seconds on the clock. After a Partizan timeout, McCalebb pulled up from the top of the key for a game-winning triple, but it was long and CSKA and its fans were able to celebrate a hard-eared victory and third place at the end of the 2010 Euroleague season.
Sunday, May 9, 2010