CSKA downed Unicaja 77-66
CSKA became the first team to 5 wins in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this season by downing visiting Unicaja 77-66 on Wednesday evening in Group B. Former Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic scored 6 in an 8-0 charge late in the second quarter that helped the hosts lead 34-29 at halftime. Teodosic, Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved provided third-quarter highlights as the Russian champs ran away with the game by taking the lead past 20 points. Unicaja did mount a serious fourth quarter charge through Berni Rodriguez and Tremmell Darden and eventually closed to within 6 with a minute to play, but a Teodosic triple slammed the door on that comeback and ensured the CSKA victory. Teodosic finished with 19 points, Kirilenko tallied 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals, Nead Krstic scored 12 and Shved 10. Joel Freeland led Unicaja with 14 points and 9 rebounds, Kristaps Valters and Darden scored 13 apiece and E.J. Rowland 12 for Unicaja, which dropped to 3-2 at the midway point of the regular season.
CSKA started the game just as it wanted, with a long offense that finished with a Viktor Khryapa wrap-around pass to Krstic for a baseline jumper and then forcing a 24-second violation on defense. Krstic added a second basket before Gerald Fitch hit a jumper for Unicaja’s first points. The basketball was pretty as Rowland came away with a steal and slam to even the score before Teodosic penetrated and found Kirilenko for a basket-plus-foul. Unicaja centered its efforts on Freeland, which paid off with a pair of scores to put the visitors ahead 9-10. After Sasha Kaun came in and tied the game with a free throw, Rowland shined with a spin move through the paint for a layup which eventually left Unicaja on top 12-14 through one quarter.
Kirilenko connected from downtown to open the second quarter and Andrey Vorontsevich added one later, but Valters had taken over for Rowland and was also scoring well to put Unicaja back on top 18-19. Krstic answered on the offensive glass as the teams went back and forth. The pace slowed thanks to a handful of fouls, but the score remained tight. Kirilenko made 3 from the line on back-to-back possessions, but Valters also sank a pair and a minute later Hrvoje Peric stepped outside and knocked down a triple that made it 26-27. Teodosic was next to the charity stripe for an easy 2 and then he extended the lead with a foul-line jumper. Freeland received a technical foul for arguing a non-call, which allowed Teodosic to sink 2 more from the line. Shved completed an 8-0 run with a nifty baseline drive. Jorge Garbajosa scored the last bucket of the half to leave the visitors within 34-29 at the break.
The offenses came out sharp after the break with Teodosic knocking down shots for the hosts and Darden canning a three for the visitors. However CSKA soon took charge and a Khryapa triple lifted the CSKA lead to double figures before a Kirilenko steal led to a Krstic jumper and a 44-32 advantage. Luka Zoric muscled his way inside, but Shved opened eyes all over the arena with a soaring two-handed dunk. Khryapa teamed with Teodosic for a fast break layup and after Freeland scored in the paint, the red-hot Shved dropped in a jumper that lifted the lead to 50-36. Kirilenko from the line and then Teodosic with an alley-oop pass to Shved for a slam continued to pad the hosts’ cushion. Vorontsevich nailed a triple that capped a 10-0 surge and took the CSKA lead past the 20-point mark. Valters split a pair of free throws, but Kaun bettered him with a hook shot. Darden’s basket ended the third quarter at 62-41.
Darden took his personal tally into double digits as Unicaja tried to mount a fourth-quarter comeback. Freeland and Berni Rodriguez both sank free throws. Berni drained a triple that narrowed the gap to 64-50. A Valters layup and Darden free throws made it a 10-point game with five minutes remaining. Rowland’s steal and layup capped a 0-9 run and made it 64-56. CSKA regained composure through a Shved jumper and a Krstic block on Nedzad Sinanovic. Then Kirilenko hit twice from the line for a safe 12-point advantage. Unicaja kept knocking at the door and a Rowland triple made it 70-62 with two-and-a-half minutes to go. But he turned it over the next time and Kirilenko capitalized from the line. A tough finish by Freeland cut the deficit to 6 kept the drama alive into the final minute only to see Teodosic ice the win with a three-pointer.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011