CSKA holds off Greens in Athens
CSKA Moscow never trailed en route to an 83-89 road win at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in the Greek capital on Friday night. CSKA improved to 4-3 with its second road win of the season, while Panathinaikos dropped to 2-3. CSKA pulled away to its first double-digit lead in the first quarter, then opened an 18-point margin in the second. The Greens rallied back within a single point, 52-53, late in the third, but CSKA used a 0-10 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to restore a double-digit margin and avoid drama at the end. Will Clyburn collected 15 points and 7 rebounds to lead CSKA. Darrun Hilliard netted 14 points and Daniel Hackett had 13, and Mike James scored 10 and dished 5 assists in the victory. Nemanja Nedovic scored 16 of his game-high 19 points in the first half to pace the hosts. Ioannis Papapetrou had 13 points and 7 rebounds, Aaron White scored 11, while Georgios Papagiannis and Eleftherios Bochoridis finished with 10 apiece in a losing effort.
CSKA’s defense allowed just one basket, a triple from Konstantinos Mitoglou, in the opening 4 minutes. Meanwhile, Hilliard nailed two shots from the outside, with Tornike Shengelia and Nikola Milutinov scoring inside, for CSKA to open a double-digit lead. A three from Nikita Kurbanov made it 5-18 midway through the first quarter, before a basket-plus-foul from Papapetrou sparked the Greens. Good ball movement set up Papagiannis and Papapetrou for easy baskets inside, and after White and James traded triples, a three from Bochoridis and an alley-oop dunk from Papagiannis tied it at 24-24 after 10 minutes. But CSKA never let Panathinaikos in front. Janis Strelnieks nailed a three-pointer, and James fed Johannes Voigtmann for an alley-oop slam. A James triple made it 26-36 before Nedovic snapped a 0-10 run with a three, but Clyburn had a three-point play and Hilliard his third three-pointer. Hackett's three extended it to 31-49, but Nedovic scored 9 points in the final 2:02 of the half, including a pair of triples, to make it 42-51 at halftime. The Greens continued their charge in the second half, with Howard Sant-Roos and Papagiannis coming up with defensive plays while back-to-back triples from Papapetrou and Marcus Foster made it 52-53. But CSKA replied with a 0-7 run, with Kurbanov's close-range basket helping the visitors regain control, before Strelnieks hit a triple to make it 54-63. Dunks from Foster and Mitoglou cut it to 58-63 late in the third, but Joel Bolomboy scored the last basket of the third, then twice more during a 0-8 run to open the fourth as CSKA opened a 58-73 margin. Hackett’s triple extended it to 62-78 before Bochoridis gave the hosts hope with 5 points, including a triple, but Voigtmann nailed a downtown shot on the other end to keep CSKA firmly in control. Panathinaikos never stopped trying, with Nedovic and Papapetrou burying long-range shots, but the Greens never really threatened.
After averaging 16.0 turnovers ints first five games of the season, CSKA had just 7 turnovers for the second consecutive game. Panathinaikos turned the ball over just 10 times, but CSKA had almost as many steals (5) as it did turnovers (7).
CSKA finished the game tying a season-high with 12 three-pointers, 9 of which came in the first half on just 13 attempts. CSKA finished 12-for-30, the team’s fourth time this season of knocking down 12 threes in a game.
Will Clyburn entered the game needing 4 points to reach 1,500 for his career, and did that early in the second quarter. He went on to finish as CSKA’s top scorer with 15 points.
In this classic rivalry, this is the fourth consecutive time and fifth in the last six games that the road team won. It is also CSKA’s third straight win in Athens.
Next week in Round 8 both teams will be at home. CSKA will be welcoming TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (2-3) on Thursday, while Panathinaikos will host Anadolu Efes Istanbul (3-3) on Friday.
Friday, November 6, 2020