2020-21Regular SeasonRound 9
November 17, 2020 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

James leads CSKA past Zalgiris

CSKA Moscow grabbed its fourth consecutive win by topping Zalgiris Kaunas 78-87 in Lithuania on Tuesday. CSKA improved to 6-3 in the standings, while Zalgiris dropped to 5-4 and is now on a three-game losing streak. Mike James led the winners with 27 points. Will Clyburn added 13 while Darrun Hilliard had 12 for CSKA. Marius Grigonis led Zalgiris with 19 points and Thomas Walkup added 10. Zalgiris rallied from a double-digit deficit to get within 78-79 within 1:09 left, but James scored the final 8 points of the game, allowing CSKA to add a good-as-gold road win.

Daniel Hackett got CSKA going with a jumper and Nikola Milutinov added a layup for a 0-4 lead. Marius Grigonis struck from downtown and Steve Vasturia gave Zalgiris its first lead, 5-4. Hilliard buried a couple of three-pointers and added a jumper to boost the margin to 7-14. Grigonis tried to change things for Zalgiris, but Toko Shengelia and James kept CSKA fully in charge, 13-18. Augustine Rubit downed a baseline jumper, but Semen Antonov did better with a triple. Mike James fed Joel Bolomboy for an alley-oop slam and downed a buzzer-beating three-pointer for a 17-26 CSKA lead after 10 minutes. Bolomboy buried a jumper early in the second quarter and Clyburn scored in penetration to boost the lead to 17-30. Martinas Geben scored down low and Walkup buried a triple, but Clyburn and Antonov answered for a 22-37 score. Rubit hit a floater and Rokas Jokubaitis added a layup to give Zalgiris hope at 26-37. Shengelia and Grigonis traded triples before Milutinov hit a jump hook for a 29-42 CSKA lead. Rubit scored again and Nigel Hayes did better with back-to-back triples to bring the hosts within 37-42. Milutinov rescued CSKA with a layup-plus-foul to restore a 38-45 CSKA lead at halftime.

Grigonis buried a three-pointer in transition right after the break and got help from Geben and Walkup to bring Zalgiris within 47-50. James and Nikita Kurbanov stepped up for CSKA, but Arturas Milaknis downed a triple. Ivan Ukhov and James joined the three-point shootout to give the visitors some fresh air at 52-60. Joffrey Lauvergne and Lukas Lekavicius tried to change things for Zalgiris, but James and Bolomboy gave CSKA a 58-66 margin after 30 minutes. Lauvergne followed a floater with a dunk early in the fourth quarter and Milaknis added a layup to make it 64-66 after an 8-0 run. Clyburn and James combined for all the points in a 0-8 run that boosted CSKA's lead to double figures. Grigonis sank his fifth bomb from downtown and Walkup also buried a three-pointer to make it 70-76 with less than 4 minutes left. Clyburn insisted from downtown, but Grigonis and Rokas Jokubaitis kept the hosts within 76-79 in the next-to-last minute. Paulius Jankunas hit free throws, but James buried a step-back three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 78-82, with 43.2 seconds left.

Pivotal performer

Mike James made the difference for CSKA in this game. He finished the game with 27 points on 3-of-5 two-point shooting, 5-of-6 from downtown and 6-of-6 on free throws. He added 5 assists and 6 fouls drawn for a PIR of 32.

Game-changing moment

Zalgiris rallied to 64-66 early in the fourth quarter, but CSKA used long possessions and superb ball circulation to pull away. Clyburn beat the shot clock with a three-pointer and then James struck from downtown and added a driving layup at the end of another possession, giving CSKA a 64-74 lead and full control of the game.

Stellar stat

It was a very balanced game that could have gone either way, but turnovers may have been the biggest difference. Zalgiris committed 14 while CSKA had just 9 giveaways. CSKA also had a slightly better two-point shooting percentage (55.9%, Zalgiris 50%).

Did you know?

It was the teams' 25th showdown between them in the EuroLeague, since the turn of the millennium. CSKA now has a 22-3 record against Zalgiris. CSKA is 12-0 at home and 10-2 in Kaunas. Zalgiris bested CSKA in the 2018 EuroLeague Third Place Game in Belgrade, Serbia.

Next game

Both teams return to action later this week. CSKA visits Germany to face FC Bayern Munich on Thursday, October 19. Zalgiris travels to AX Armani Exchange Milan the next day.

Mike James - CSKA Moscow - EB20
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Euroleague.net
Referees: BELOSEVIC, ILIJA; CORTES, CARLOS; FOUFIS, IOANNIS
Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas17212020
CSKA Moscow26192121
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas17385878
CSKA Moscow26456687
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 28:34 10 2/4 2/5     2 2 7 2 5     2 4 13
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 11:26 4 1/1   2/2       2           2 8
10 HAYES, NIGEL 27:02 6 0/1 2/3     3 3 1 1       2   7
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 19:35 2 0/1 0/1 2/2   6 6 1 2       2 3 10
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 17:20 5 1/1 1/2     4 4               8
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 9:24 5 1/2   3/4 1 2 3     1   1 4 2 2
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 11:17 9 3/4   3/4           1     4 2 4
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 20:35 8 3/5 0/1 2/2       5   4     2 3 7
32 VASTURIA, STEVE 12:44 2 0/1 0/1 2/2                 3 1 -2
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 22:44 19 0/2 5/6 4/4 2 2 4 2 1 2     4 7 24
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 19:19 8 4/8     1 3 4 1   1 1 1 1   7
Team           2   2               2
Totals 200:00 78 15/30 10/19 18/20 6 22 28 19 6 14 1 2 24 24 90
        50% 52.6% 90%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 16:08 6 3/4     2 3 5   1       3 1 9
5 JAMES, MIKE 26:04 27 3/5 5/6 6/6   1 1 5   3     1 6 32
6 HILLIARD, DARRUN 23:41 12 2/4 2/6 2/2   1 1 2   1   1 3 4 8
7 UKHOV, IVAN 13:11 3   1/6         1         3 3 -1
10 HACKETT, DANIEL 16:53 4 1/2 0/1 2/2 1 2 3 1   2 1   4 2 3
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN 10:43 5 1/1 1/2                   2   2
21 CLYBURN, WILL 26:45 13 3/5 2/4 1/2   4 4 2 1 1     1 2 15
23 SHENGELIA, TORNIKE 25:24 7 2/9 1/1 0/2   1 1 4 3 1     3 1 3
28 LOPATIN, ANDREI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
32 UMRIKHIN, YURY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
33 MILUTINOV, NIKOLA 23:52 8 3/3   2/3 3 4 7   2 1     2 4 17
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 17:19 2 1/1 0/1   2   2       1   2 1 3
Team           3 1 4               4
Totals 200:00 87 19/34 12/27 13/17 11 17 28 15 7 9 2 1 24 24 95
        55.9% 44.4% 76.5%
Head coach: ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS

Head Coaches

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, congratulations to CSKA for the win. I think that if can put a game consistently like in the last 25 minutes, we have a good chance to win the game. We had a realistic chance to win this game as well like this, but we would have a better chance to win this game. The effort, defensively, was there throughout 40 minutes. The total focus on detail and total concentration on details was there in the last 25 minutes, and we need to raise this focus and get every detail right throighout 40 minutes to give ourselves a chance to really get over the hump against a team like this. I think the energy was very good. I think the willingness was very high, so we are happy from that standpoint."
ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
CSKA Moscow

"I think we have to be happy, overall, and in general, with our attitude from a defensive standpoint. We focused and did not give out easy things. Of course, Zalgiris made, I think, one of the best performances regarding the shooting abilities that they have, and shooting percentages, the effectiveness they found beyond the arc. They have the quality to do so, but the fact that we forced again, for the second consecutive game, a lot of turnovers to our opponent means that we have a good approach towards that. We start from defense and then we are going to find the other things. We can talk about a lot of details, but I think we are happy with the W on the road against a team that, like I said, is not a surprise for me that they play as a team. They really moved the ball, have high intensity and deserve everything they've got so far."

"Obviously, I would like to congratulate my team. I think that, overall, we showed character down the stretch on the defensive end, especially we were focused on our defensive strategy. We had to change a few plans regarding the lineups that they used. We have focused on that and it is another game that we forced a lot of turnovers from our opponent. I think we are on the good road to building identity, a defensive identity that is so much needed and necessary for us. On the other end, we had 7 and 9, 7 steals and 9 turnovers, which is -2. This is also a good thing. I think that today both teams hit some big shots, Zalgiris and us, but the fact that we haven't lost a rebound and Mike brought that game to make extremely good shots, big shots at the end is very important and good to mention. Overall, we knew it was going to be tough, Zalgiris is coming after a bad loss in [its] Maccabi game and they wanted to show this is not their real picture. And I think they showed it today. I have to congratulate my team once again. We have three road games this week, starting here. We are satisfied with the W."

Players

CLYBURN, WILL
CSKA Moscow
"I want to say that we kept fighting. We had a game plan and followed it great today. Obviously, the team went on a run here and there, but all in all, we stayed with our game plan and fought until the end. I think we are coming along. Obviously, this is a new team, we have some new pieces and everybody is getting back. I think we are gelling together and we are going to keep this thing rolling."
JAMES, MIKE
CSKA Moscow
"We played hard. We played a tough team that's won a lot of games this year. They are going to be tough for everybody to beat, if anybody beats them. They deserve a lot of credit because they played really well, but I think we just fought. We fought the whole game and played as a team. I am good in iso situations. I feel really comfortable doing that. They left me one-on-one today and I was able to capitalize. I think that early on we had some injuries and some COVID stuff. We lost some games that probably had options to win and kind of just fumbled away. It happens during the season, injuries and etc. I mean, we learned how to close our games a little bit better."