There was a lot of anticipation to see CSKA Moscow against Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Megasport Arena on Friday. CSKA has been solid at home, but had lost three of its last four road games, including a tough one against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul less than 48 hours earlier. CSKA seemed to have that game in Istanbul under control, leading 67-74 with 5 minutes left, but a 12-1 final run allowed Fenerbahce to prevail. CSKA needed an extra boost to bounce back, and this is exactly what it got against Efes. Everyone contributed as CSKA's veterans set new records and milestones for the occasions. After one of the high-scoring first halves in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague history – 110 points combined, 56-54, tying for seventh overall – CSKA delivered.
The hosts finished with 21 offensive rebounds, the club's best mark in almost 15 years since getting the same amount on March 10, 2004, against Cibona. Those 21 offensive boards were the second-most in club history after CSKA's 24 against Montepaschi Siena on November 5, 2003. Seven of them came from Will Clyburn, who finished the game with 24 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double this season, matching his total last year. CSKA also forced Efes into 17 turnovers by collecting 11 steals, the team's season high. Nikita Kurbanov made 6 of those steals, twice as much as his previous best.
Adding to the good news, after some sub-par performances, Nando De Colo was his usual self, finishing the game with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and a PIR of 30. And Sergio Rodriguez became the fifth player to reach 1,000 assists in EuroLeague history with an alley-oop assist to Clyburn in the fourth quarter. He joined Vassilis Spanoulis, Dimitris Diamantidis, Milos Teodosic and Thomas Heurtel in the exclusive 1,000-assists club.
Most important, CSKA allowed only 30 points in the second half – as many as it Efes had scored in the second quarter alone.
"We chose to play different kinds of defenses in the second half, and in some of those they hit big shots, but that did not crack us," CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis said after the game. "We had an even stronger mindset. So big congratulations to the team for how it bounced back after the game we had in Turkey a few days ago."