Defending champion CSKA Moscow used a record breaking three-point shooting performance to bury visiting Efes Pilsen 90-68 in the Russian capital on Wednesday night. CSKA tied the Euroleague record with 18 three-pointers made and smashed the record for best accuracy by shooting 72% from downtown. Head coach Ettore Messina’s side improved its perfect record to 4-0 in Group D ahead of a trip to Belgrade to face Partizan next week. Meanwhile Efes Pilsen dropped its second straight to fall to 2-2. It will host Real Madrid next. The hosts never let any doubt into the outcome of the game as Zoran Planinic hit a three on the opening possession and Terrence Morris followed with triples on the next three trips downcourt as CSKA opened a big lead that it never let up. The lead grew to 38-11 in the second period and rested at 47-27 at halftime. Efes never got closer than 17 the rest of the way. Ramunas Siskauskas led the way for CSKA with 19 points on 4-for-4 three-point shooting. His last three with a minute remaining matched the most threes hit in a game this decade, 18 by Lottomatica Roma in December 2003. Morris made a career-high 5 triples en route to 17 points, while Trajan Langdon also hit 5 times to account for his 15 points. Planinic added 14 points and 8 assists and Erazem Lorbek had 11 points and 7 rebounds for CSKA, which was coming off an incredible 20-for-28 three-point effort in the Russian League over the weekend. Charles Smith had a great three-point day of his own, hitting 6 of 9 for 22 points, but it was not enough for Efes, which also got 11 points from Ender Arslan.
CSKA took charge from the start with Planinic hitting a three on the opening possession and then Morris nailed 3 straight triples from the same spot on the wing. In between, Bootsy Thornton hit a three in between Morris's first and second threes for Efes’s first basket. Head coach Ergin Ataman took a timeout to calm his troops, but that didn’t trouble CSKA as Langdon added another triple. Planinic scored from close range for the first points not from behind the arc and Lorbek added a free throw for an 18-3 CSKA lead midway through the period. Thornton struck again from downtown, but the hosts continued to roll as Siskauskas converted a three-point play and soon a Nikos Zisis basket in transition gave CSKA a 21-point lead. An Arslan triple made it 27-9 at the end of the period.
A Planinic basket in transition followed by a Siskauskas triple from the corner saw the CSKA lead grow even more. Thornton fed Michailis Kakiouzis for a basket in the paint – Efes’s first points inside of the game – but back-to-back threes by Viktor Khryapa and Siskauksas made it 38-11. Preston Shumpert got on the board for the visitors and Kerem Gonlum scored twice inside as Efes started to show signs of life. Kakiouzos added a three after a Siskauskas basket and soon Smith buried one form the corner to get Efes within 19. CSKA head coach Ettore Messina took a timeout to refocus his charges and it helped as Zisis rifled in a three and then fed Morris for an alley-oop slam before Gonlum hit a hook to make it 47-27 at the halftime break.
Smith opened the second half with a three-pointer, but CSKA quickly re-asserted its dominance with 11 unanswered points – including a pair of threes by Langdon – to go ahead 58-30. Kakiouzos scored inside for Efes, but another Morris triple kept the momentum with the hosts. Milos Vujanic scored his first points for Efes and Smith hit another three and added a fast-break layup to bring his team within 63-42 only for Langdon to step up from downtown. Morris shined again with a pretty pass to Lorbek and Langdon followed with his fifth three of the game. Thornton scored for Efes, but Morris ended the period with his career-best fifth triple to make it 74-47 with 10 minutes to play.
Smith kept firing away for Efes, hitting three times from downtown to give him 6 for the night and cutting the difference to 76-56. But after a timeout, a Planinic three and a Lorbek jumper left no doubt as to the outcome. The closing minutes began to resemble an all-star game, with little defense and lots of running. Andrey Vorontsevich committed an unsportsmanlike breakaway foul on Cenk Akyol and Arslan hit a three for Efes. A record-tying three by Siskauskas with a minute to go iced the win as CSKA continued its unbeaten start.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008