CSKA Moscow beat Panathinaikos 91-75
In arguably one of the best games so far in the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague, CSKA Moscow became the regular season Group B champion by downing archrivals Panathinaikos 91-75 in the Russian capital on Wednesday. CSKA improved to 9-0 in Group B to clinch first place and Panathinaikos dropped to 6-3 and will rank second at the end of this round. Nenad Krstic led the winners with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Viktor Khryapa and Aleksey Shved each added 16 points, Jamont Gordon had 12, Ramunas Siskauskas got 10 while Milos Teodosic dished 10 assists for CSKA. Ian Vougioukas had 17 points for Panathinaikos while Steven Smith added 11 for the Greens.
Shved and Gordon fueled an 8-0 run that helped CSKA to get a 26-16 lead late in the first quarter. Smith and Mike Batiste ignited the Greens' rallied and free throws by Nick Calathes soon gave Panathinaikos a 30-33 margin. Vougioukas and Dimitris Diamantidis made the guests keep a 47-49 edge at halftime. It didn't last long, however, as Krstic and Teodosic led a 14-0 run that made CSKA break the game open, 61-49, right after the break. Nothing changed from that moment, as CSKA managed to keep a safe margin until the final buzzer. CSKA celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first continental trophy in a ceremony that featured two of the players that lifted the 1961 trophy, Anatoly Astakhov and Viktor Zubkov, along with many other club legends from the 1960s and the 1970s.
Khryapa got CSKA going with a five-meter jumper, as the hosts made Panathinaikos go scoreless for almost 2 minutes, using Gordon to guard Dimitris Diamantidis. Free throws by Krstic soon gave CSKA a 4-0 lead. David Logan struck from downtown and matched Siskauskas' layup in transition with a jumper that got the Greens within 6-5. Khryapa and Batiste traded mid-range jumpers but a corner three-pointer by Gordon gave CSKA an 11-7 edge. Teodosic found Krstic for a big basket in transition but Kostas Kaimakoglou bettered that with a triple and Romain Sato added a baseline jumper for a 13-12 score. Krstic kept pacing CSKA with a tip-in that Vougioukas matched with an easy basket off a spin move. Shved and Logan exchanged three-pointers but Shved insisted from downtown to give CSKA a 21-16 edge. Gordon buried his second triple and a layup by Shved made it a double-digit game, 26-16, after an 8-0 run. Smith downed a catch-and-shoot triple and a tip-in by Aleks Maric got Panathinaikos within 26-21. Smith shined with a layup-plus-foul to get the Greens within 26-24 after 10 minutes.
Batiste sank a four-meter jumper to cap a 0-10 run that tied the game, 26-26, early in the second quarter. CSKA had been scoreless for 4 minutes already but Sasha Kaun stepped up with a layup. Smith provided a highlight with a layup-plus-foul off the baseline that completed Panathinaikos' comeback, 28-29. Kaun scored around the basket but free throws by Vougioukas and Calathes gave the guests a 30-33 edge. CSKA found a go-to guy in Shved, who buried back-to-back three-pointers - one from each corner - off a much-needed timeout, forcing Panathinaikos to stop the game at 36-33. Sato shined with a high-flying tip-in and Calathes added a wild driving layup to put the guests back ahead, 36-37. Khryapa buried a triple and Nikita Kurbanov added a hard-fought layup-plus-foul to give CSKA some fresh air, 42-38. Vougioukas answered with an off-balance three-point play and free throws by Calathes put Panathinaikos back ahead, 42-43. Gordon nailed another shot from beyond the arc but free throws by Vougioukas and a layup by Kaimakoglou gave the Greens a 45-47 edge. More foul shots by Khryapa and Diamantidis fixed the halftime score at 47-49.
Teodosic, who had been scoreless until now, shined with a driving layup immediately after the break and free throws by Krstic put CSKA back ahead, 51-49. Khryapa took over with a layup-plus-foul and Krstic followed more foul shots with a jumper to boost the hosts' lead to 58-49. Panathinaikos had been scoreless for more than 2 minutes and Siskauskas downed a running triple to make the Greens call timeout, 61-49, after a 14-0 run. Diamantidis hit free throws and Sarunas Jasikevicius added a driving layup but an unstoppable Krstic scored down low for a 63-53 CSKA edge. Vougioukas stepped up with a power basket that Siskauskas matched with an acrobatic layup. Vougioukas and Krstic traded foul shots but a close jumper by Jasikevicius gave the Greens some hope at 66-58. Kurbanov struck from downtown, however, and free throws by Teodosic and Darjus Lavrinovic restored a 71-58 CSKA margin. Vougioukas scored again in the paint but Shved took over with a floating layup. Vougioukas and Calathes made free throws but Kaun helped CSKA to get a 75-63 margin after 30 minutes.
CSKA tried to slow down the game tempo early in the fourth quarter, opting to use longer possessions. Teodosic fed Kaun for a two-handed dunk that boosted the hosts' lead to 77-63. The Greens needed a quick comeback to return to the game but CSKA was all over the place in defense now. Sato and Vougioukas tried to change things with free throws but a three-pointer by Gordon sealed the outcome, 80-65, with more than 6 minutes to go. Panathinaikos kept fighting and going to the foul line often. Smith hit free throws but Lavrinovic erased those with an easy layup and Krstic soon made it a 17-point game, 84-67. CSKA kept playing with high intensity in defense but the Greens did not give up. Calathes took over with an off-balance layup in traffic and fed Diamantidis for a running three-pointer but by the time Khryapa hit free throws, everything was said and done already. All CSKA fans were celebrating a convincing home win while Panathinaikos returned home ready to face new challenges in the upcoming Top 16.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011