Fridzon, Teodosic lead CSKA past Zalgiris
In a battle between longtime sporting rivals, CSKA Moscow stayed undefeated in the Top 16 by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 77-62 in the Russian capital on Friday. CSKA improved to 2-0 in Group F, while Zalgiris dropped to 0-2. Vitaly Fridzon paced the winners with 15 points. Nenad Krstic added 12 while Milos Teodosic and Sonny Weems each had 11 in an easy win for CSKA, which led from start to finish. Weems also dished 5 assists for the victors, whose defense forced Zalgiris into 18 turnovers. Justin Dentmon led Zalgiris with 22 points. Krstic led a 12-3 opening run which allowed CSKA to keep a 22-14 lead after 10 minutes. An outstanding Dentmon singlehandedly brought Zalgiris within 37-31 at halftime. However Teodosic took over in the third quarter and CSKA broke the game open, 62-44. Zalgiris kept trying, but the CSKA fans had plenty of time to celebrate a big win.
First quarter: CSKA jumps out to early lead
Zalgiris head coach Saulius Stombergas surprised everyone by starting twin point guards - Sarunas Jasikevicius and Dentmon – for the first time this season. Krstic got CSKA going with a dunk and a three-pointer by Fridzon gave the hosts a 5-0 lead. Fridzon sank a mid-range jumper that Dentmon bettered with a triple. Teodosic answered from downtown and a jump hook by Krstic saw Zalgiris call timeout at 12-3. Fridzon scored again, but Jasikevicius followed a three-pointer with his trademark stop-and-pop jumper to give Zalgiris hope at 14-8. Paulius Jankunas further trimmed the gap when he banked in a driving shot. Krstic dunked again before an off-balance basket by Ksistof Lavrinovic brought the guests within 16-12. Weems swished a six-meter jumper, as CSKA improved its defense with Kyle Hines and Aaron Jackson on court. Lavrinovic made free throws. Weems nailed a close jumper and a jump hook by Sasha Kaun boosted CSKA's lead to 22-14 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Dentmon keeps Zalgiris alive
CSKA kept powering the offensive glass early in the second quarter, as Andrey Vorontsevich finished a long, two-chance offense with a bomb from downtown. Aaron Jackson fed Kaun for a dunk that gave the hosts a 27-14 margin. Dentmon made free throws before Fridzon nailed his second three-pointer. Zalgiris struggled to score without Dentmon on court. Weems fed Krstic for a slam that made it a 15-point game. After Tadas Klimavicius dunked, Victor Khryapa hit a baseline jumper. A wild driving layup by Tomas Dimsa kept Zalgiris within 34-21. Khryapa downed a three-pointer from the top of the key, but Dentmon answered from downtown, which caused CSKA coach Ettore Messina to call timeout. The hosts kept struggling to score, however, and a free throw by Jankunas brought Zalgiris a bit closer. Then Dentmon nailed a pair of three-pointers to get Zalgiris within 37-31 at the break.
Third quarter: Teodosic shines, CSKA takes off
Robertas Javtokas made free throws immediately after the break, but Krstic matched those with a layup. Fridzon kept leading CSKA with a steal and a corner three-pointer that gave his team fresh air at 42-33. Weems nailed his trademark step-back jumper, but Arturas Milaknis answered with a fast break layup off a steal. Lavrinovic fired in one from downtown and free throws by Jasikevicius brought Zalgiris as close as 46-40. Kaun stepped up with a jump hook. Jasikevicius sank an off-balance jumper and Teodosic restored a 50-42 CSKA lead. Teodosic kept pacing the hosts with a layup-plus-foul and a great bounce assist to Jackson, whose layup gave CSKA a 13-point margin. Zalgiris called a much-needed timeout, but Vorontsevich capped a 9-0 CSKA run with a reverse layup. Javtokas scored around the basket but an unstoppable Teodosic struck from downtown and Kaun added a layup to give CSKA a 62-44 lead at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: CSKA seals win early
Dentmon tried to ignite a Zalgiris comeback with a three-point play early in the fourth quarter. CSKA struggled to score for more than two minutes but its man-to-man defense kept the Russian powerhouse way ahead. Weems rescued CSKA with a six-meter jumper, but a three-point play by Javtokas kept Zalgiris within 64-50. Fridzon downed a mid-range jumper. Dentmon swished an off-balance shot, but a close basket by Kyle Hines gave CSKA a 68-52 margin with less than six minutes left. Jankunas and Vorontsevich traded layups. Dentmon scored again before a dunk by Vorontsevich saw Zalgiris call timeout at 72-56. Weems nailed a wide-open triple. Even though Javtokas and Jankunas tried to change things for Zalgiris, Hines dunked for a 77-59 CSKA margin. Nothing changed in the final three minutes, as CSKA added a big home win and Zalgiris returned home knowing it has to bounce back to improve its chances to go past the Top 16.
Friday, January 10, 2014