CSKA blew out Caja Laboral 83-63
CSKA Moscow needs just one more victory to extend its record run of Final Four apperances to eight after blowing out Caja Laboral again, 83-63, at home in Game 2 of the Playoffs in Moscow on Thursday. CSKA leads 2-0 in the best-of-five series, which moves to Vitoria, Spain next Tuesday for Game 3. A fourth game will only be necessary if Caja Laboral can figure out how to solve a CSKA defense that has dominated through two games and made 12 steals on Thursday. CSKA's offense was just as sharp, making 24 of 39 two-point attempts, or 61%, while outshooting Caja Laboral at the arc and the free-throw line, too. Seven players for CSKA scored between 9 and 14 points, the latter total shared by Ramunas Siskauskas and Viktor Khryapa. Zoran Planinic and Trajan Langdon added 12 points each for the winners, J.R. Holden and Pops Mensah-Bonsu 10 each. Langdon added 4 steals, Holden and Siskauskas 3 each. For the second game in a row, no Caja Laboral player topped 11 points, a total shared by Tiago Splitter and Mirza Teletovic, while Lior Eliyahu added 10. But it was another long night for the visitors, who after losing by more than 20 points twice already to CSKA, must regroup considerably before Game 3 in front of their own fans on Tuesday.
Laboral coach Dusko Ivanovic modified his starting lineup to include Splitter and Fernando San Emeterio. Splitter immediately delivered with a power layup and a free throw. CSKA tried to use the transition game without much success and a seven-meter bomb by Teletovic caused the hosts to call timeout at 0-6. Langdon stepped up with a long jumper that San Emeterio matched with a driving layup. CSKA tried to improve its ball circulation with Holden on the floor. Sasha Kaun and Pau Ribas traded layups, but CSKA kept committing turnovers and a dunk by Splitter made it an 8-point game. Langdon struck from downtown and Khryapa added a fast break dunk as Holden's on-the-ball defense against Ribas allowed him to collect consecutive steals. Holden capped an 8-0 run with a three-pointer before a jump hook by Splitter restored a 12-14 Laboral edge. Khryapa scored in transition and added a big triple after a Laboral timeout to give CSKA its first lead. Splitter scored down low and matched Khryapa's tomahawk dunk with a second-chance layup to keep Laboral within 19-18 at the end of an outstanding first quarter.
CSKA was more aggressive early in the second quarter, powering the offensive boards. The hosts kept missing open shots, however, and Teletovic downed another three-pointer to put Laboral back ahead, 19-21. Kaun rolled off a high post pick for an easy dunk and Holden added a fast break layup for a 23-21 CSKA lead. Holden banked in a mid-range jumper as Laboral struggled to find a scoring reference without Splitter on the floor. Siskauskas took over with a fast break dunk that caused Laboral to call timeout after an 8-0 run. Stanko Barac downed a six-meter shot as the game turned into a physical battle. Siskauskas sank a four-meter jumper off the glass and followed it with free throws to give CSKA a 31-23 edge. Laboral could not find the way to the basket and Planinic struck from downtown to further worry the visitors. San Emeterio made foul shots and a wild step-back triple by Teletovic gave Laboral some hope at 35-28. CSKA lost control in offense late in the quarter and an acrobatic buzzer-beating floating layup by Ribas got Laboral even closer, 35-30, at halftime.
Siskauskas rifled in a triple and picked up a steal as the former Euroleague MVP looked to take control. Next Kaun had his star turn, muscling through Teletovic for a basket and rejecting Splitter at the other end. After a Laboral timeout, Planinic stepped up with a pair of baskets to conclude a 9-0 run. Carl English attacked the rim to end the Laboral drought only to see Siskauskas extend the CSKA lead to 15 with a three-pointer. Ribas scored on the offensive glass, but Planinic bettered him with a basket-plus-foul. Kaun took the CSKA run to 17-4 as the Russian champs looked to put the game away. Teletovic had Laboral’s next basket, but Holden drained a triple that took the lead to 57-36. The visitors got some good news when Khryapa took a seat with 4 fouls, but Sean Singletary missed both of the resulting free throws and Planinic scored at the other end. Ribas connected from downtown and Singletary found a cutting Eliyahu for an alley-oop to bring Laboral within 59-41 at the end of the quarter.
Singletary to Eliyahu resulted in another basket and after a Langdon triple, Eliyahu scored again. Just when it seemed Laboral could make a run, Khryapa stole the ball from Teletovic, leading to a Langdon basket. Then an unsportsmanlike foul on Singletary resulted in 2 Langdon free throws, a Khryapa triple and a 69-45 CSKA lead. Eliyahu continued to generate baskets, but the outcome was quite clear by now. Pops Mensah-Bonsu entered the highlight reel with a reverse layup and Siskauskas also added to his total. Singletary and later Walter Herrmann hit threes, but Mensah-Bonsu and the rest of the CSKA reserves had an answer for almost every basket as the home team celebrated another big win and a 2-0 series lead to take to Spain next week.
Thursday, March 25, 2010