Bogdanovic stars in extra session to win it
The big men were center stage again. Udoh’s hook shot put Fenerbahce up 5 early in overtime, but then he committed his fourth foul in sending Bourousis to the line. The Laboral center missed 2 free throws. Udoh’s presence caused James to miss a floater and Bogdanovic netted his 7th point of the extra session to make it 81-74. Now the pressure was on Laboral and the shots were no longer falling. Laboral entered this game with a 4-0 record in overtime this season. That run came to an end when it needed it most. Bogdanovic all but iced a Fenerbahce win it with a put-back. Fenerbahce will play CSKA in its first shot at the crown. It is a worthy matchup for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Championship Game.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 23:14
First semifinal OT game since 2010
As the focus became missed threes, Datome drilled one with 48 seconds left to make it a 1-point game. And it got loud! Then Adams saw a free throw dance out and Sloukas tied it at 72-72 with a layup with 25.7 seconds left in regulation. The ball stayed in Adams’s hands for a late three, which bounced out; Fenerbahce could not contain the loose ball. However Tille was called for a foul on Sloukas, but with 0.6 seconds on the clock. Dixon could only throw up a prayer, which missed and overtime came. It was the first semifinal to head to an extra session since 2010, when Bourousis’s Olyampiacos edged Vesely’s Partizan.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 22:55
Fenerbahce’s three-point woes
Vesely muscled his team to within 1 by using his size, length, athleticism and even a baseline jumper. But not closer; Adams took the ball out of bounds, kept it away from a hounding Hickman for 18 seconds before banking in a floater to make it 65-68. Fenerbahce had shots to tie it, but after making half of its first half three-point tries, it was 2 of 12 so far in the second half. With two minutes to go, all of those missed shots mattered as Fenerbahce trailed 67-70.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 22:44
Confidence grows for underdog Laboral
Bourousis made it 8 points in a row by scoring the first 5 of the fourth quarter for a 7-point Laboral cushion. There was a lot of mouths agape at the Greek center’s remarkable performance. Udoh countered with 4 for Fenerbahce, but Bourousis’s next marvel gave him 21 individual points. Vesely looked to take charge for Fenerbahce, but a long jumper by James made it 59-66. Laboral was looking confident.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 22:35
Bourousis banked three makes it 5 lead changes in 3rd quarter
Udoh took charge in the paint with a pair of blocks, but that may have backfired. Adams first connected from deep to give Laboral the lead for the second time. Then he took advantage of an isolation against Vesely by bursting past him for a layup and a 50-54 lead. In response, Fenerbahce called timeout. And soon it was Udoh passing out of the post for his first assist to an open Datome for a go-ahead triple. Datome (with 12 points) became his team’s first scorer in double figures. Laboral already had three: Adams, Bourousis and Tillie. Bourousis’s banked in triple was the fifth lead change of the quarter and gave his team a 55-57 edge through three quarters.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 22:26
Laboral’s three-point guard lineup
Hanga gave Laboral its first lead, 41-42, thanks to a dish from Adams for the first basket of the second half. Antic stepped up for Fenerbahce with a three and later a free throw. Laboral called upon Bourousis, whom just a day earlier Fenerbahce Coach Zeljko Obradovic referred to as one of his opponent’s three point guards at the Opening Press Conference. Accordingly, Laboral was playing with three point guards and moving the ball nicely. It was a 1-point game midway through the third quarter.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 22:13
Summing it up so far
Fenerbahce got production from more players in the first half; Laboral got better production from a few. Bourousis has 11 points, while Adams has 11 points and 6 assists. No Fenerbahce player can match either number. But Bourousis also has 3 fouls in less than 12 minutes. Fenerbahce is shooting 50% from downtown (4 of 8), but 58% from the foul line (7 of 12). Both could prove important numbers in the second half. Laboral has rebounds from seven players, but only Hanga has more than 2 (with just 3). Antic and Datome combine for 9. Dixon and Mike James have both been fairly quiet so far; either could be a determining factor if they heat up later.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 22:05
Adams shines to carry Laboral back
Fenerbahce slowly built its lead back to 8 before Darrius Adams delivered a perfect pass to Tillie for a layup and foul that looked to change the momentum. Almost, but not quite. Laboral surprised Fenerbahce with a press, but Kostas Sloukas found Bogdan Bogdanovic, who attacked the rim for a dunk and foul. And then Udoh stopped Bourousis. Another pretty Laboral play – an Adams-to-Mike James alley-oop slam in transition, did not turn the tide. But it did help keep Laboral close. And then Adams knocked down a pair of triples before Blazic took contact and dropped in a reverse layup. Adams reverse layup beside shot-blocking ace Udoh made it 41-40 at the break.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 21:50
The bigs are dueling and dealing
After getting checked out, Bourousis lumbered back in. Vesely flashed his atheltisim with an alley-oop slam, which was his second already. But Bourousis went old school as he backed down former teammate from their early days, Antic, for a hook. The big men were dueling and dealing. Which leads to the question: If Bourousis and Vesely carry the load now, will it be the guards that decide the game in the second half?
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 21:35
Bourousis gets under Fenerbahce’s skin
Although Fenerbahce surged ahead to lead by 8 after 10 minutes, Bourousis drained a three to open the second quarter and then scored over Vesely. The big man then got in Ricky Hickman’s way to cause a traveling violation and nailed a turn-around jumper to beat the shot clock and make it 25-22. Bourousis was clearly getting under Fenerbahce’s skin… and then he went out holding his knee.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 21:28
Laboral is back!
After taking a quick timeout, Laboral has turned things around and sent Fenerbahce to regroup at 15-10. Bourousis did make a difference, even if it was only his presence that created more space for others. Kim Tillie’s second straight basket is what prompted the stoppage and Fenerbahce called upon its all-Euroleague big man, Jan Vesely, off the bench. The momentum remained with the team wearing green as Darius Adams drained a triple to all but complete the comeback by getting his team within 2.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 21:18
Fenerbahce takes charge from the start
In a start that was eerily similar to the early game, Fenerbahce took on the role of CSKA and pounced early. Ekpe Udoh scored twice and Luigi Datome and Pero Antic nailed triple, while Bobby Dixon quarterbacked the attack with 3 assists in just the first two minutes. A quick timeout called by Coach Velimir Perasovic did not have immediate results; Dixon knocked down his team’s third three for a 13-0 lead before Adam Hanga ended his team’s drought at three minutes and 23 seconds, during which the team missed 3 shots and committed 3 turnovers. The clock showed 5:42 when All-Euroleague center Ioannis Bourousis was introduced at 13-4 and he promptly drew a foul from Udoh. Can Bourousis turn things around for Laboral?
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 21:09
De Colo puts finishing touches on for CSKA
Delaney and Draper powered Lokomotiv against all odds. The difference was 7 after 3 Delaney free throws with two minutes to go. But time was as much an enemy now as was CSKA. With 40 seconds to go, Lokomotiv had the ball down 84-77 after a timeout. It took just 5 seconds for Delaney to get to the line and make 2 free throws. But Teodosic countered with free throws and a frantic Lokomotiv offense saw all but 13.6 seconds expire. Lokomotiv played hard, put on a show and kept fans on their seats until the buzzer, but CSKA deservedly won and will go back to the championship game for the first time in four years.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 20:05
CSKA powers through to match its biggest lead
A Khryapa jumper with 2 seconds left on the shot clock is exactly what CSKA needs to break Lokomotiv. The fact that it was followed by a 24-second violation on Lokomotiv and a De Colo triple may put Lokomotiv in a spot that it is unable to come back from. Must give credit to CSKA; despite Lokomotiv’s stiff play, the Muscovites have never wavered.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 19:43
Down 10, Lokomotiv still looking confident
Lokomotiv has played from behind all night long, but coming off a timeout at 58-49, the players’ body language shows they are not deflated at all. Delaney, the league leader and record holder in fouls drawn, sacrificed his body to draw a charge from Vorontsevich. Does Lokomotiv view this game as a war of attrition? Is it just trying to stay close before making its move late? A trio of free throws from Delaney closed the gap to 6 late in the third quarter. But after CSKA restores a 10-point lead, signs of frustration can be seen on Delaney after a no call on his missed dunk attempt and a travel. However Draper’s buzzer-beating three at the end of the third quarter gave Lokomotiv hope yet again at 69-59.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 19:32
Teodosic takes charge
After CSKA scored the first 5 points of the second half, Delaney scored the next 6 with back-to-back threes! Teodosic appeared frustrated after getting called for his 3rd foul. He took it out on his opponent. The All-Euroleague guard buried a three, collected a loose ball and assisted on a De Colo triple to extend a 7-point margin to 58-45. If Teodosic stays hot, CSKA will be hard to stop.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 19:22
Small sample size?
What can we learn from the halftime numbers? Lokomotiv is actually dominating the offensive glass with 12 offensive rebounds, which could pave its way back in the second half, if that continues. The record in a Final four game is 20! Lokomotiv has played its best with Chris Singleton (+1) and Matt Janning (+6) on the floor. CSKA has been outscored when Milos Teodosic (-3) and Victor Khryapa (-3) were in. But the big difference in the first half were shooting percentages. That’s the challenge for the league’s top-ranked defense in order to mount another comeback.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 19:08
Halftime arrives in time for CSKA
De Colo’s return allowed CSKA to continue its scoring, but without the need for offensive rebounds. Vitaly Fridzon and Andrey Vorontsevich each connected from downtown to make it 38-23. Chris Singleton free throws after getting blocked by Nikita Kurbanov and a steal that led to a Ryan Broekhoff three gave Lokomotiv hope, but CSKA countered with momentum plays to keep its lead in double figures. And that was without Milos Teodosic doing much. When he set up Victor Khrapa for a triple and then nailed one of his own, CSKA was sitting pretty at 47-31. Even a 4-point Lokomotiv possession – Singleton made a jumper over Kurbanov, while Randolph was fouled – could not do the trick. Broekhoff added another tip-in, but halftime arrived just in time for CSKA to take a 10-point lead into the locker room.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 18:50
Loko backcourt pushes back, CSKA dominates offensive glass
Just when it seemed that Lokomotiv was in a big hole, it responded again. Draper scored a three for the first bucket of the second quarter and after Delaney came back and De Colo stepped out for a rest, Lokomotiv chipped away at more of the difference. Draper and Delaney made it 23-19, but just like before, CSKA had an answer. The answer was offensive rebounds. Kyle Hines scored twice on the offensive glass and Vitaly Fridzon added another with an Andrey Vorontsevich triple in between as part of a 9-2 run that matched CSKA’s 11-point lead from earlier. Can Lokomotiv continue to survive these early CSKA blows and come back?
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 18:40
De Colo keeps CSKA in the driver’s seat
Lokomotiv fought back to within 4 on Draper’s first basket, but just when it seemed it was back, Nando De Colo stepped up with three buckets in the final minute of the opening quarter, including a jumper on the buzzer to make it 23—12. That difference marked the biggest in the game to this point and is surely a blow to Lokomotiv after already erasing much of the deficit. De Colo finishes the quarter with 10 points, which puts the season’s top scorer on pace for a Final Four scoring record. We’ll see if he can keep it up!
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 18:31
Delaney lifts Lokomotiv after sluggish start
CSKA raced off to an ideal start with the game’s first 9 points, but if there is a team that I would never count out of a game here, it’s Lokomotiv. With the heart that team leader Malcolm Delaney displays, the multitude of great outstanding shooters, a lot of individual talent and as the underdog, with nothing to lose, Lokomotiv would need to trail by a lot more than 9 to be counted out. Delaney started to heat up with his team’s first 5 points, however… Delaney soon took a seat with 2 fouls. Now we have to see haw Lokomotiv responds with Dontaye Draper and Sergey Bykov in the backcourt.
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 18:19
Doors open and Mercedes-Benz Arena is filling up fast
Despite all the hoopla surrounding the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four that makes it such a wonderful weekend, now it’s time to focus on the real reason we are all here. Mercedes-Benz Arena is open for business! The countdown has begun to tip-off of the first semifinal, CSKA Moscow vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar. The atmosphere is hopping outside, with fans decked out in blue-and-yellow, red and green in preparation for the basketball party inside. Lokomotiv’s team bus was first to arrive with the CSKA players alighting a few minutes after. For the rest of your evening, we will continue to share what we see inside Mercedes-Benz Arena with the fans, from the excitement surrounding the court to insights from the game on it. After a nearly eight-month long journey, it’s time for Euroleague Final Four basketball!
Berlin - Friday, May 13, 16:45