CSKA rolls Olympiacos for 7th straight win
CSKA Moscow extended its win streak to seven games with a runaway 80-61 win over the visiting Olympiacos Piraeus on Thursday in the Russian capital. CSKA improved to 9-3, becoming the first team this season to reach nine wins, while Olympiacos dropped to 5-5. Olympiacos was hot early, opening up a 9-17 lead, but CSKA stepped up defensively, erasing the deficit by the end of the first quarter and building a double-digit margin in the second before pulling away in the third quarter to a comfortable win. Mike James led CSKA with 16 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals, while Tornike Shengelia scored 10 in a balanced CSKA offense. Hassan Martin and Georgios Printezis had 10 points apiece for Olympiacos.
Kostas Sloukas paced the Reds out of the gate, hitting a mid-range jumper and feeding big man Martin inside before dropping a three-pointer for a 6-11 lead. After Nikita Kurbanov answered from downtown, a three-point play from Livio Jean-Charles and a triple from Sasha Vezenkov gave the visitors a 9-17 advantage. Shengelia nailed back-to-back threes for CSKA and James hit his own just before the first quarter ended with CSKA taking a 20-19 lead. The visitors were held to a single field goal for almost 9 minutes bridging the first and second quarters, while Johannes Voigtmann's dunk in between driving layups from Darrun Hilliard and James put the hosts in control 28-21. A fastbreak layup from Giannoulis Larentzakis ended a 19-4 CSKA run, but Hilliard hit a three-pointer that extended the margin to 35-25. The reached 11 points before Jean-Charles had a pair of baskets, including an alley-oop dunk, to keep it at 39-29 at halftime. Baskets were few and far between after the break until Shengelia fought to make one basket. After Kostas Papanikolaou and Daniel Hackett traded triples, Kurbanov's driving layup opened a 46-32 CSKA lead midway through the quarter. Shaquielle McKissic and Martin managed tough close-range baskets for the visitors, but back-to-back threes from Hackett and Voigtmann preceded a second-chance triple from James to extend the margin to 56-38. CSKA opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back alley-oops from James to Joel Bolomboy at 60-38 and didn't allow Olympiacos any field goals for more 4 more minutes. Ivan Ukhov and Semen Antonov each hit a triple for the hosts, while Charles Jenkins and Georgios Printezis did the same for the Reds in the minutes that followed as CSKA eased to victory.
Defense steps up
Olympiacos scored 19 points in the first 7:30 of the game, but CSKA's defense allowed just 21 more in the next 24 minutes, including 10 points in the second and just 9 points in the third quarter, effectively sentencing the outcome on one end of the floor.
CSKA had only two double-digit scorers, but six more players scored 6 or more, including Nikita Kurbanov, Daniel Hackett and Joel Bolomboy, each with 8 points.
Facing old teammates
CSKA has three players who played with Olympiacos in the past. Hackett and Janis Strelnieks, who did not play in this game, each spent two seasons with the Reds, while center Nikola Milutinov played five seasons in Piraeus. He arrived to CSKA this past summer, and in his first game against his former coach and teammates, Milutinov had 4 points and 8 rebounds.
Long time coming
CSKA is now 12-2 against Olympiacos in Moscow this century, but this was CSKA's first double-digit win on its home floor over the Reds since February 2012. That night, almost nine years ago, CSKA thrashed Olympiacos 96-64, but three months later Olympiacos famously shocked CSKA in the 2012 championship game in Istanbul.
Next week in Round 13, Olympiacos will travel to the Serbian capital to play Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Thursday, while a day later CSKA will visit city rival Khimki Moscow Region in Leningradka Derby.
Thursday, December 3, 2020