CSKA torches Efes for 9th straight win
CSKA Moscow never trailed as it spanked Anadolu Efes Istanbul 100-65 on Tuesday night at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. Will Clyburn led the way with 22 points as CSKA improved its league-best record to 11-3 with its ninth consecutive victory. Darrun Hilliard scored 16 points, Nikola Milutinov posted 12 points and 10 rebounds, Mike James tallied 11 points and 10 assists and Johannes Voigtmann contributed 7 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Vasilije Micic scored 14 points for Efes, which dropped its second straight game to fall to 7-7. Bryant Dunston added 13 points and 7 rebounds and Rodrigue Beaubois scored 10, but Shane Larkin was held to 4 points – his lowest output since the 2018-19 season.
Toko Shengelia fed Milutinov for a basket-plus-foul to open the scoring for CSKA before Tibor Pleiss's hook shot got Efes on the scoreboard. While the CSKA defense locked up the rim, James got to the foul line twice for 3 points and Shengelia drilled a three-pointer in a 10-0 run that made it 12-2 and prompted an Efes timeout. The visitors made a trio of substitutions and Dunston made an immediate with a put-back and a slam. Beaubois's triple drew the visitors within 5 before Clyburn put CSKA up 20-13 after 10 minutes. Janis Strelnieks and Krunoslav Simon traded threes to start the second quarter. The hosts pushed the margin to double figures three times, but Efes had an answer each time and a second-chance bucket by Dunston made it 30-23 midway through the second quarter. Micic's next basket cut the deficit to 5, however, CSKA called a timeout after which Clyburn responded with a three. Larkin started to find his groove and brought Efes within 36-32. Then James heated up at the other end with a pair of assists and a score in the paint in a 9-0 finish to the half as CSKA pushed the difference to 47-34.
The home team picked up where it left off as Hilliard and James knocked down three-pointers. More than 2 minutes passed before Micic scored Efes's first points of the half. A jumper by Hilliard took the CSKA lead into the 20s. Micic led the Efes resistance, but CSKA proved too strong. Ivan Uhkov's layup made it 68-45 and Clyburn's put the score at 74-49 at the end of the third quarter. Clyburn erupted for 9 points in the first 2 minutes of the fourth quarter as CSKA's lead continued to grow. A three by Ukhov saw the margin peak at 96-57 with 4 minutes remaining and Alexander Khomenko split the Efes defense for a layup that gave CSKA 100 points as the hosts celebrated a convincing victory.
CSKA scored the final 9 points of the first half and the first 6 of the third quarter to storm ahead 53-34, a margin Efes was unable to recover from. Mike James fueled that run with 5 points and 3 assists.
CSKA dominated the game in part because it outrebounded Efes 46-29 and made 70.3% of its two-point shots. CSKA set season-highs in scoring, rebounds, two-pointers made (26), two-point shooting accuracy (70.3%), assists (23) and performance index rating (125).
CSKA's best vs Efes
This game was the 24th EuroLeague clash between these teams and CSKA now leads their head-to-head record 20-4. This victory was the most lopsided in that series, topping CSKA's 110-79 triumph in January 2017, in which Cory Higgins starred with 21 points.
Efes returns home for its next game against AX Armani Exchange Milan in Round 15 on Thursday evening. CSKA will try to take its win streak to 10 when it hosts Russian rival Zenit St Petersburg on Friday.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020