CSKA downed Efes Pilsen 78-69
CSKA Moscow bowed out of the 2010-11 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season in style by downing Efes Pilsen 78-69 in the Russian capital on Wednesday. CSKA finished Group D with a 3-7 record in what could be the last game of a generation of players that took the Russian powerhouse to its second golden age. Meanwhile, Top-16 bound Efes dropped to 5-5 and finished third in Group D. Jamont Gordon paced the winners with 18 points. Andrey Vorontsevich added 17 while Dmitry Sokolov had 11 on 5-of-5 free throws for CSKA. Igor Rakocevic led Efes with 15 points. Bootsy Thornton added 14 while Erwin Dudley had 12 for the guests. CSKA led 22-17 after 10 minutes and an outstanding Gordon took over in the second quarter to boost his team's margin to 37-25 at halftime. Efes trailed all the way in the second half but a three-pointer by Thornton got the guests within 66-60. Gordon and Vorontsevich shined in crunch time to seal the outcome. All CSKA fans had plenty of time to enjoy a home win, safe in the knowledge that their team will be ready to bounce back next season.
Sokolov got CSKA going with a two-handed dunk and matched Rakocevic's six-meter jumper with a jump hook for a 4-2 lead. Efes struggled to score early while a mid-range jumper by Trajan Langdon and free throws by Matjaz Smodis and Sokolov gave CSKA a 9-4 edge. Lawrence Roberts stepped up with a tip-in that a red hot Sokolov bettered with a three-point play. The hosts dominated the game with outstanding defense and a stop-and-pop jumper by Gordon boosted his team's margin to 14-6. Langdon stayed on fire with his trademark jumper off a screen to make Efes call timeout at 16-6. Bostjan Nachbar struck from downtown and Rakocevic added a driving layup to get the guests within 16-11. Vorontsevich buried a three-pointer but back-to-back baskets by Dudley got Efes even closer, 19-15. Vorontsevich sank another triple, as Efes tried Kerem Tunceri and Ender Arslan together on court. Tunceri made free throws to keep Efes within 22-17 after 10 minutes.
Efes kept missing easy early in the second quarter, as CSKA was all over the place in defense. Both teams went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Gordon nailed a triple from the right wing, good for a 25-17 CSKA lead. Arslan hit free throws that an unstoppable Gordon erased with a high-flying driving layup. Gordon - who else? - added another basket that boosted the hosts' lead to double digits, 29-19. Nikola Vujcic stepped up with an easy basket that Ramunas Siskauskas matched with an acrobatic shot. Langdon shined with a backdoor layup, as Efes tried to get its big men involved without much success. Gordon kept pacing CSKA with foul shots and soon added a five-meter jumper off the dribble that broke the game open, 37-22. Thornton and Rakocevic tried to ignite the guests' comeback with free throws but only managed to bring Efes within 37-25 as both teams headed back to the locker rooms.
The game turned into a physical battle immediately after the break, as Nachbar hit free throws to get Efes even closer, 37-27. Smodis hit free throws and Vorontsevich worked hard in the low post for a layup that Rakocevic bettered with an off-balance triple - and the free throw that came with it. Smodis hit 2 more from the foul line and soon added a driving layup to keep CSKA out of trouble, 45-33. Thornton tried to change things with a put-back layup and free throws by Dudley gave the guests some hope at 45-37. Langdon nailed a three-pointer in transition but a jump hook by Roberts kept Efes in the game, 48-39, but Tunceri had left the game with a sprained ankle. Siskauskas sank his trademark fake-and-shoot three-pointer for a 51-40 score. Rakocevic answered from downtown and traded free throws with Vorontsevich. Alexey Shved joined the three-point shootout and even when Sinan Guler sank a circus shots, J.R. Holden beat the buzzer with a fallaway jumper to fix the score at 58-47 after 30 minutes.
Vujcic scored in the paint early in the fourth quarter and Roberts added a put-back dunk to get Efes within 58-51, as the guests improved its intensity at both ends. Siskauskas scored off an inbound pass but Vujcic kept pacing the guests with free throws. Smodis shined with a backdoor layup but Rakocevic and Shved traded driving baskets for a 64-55 score with 3 minutes left. Shved fed Vorontsevich for an alleyoop dunk but Thornton matched it with a layup and added a three-pointer that forced CSKA to stop the game at 66-60. Gordon stepped up with a six-meter jumper that Dudley matched in the other end but a three-pointer by Vorontsevich soon sent the crowd of their feet, 71-62, with 4 minutes left. Vorontsevich took over with a jump hook that Roberts erased with a high-flying put-back dunk. Free throws by Sokolov sealed the outcome, 75-64, allowing all CSKA fans to enjoy a bittersweet yet very convincing home win.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010