CSKA holds off ASVEL for 11th straight win
League leader CSKA Moscow never trailed, but was never able to pull away before taking a 78-87 victory at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne to extend its winning streak to 11 games. Mike James poured in 31 points with 6 assists while Nikola Milutinov picked up 17 points and 14 rebounds for CSKA, which improved to 13-3. Toko Shengelia added 13 points and Darrun Hilliard 11. ASVEL saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 5-10. Guerschon Yabusele paced ASVEL with 16 points and 6 rebounds, Allerik Freeman scored 13 points and David Lighty had 12 points and 6 rebounds. It was ASVEL’s first loss at home since November 13 - a stretch of four wins.
Hilliard’s layup started the scoring for the visitors with Moustapha Fall doing the honors for ASVEL. The hosts could not slow down CSKA with four different players scoring in a 2-9 surge to move ahead 4-11. ASVEL fought to stay in the game with Fall making it 10-15. Hilliard drained a three-pointer at the other end as the advantage grew to 10-19. Noris Cole made a triple for the hosts, who trailed 15-21 after 10 minutes. Ismael Bako’s alley-oop dunk opened the second quarter, but James began taking over with 7 straight points and the margin reached 19-30. ASVEL managed a mini 5-0 spurt, but Shengelia and Nikita Kurbanov hit triples as the advantage grew to 27-42. ASVEL used the long ball to get back into the game as Freeman made a pair of triples and Antoine Diot and Yabusele went back-to-back from deep to get the deficit down to 41-46 at the break.
ASVEL got three-pointers from Yabusele and Lighty early in the second half to get within 47-48. CSKA answered with baskets by Milutinov and a James triple to lead 49-57. The home side would not go away as Kevarrius Hayes scored 5 straight points. Five points from Will Clyburn had CSKA up 57-66 and the cushion was 60-66 after 30 minutes. Charles Kahudi’s first basket opened the final frame and the hosts were within 4 points. CSKA punched back yet again with a James steal and dunk and then a Johannes Voigtmann triple to make it 64-73. The battle would continue with a Cole jumper trimming it to 69-73 only to see James and Freeman swap three-pointers. CSKA stepped up its defense and held ASVEL scoreless for nearly 3 minutes. Shengelia rebounded and put back his own missed free throw to lead 72-83. Milutinov came up with a big putback of his own to make it 74-85 with less than 2 minutes to play.
Nikola Milutinov once again was outstanding as CSKA’s big man collected 17 points and 14 rebounds - five of them on the offensive glass - for an index rating of 30. It was Milutinov’s fourth straight double-double and a season-high in PIR.
Did you notice?
ASVEL’s big man Moustapha Fall was limited to just 7:21 minutes in which he scored 4 points and committed 2 fouls. He had tallied 31 points with 11 rebounds and 8 assists in the last two games combined.
CSKA controlled the boards 33 to 27 including 14 offensive rebounds for an 18 to 6 advantage in second-chance points.
After three straight home games, ASVEL will head on the road next week at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Wednesday, December 30 in Round 17 action. CSKA will play another road game in Round 17, traveling to Italy to face off with AX Armani Exchange Milan on the same evening.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020