De Colo, Vesely vault Fenerbahce past CSKA
On a special night for its superstar guard Nando De Colo, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul registered its sixth consecutive win in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by downing CSKA Moscow 83-89 in the Russian capital on Friday. Fenerbahce improved to 11-10 in the standings and is now tied on victories for the eighth and final playoffs spot with three other teams. CSKA is now 15-6 after losing its third game in four, putting the first place it has held or shared since late November in jeopardy. Jan Vesely led the winners with 24 points, while De Colo added 22 on near-perfect shooting. Jarrel Eddie scored 17 and DyShawn Piere 10 for Fenerbahce. Toko Shengelia led CSKA with 18 points. Janis Strelnieks, Nikola Milutinov and Daniel Hackett each added 12 while Mike James had 11 for the hosts. Four different CSKA players struck from downtown in the first quarter to give CSKA a 21-15 lead. Eddie and De Colo stepped up for Fenerbahce, then Marko Guduric and Pierre each hit a triple for a 38-38 tie at halftime. Daniel Hackett and Strelnieks helped CSKA get a 66-63 edge at the end of the third quarter. With the game tied at 78-78, Vesely and De Colo fueled a 2-9 run which sealed the outcome.
Milutinov got CSKA going with a jump-hook and a dunk but De Colo and Vesely each nailed a baseline jumper. De Colo then fed Vesely for a fastbreak slam that Shengelia, Nikita Kurbanov and James responded to with three-pointers for a 13-6 CSKA lead. Shengelia kept pacing the hosts with a three-point play that Eddie matched with a bomb from the arc. De Colo scored in penetration that Strelnieks bettered with a triple. Shengelia dunked but Vesely and Lorenzo Brown kept Fenerbahce within 21-15 after 10 minutes. After Strelnieks downed a jumper to open the second quarter, Johannes Voigtmann and James each hit a three-pointer for CSKA, then Shengelia took over with a dunk-and-foul. But De Colo and an unstoppable Eddie kept their team as close as 32-28. Vesely silenced the crowd with an alley-oop slam and Guduric downed a corner triple to make CSKA call timeout at 34-33. James sank a floater and Darrun Hilliard erased Vesely's alley-oop dunk with a jumper before Pierre beat the halftime buzzer from three-point distance for a 38-38 tie. After intermission, De Colo gave Fenerbahce its first lead, 38-40, with a driving layup. Hackett followed a jumper with a floater and Milutinov dunked but De Colo and Vesely kept the guests in charge, 44-46. De Colo and Eddie each struck from beyond the arc and Guduric added a reverse layup while Kurbanov, Hackett and Milutinov kept CSKA within 53-54. Pierre stepped up for the guests but Milutinov and James regained a 59-58 lead for CSKA. Strelnieks scored in penetration and hit a floater, getting help from Shengelia to keep the hosts ahead, 66-63, after 30 minutes. Brown hit a triple and a driving layup early in the fourth quarter for a 68-68 tie. Hilliard kept pacing CSKA, Strelnieks struck from downtown and Shengelia dunked in traffic to give CSKA fresh air at 75-70. However, Guduric sank a three-pointer and Pierre added a layup-plus-foul that put Fenerbahce ahead, 75-76, with over 3 minutes left. Eddie added a one-handed floater and Hackett turned the game into a thriller, 78-78. Vesely took over with a dunk, a pair of free throws and a tip-in for an 80-84 Fenerbahce lead with 56.3 seconds to go. He also had a block that allowed De Colo to seal the outcome with a big three-pointer.
De Colo had a season-best performance against his former team, finishing the game with 22 points on 6-of-6 two-point, 2-of-3 three-point and 4-of-4 free-throw shooting. He added 2 rebounds, 9 assists and matched his career high with 4 steals, amassing a PIR of 38, tying the second-best performance in his 208-game EuroLeague career.
Vesely did everything for Fenerbahce in crunch time. With the game tied at 78-78, Vesely dunked off an assist by De Colo, buried a couple of free throws, added a high-flying tip-in and went on to block Mike James's three-point shot, which allowed De Colo to strike from downtown at the other end, breaking the game open, 80-87.
It's a testament to how dominant CSKA has been for two decades that Friday's defeat marked just the second time this century that it has lost two games in a row at home in Moscow. In the first such instance, visiting Real Madrid beat CSKA in late 2008 and Partizan Belgrade did the same in early 2009. Those losses were separated by a road win, however, making this CSKA's first back-to-back home losses with no games in between.
Did you know?
It was De Colo's first game against CSKA in Moscow since he left the team in 2019. In his five seasons with CSKA, he led the Russian powerhouse to as many Final Fours, winning two EuroLeague titles, in 2016 – when he was MVP of the season and Final Four MVP – and in 2019. De Colo received a big Russian doll of himself dressed in CSKA's jersey from CSKA president Andrei Vatutin in a pre-game ceremony.
Both teams return to action early in the next double-round week. Fenerbahce welcomes Maccabi Playtike Tel Aviv on Tuesday, January 26. A day later, CSKA visits ALBA Berlin.
Friday, January 22, 2021