2020-21Regular SeasonRound 26
February 25, 2021 CET: 20:00
Local time: 21:00 PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP STADIUM

CSKA withstands huge Olympiacos rally

CSKA Moscow escaped from Piraeus with a hard-fought 74-75 win against Olympiacos on Thursday night. Two free throws by Mike James with 3 seconds remaining aborted an incredible comeback by the Reds, who trailed by 25 points (26-51) early in the third quarter and 49-65 with 8 minutes to go. CSKA, whose record improved to 17-8, was led by James, who tallied 15 points and 6 assists. He was followed by Johannes Voigtmann, who contributed 14 points in less than 20 minutes, while debutant Iffe Lundberg and Joel Bolomboy had 13 and 10, respectively. Shaquielle McKissic registered career-highs in points (24) and steals (4) and Sasha Vezenkov had 14 points and 7 rebounds for the Reds, who lost their sixth game in a row and fell to 11-15.

The hosts needed almost 5 minutes to score their first basket until Vezenkov hit a three-pointer, which CSKA used to build a 3-8 edge midway through the first quarter. Octavius Ellis and Vezenkov were the only players able to contribute for the Reds, which proved too short against a more balanced CSKA offense. Voigtmann nailed a deep three right after stepping on court and added an alley-oop layup to highlight a 0-10 run that made it 12-24 after 10 minutes. Although Aaron Harrison opened the second quarter with a triple, Olympiacos kept trying to reduce the gap from long distance without success. A layup by Michael Eric and a corner three by Voigtmann extended the difference to 15-29, then to 19-34 after the latter added another fastbreak bucket off a steal. Baskets were few and far between for the home team, allowing CSKA to stay comfortably on top. A couple of behind-the-arc hits from Lundberg helped the visitors reach halftime leading 26-44.

Voigtmann made it a 20-point game right after the break, and the trend didn’t stop here. Bolomboy connected from downtown to dig it deeper and James scored a difficult floater to set a 26-51 margin 3 minutes into the second half. McKissic came to the rescue with 12 points in a row to keep the hosts breathing, 38-53, as CSKA struggled against the Reds’ switching defense. The hosts didn’t allow a field goal for more than 6 minutes, as Vezenkov and Sloukas took the reins on offense to reduce the disadvantage to 49-59 entering the last quarter. The visitors found some relief after Lundberg and Will Clyburn scored back-to-back layups, which James followed with a bank shot to make it 49-65, but the hosts didn’t panic. McKissic and Vassilis Spanoulis drilled 1 triple each to bring Olympiacos within 55-65 with less than 8 minutes remaining, and the former provided consecutive dunks to cap a 15-0 run that made it a one-possession game, 64-65. The rally didn’t stop here, as a floater by Printezis and a three-pointer by Vezenkov put the hosts in front for the first time, 69-68, with 3 minutes left. Then James took over and became the go-to-guy for CSKA again. First, he connected on a deep three to reanimate his team, 69-71, and took over again drawing a foul and converting 2 out of 3 free throws right after Georgios Printezis returned the lead to Olympiacos 74-73, with 12 seconds to go.

Pivotal performer

After almost three weeks without playing with his team, Mike James played a decisive role in CSKA’s win. Even though he did not have a great scoring night, he took over when things were on the line, scoring 5 of his team’s last 7 points, including a deep three and 2 free-throws to win the game.

Miraculous (and failed) comeback

Olympiacos head coach Georgios Bartzokas asked his players for more physicality at halftime and even though the third quarter started in a bad way for them, it was Shaquielle McKissic who lit the fire with 13 consecutive points after halftime that resurrected the Reds. Later, a 20-1 run in the fourth quarter put Olympiacos in front, for the first time after 37 minutes. But then James showed up…

Telling numbers

The hosts had a poor shooting display all over the game, and that limited their options. They went 3 of 18 in the first half and 9 of 37 overall (24%). Taking into account that Olympiacos shot more from three (37) than from two (28), that lack of accuracy was definitive.

Bittersweet milestones

Olympiacos’s loss prevented Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis from celebrating fully, as the former played his 350th career EuroLeague game and the latter tied Ante Tomic for the most two-pointers scored (1,137) in competition history.

What’s next?

Both squads will hit the road in Round 27 next week. CSKA Moscow will visit Tel Aviv to face Maccabi Playtika on Tuesday, March 2. Olympiacos will travel to Spain to challenge TD Systems Baskonia the following evening.

Mike James - CSKA Moscow - EB20
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: LAMONICA, LUIGI; HORDOV, TOMISLAV ; KOLJENSIC, MILOS
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Olympiacos Piraeus12142325
CSKA Moscow24201516
End of Quarter1234
Olympiacos Piraeus12264974
CSKA Moscow24445975
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 HARRISON, AARON 10:51 5 1/1 1/2     1 1     2       1 4
4 CHARALAMPOPOULOS, VASILIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 LARENTZAKIS, GIANNOULIS 9:09   0/2 0/3         1         1   -5
7 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 24:37 5 1/2 1/7     2 2 2 2 1     3 1 1
11 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 20:53 7 1/2 0/2 5/5   4 4 4   6       5 11
14 VEZENKOV, SASHA 33:57 14 1/3 3/8 3/3 2 5 7 1     1   1 3 18
15 PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS 20:47 9 3/3 1/3 0/1 1 3 4 3   1     2 2 12
17 JEAN-CHARLES, LIVIO 26:07 6 3/3 0/1   4 2 6   1 1 2   2   11
22 JENKINS, CHARLES 8:37     0/2     2 2 1   1     1   -1
32 ELLIS, OCTAVIUS 19:09 4 2/4     1 5 6     3 1   4   2
41 CHRISTIDIS, VASILEIOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
77 MCKISSIC, SHAQUIELLE 25:53 24 6/8 3/9 3/5   2 2 1 4 1   1 3 3 19
Team           2 3 5               5
Totals 200:00 74 18/28 9/37 11/14 10 29 39 13 7 16 4 1 17 15 77
        64.3% 24.3% 78.6%
Head coach: BARTZOKAS, GEORGIOS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 LUNDBERG, IFFE 26:26 13 2/4 3/6 0/2   4 4 3 2       1 1 15
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 24:57 10 3/4 1/3 1/2 3 5 8   1       2 1 14
5 JAMES, MIKE 30:19 15 3/7 2/6 3/5 1 3 4 6   4   1 2 8 16
6 HILLIARD, DARRUN 15:37 4 2/4 0/2     4 4 1   1   1 1 1 3
7 UKHOV, IVAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN 2:07                         1   -1
13 STRELNIEKS, JANIS 7:36 2 1/1       2 2     1     1   2
17 VOIGTMANN, JOHANNES 19:44 14 3/4 2/4 2/2   1 1 2 2 1     2 2 15
21 CLYBURN, WILL 18:25 2 1/4 0/1         3 1 2   1 1   -2
23 SHENGELIA, TORNIKE 21:33 8 2/5   4/6 1 3 4   3 2   1 3 3 7
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 21:37 5 1/3 0/3 3/3 2 4 6 2 1 1     1 1 8
50 ERIC, MICHAEL 11:39 2 1/2     2 3 5     1 1   1   5
Team                                
Totals 200:00 75 19/38 8/25 13/20 9 29 38 17 10 13 1 4 16 17 82
        50% 32% 65%
Head coach: ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS

Head Coaches

BARTZOKAS, GEORGIOS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"First of all, I want to congratulate CSKA for the win. It so obvious for us that we had two completely different faces, in the first and in the second one. If we are trying to find the reasons, a lot of things happened in the last weeks; several straight losses, the injury of Hassan Martin, Papanikolau and Harrison. We were under the influence of all those things that happened lately. But in the second half, we showed the fighting spirit, we came back from a big difference and we had a chance to win the game, even though in the last minute a lot of things happened against us to lose this game. We missed the free throws, we lost the jump ball, it was that foul on James and, of course, we didn’t score on the last play But we have to keep the huge, big effort of the second half and even though we lost the game, I have to congratulate the players; they need to have their faces up and to fight in every game until the end of the season."
ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
CSKA Moscow
"During the game, it’s been two different faces, two different approaches and mindsets regarding us and Olympiacos. The first half belonged to us; we dictated the tempo with our great defense, deflections, we forced turnovers. We controlled the rebounds and we had 13 assists for 3 turnovers, pretty much not giving them points on the open court, which is something they depend on a lot, on their primary or secondary breaks. The third quarter started pretty much the same; we went up by 25 points, bu Olympiacos still had a last statement in defense, putting Vezenkov on our creators, trying to switch the ball, and that is something we were practicing in the last practices. They managed to stop our creativity, stop our mobility, forcing turnovers and running in open court situations. This is pretty much how they came back. I’m happy with the win, considering we had a new start as well, as James was almost 20 days off, Toko 21 days out of the game, and Clyburn 2 months out of the game too. I’m not trying to look for justifications, but the team in the second half looked a little bit disconnected. It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort to know each other, to know what the tough moments bring and the kind of mindset we should have on such tough moments. Though we had big shots, great defenses, we managed to win this game which is very important as this is the first road game in a series of three facing the double week."

Players

LUNDBERG, IFFE
CSKA Moscow
"[This win] feels really, really good. We played a really good game, especially in the first half, we played defensively really well, we were locked in and executed coach’s game. I’m happy to be here. I think I will adjust fast and I hope so. Everyone was very welcoming towards me, coaches, players, the whole club, so I’m very appreciative for that."
JAMES, MIKE
CSKA Moscow
"I haven’t practiced and I haven’t played for a while, so it was good to play back with my team and it was good that we won. We needed to win, we have been displaying a lot of ups and downs lately, so it was good we won it."