De Colo leads CSKA to championship game
Led by Euroleague MVP and top scorer Nando De Colo and his record 30 points, CSKA Moscow led from start to finish in downing Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 88-81 in the first semifinal at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four on Friday night at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. CSKA returns to the championship game for the first time since 2012, and will face the winner of the other Friday semifinal between Fenerbahce Istanbul and Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz. De Colo scored 10 points in the first quarter to help CSKA pull right away, and 13 in the third-quarter as CSKA mostly kept the margin in double digits. De Colo’s 30 points bested Euroleague Basketball Legend and former CSKA star Ramunas Siskauskas’s record for points in a semifinal by 1; Siskauskas scored 29 also in Berlin in 2009. CSKA scored the first 9 points of the contest and built a 16-point margin in the second quarter. Lokomotiv cut it to 47-37 at halftime, but could not come closer than 6 until the final minute of the contest. An 18-8 run bridging the third and fourth quarters put CSKA up 78-62, but Dontaye Draper and Malcolm Delaney made the last final push for Lokomotiv. However, a key basket from Cory Higgins and free throws from Milos Teodosic sealed the deal. Vitaly Fridzon added 13 points for the winners, while Teodosic dished 6 assists. Delaney scored 26 to lead Lokomotiv, Draper added 17, Anthony Randolph 13 and Ryan Broekhoff 10. Randolph finished with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks and climbed into the record books with 8 offensive rebounds, the most ever in a Final Four game.
First quarter: De Colo shines early to get CSKA in front
It was only fitting that the De Colo scored a driving layup to open the scoring at the Final Four. Higgins nailed a triple, and Nikita Kurbanov a pair of free throws to make it 7-0 after only 82 seconds. CSKA kept Lokomotiv scoreless for more than three minutes, and a put-back from Kyle Hines opened a 9-point margin. Delaney drove for a layup high off the glass for Lokomotiv's first ever Final Four points, and after De Colo hit a jumper, Delaney bettered him with a three-pointer to cut it to 11-5. After a timeout, Higgins made 2 free throws, but Matt Janning beat the shot-clock buzzer with a jumper, followed by a step-back jumper from Draper to get Lokomotiv within 13-9. Now it was Lokomotiv’s top ranked defense that kept CSKA without a field goal for more than four minutes before Kurbanov scored on a fast break. After Anthony Randolph elevated above everybody to make a put-back, Victor Khryapa scored from close range for CSKA, and De Colo stole the ball under Lokomotiv’s basket and scored a layup to keep CSKA in front. In the final minute of the opening quarter, CSKA increased the margin with De Colo making a back-door cut for a layup and then a long jumper in the final second for a 23-12 cushion.
Second quarter: CSKA hits from downtown to stay ahead
Draper knocked down a triple, and followed it with a jumper with his toes on the three-point line, quickly getting Lokomotiv within 23-17. Now CSKA was the one without a basket for more than three minutes to start the quarter. Lokomotiv dominated the offensive glass and Delaney’s foul shots cut the deficit to 4. Coming out of a timeout, Hines had a put-back to end CSKA’s drought, and Vorontsevich nailed a three-pointer on the next trip down the floor to extend the lead to 28-19. After Delaney’s free throws, second-chance baskets from Hines and Vitaly Fridzon once again opened a double-digit margin. Hines assisted Fridzon on a corner triple, and after a Randolph jumper, Vorontsevich nailed a second-chance three-pointer to make it 38-23. Ryan Broekhoff hit a triple to stop CSKA’s run, and after Fridzon made an off-balance jumper-plus-foul, Janning hit another triple for Lokomotiv. But Victor Khryapa and Milos Teodosic hit back-to-back long range shot to open a 47-31 cushion with 70 second left in the half. However, Singleton made a runner, and Randolph scored 4 points, including a tip-in that made it 47-37 at halftime. It could have been more, but singleton ran out of time after a steal in the final seconds and his halfcourt heave missed.
Third quarter: De Colo pushes CSKA, but Lokomotiv stays in range
De Colo scored from close range to get the second half going before Vorontsevich blocked Claver and then knocked down a triple on the other end to make it 52-37. But Delaney’s consecutive three-pointers got the deficit back to single digits, and a pair of free throws from Claver cut it to 52-45. However, Teodosic buried a triple, then dished to De Colo, who nailed a three-point shot as shot-clock expired for a 13-poin edge. Randolph had a tip-in with his seventh offensive rebound, tying a Final Four single-game record, and Broekhoff added a put-back of his own. Broekhoff’s free throws got Lokomotiv within striking distance again, 58-51. De Colo made 2 free throws, but Delaney drew a shooting foul behind the 6.75-meter arc and made all 3 to get Lokomotiv within 60-54. De Colo made a short baseline jumper, and Fridzon drove for a layup. Randolph’s put-back dunk broke the Final Four record with his eighth offensive board. De Colo scored twice at the other end, but Draper banked in a long shot at the buzzer to make it 68-59 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: CSKA holds on
Fridzon and Broekhoff traded triples to start the quarter and De Colo’s foul shots and Khryapa’s jumper gave CSKA a 13-point cushion. A triple from De Colo made it 78:62 with seven minutes left to play. Neither team scored for more than two minutes before Draper’s triple and a runner cut the deficit to 13, but Khryapa drove for a two-handed slam. Delaney hit a triple to keep Lokomotiv’s hopes alive, and after a CSKA timeout, Draper knocked down a transition jumper to make it 82-72. Delaney made 3 from the foul line, making it a 7-point affair, and Lokomotiv had another possession, but Broekhoff missed a wide open triple. On the other end, Higgins took it all the way for a layup and an 84-75 edge. Chris Singleton finished at the rim, and Delaney’s foul shots got Lokomotiv within 84-79 with 35 seconds on the clock. But Teodosic made both free throws, and when Janning scored a layup on the other end there was only 13.6 seconds left on the clock. De Colo iced the win and set the scoring record with free throws as CSKA prevailed.
Friday, May 13, 2016