CSKA beats Zvezda for its 20th win
CSKA Moscow took another step toward clinching a spot in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs by downing Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 87-72 in the Russian capital on Thursday. CSKA improved to 20-10 and could qualify before the end of the night depending on other results. Zvezda dropped to 9-22 and remains 17th in the standings, with no mathematical chance to advance. Toko Shengelia paced the winners with 16 points, Daniel Hackett added 15, Johannes Voigtmann and Will Clyburn each scored 14 and Mike James 13 for CSKA. Dejan Davidovac led Zvezda with a career-high 20 points, Landry Nnoko added 12 and Langston Hall 11 for the visitors. James, Hackett and Shengelia helped CSKA to a 31-19 margin after 10 minutes. CSKA kept a 50-39 lead at halftime and extended it to 74-59 early in the fourth quarter, which was enough to keep full control of the game until the final buzzer.
James and Michael Eric got CSKA going and Hackett hit a corner triple for a 7-2 lead. Davidovac answered from downtown and Jordan Loyd added a coast-to-coast layup to tie it at 7-7. James, Eric and Hackett kept pushing the hosts, but Nnoko followed a layup with an alley-oop slam for a 16-11 Zvezda score. Shengelia took over with a couple of three-point plays and Hackett added a three-pointer to make it a double-digit game, 26-14. Hall hit a jumper and Ognjen Dobric struck from beyond the arc, but Iffe Lundberg and Voigtmann established a 31-19 CSKA lead after 10 minutes. Voigtmann recorded his second three-point play, fed Janis Strelnieks for a layup and added a triple for a 40-24 CSKA cushion. Hall and Loyd stepped up for Zvezda and Walden's layup gave his team hope at 43-30. Marko Jagodic-Kuridza followed a power layup with a tip-in, Loyd bettered James's running hook with a bomb from downtown and Marko Simonovic helped Zvezda get within 48-39. Eric banked in a close shot to fix the halftime score at 50-39.
Davidovac followed a triple with a driving layup to bring Zvezda closer, 53-45, soon after the break. James hit a floater and Eric added a jump hook in a 6-0 run that Hackett capped with a jumper. Nnoko scored down low and Davidovac added a floater and a layup for a 61-51 Zvezda deficit. Dobric sank his second triple, but Shengelia and Clyburn restored a 65-54 CSKA lead. Hall found space for a driving layup, then Semen Antonov, Voigtmann and Simonovic each struck from beyond the arc for a 71-59 score after 30 minutes. Clyburn joined the three-point shootout early in the fourth quarter. Hall and Nnoko each scored around the basket and Simonovic struck from downtown, prompting CSKA to call timeout at 74-66. Voigtmann downed a floater and Hackett scored in the low post to give the hosts fresh air, 78-67, with 4 minutes left. Shengelia dunked and had a big block on Loyd, which allowed James to seal the outcome, 82-69, with over 2 minutes remaining.
Daniel Hackett played a major role on offense after six consecutive games scoring in single figures. He finished the game with 15 points on 2-of-3 three-point shooting plus 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 7 fouls drawn for a game-high PIR of 24.
Ognjen Dobric hit a triple to bring Zvezda within 28-19, but CSKA found a go-to guy in Johannes Voigtmann. He stepped up with back-to-back three-point plays, sent a 25-meter baseball pass to Janis Strelnieks for a reverse layup and added a bomb from downtown to boost CSKA's lead to 40-24. The hosts never looked back after that.
CSKA outrebounded Zvezda 39-33, pulling down 14 offensive boards. It also shot the ball much better inside the arc (54.8%, Zvezda 45.2%) and committed just 7 turnovers.
Did you know?
With this win, CSKA is 6-0 at home against Zvezda since the turn of the millennium and 8-0 overall. CSKA has won its last four home against Zvezda by an average margin of 18.3 points.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action early next week. CSKA visits Zenit St Petersburg, featuring former star guard Vitaly Fridzon, in an all-Russian showdown on Tuesday, March 30. Zvezda hosts AX Armani Exchange Milan in the Serbian capital that same evening.
Thursday, March 25, 2021