CSKA sweeps Fenerbahce to cinch 9th straight Final Four
CSKA Moscow didn’t waste any opportunity and finished off Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on its first chance with a convincing 68-85 victory on the road to complete a 3-0 sweep for a ninth consecutive appearance in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four. CSKA gave up the first 12 points of the game, but came back and took control of it for good with a 6-35 run spanning the second and third quarters. Will Clyburn was unstoppable with 34 points and a performance index rating of 38, while Iffe Lundberg chipped in 22 points and Johannes Voigtmann 11. Fenerbahce was swept from the playoffs for the first time and the club’s streak of five straight Final Four appearances was snapped. Nando De Colo led the way with 22 points while Marko Guduric had 10 points in the loss.
CSKA coach Dimitris Itoudis kept the same starting lineup from Game 2 with Daniel Hackett, Janis Strelnieks, Toko Shengelia, Nikita Kurbanov and Michael Eric while Fenerbahce playcaller Erdem Can - still filling in for the absent Igor Kokoskov - finally got to field Jan Veseley and Ahmet Duverioglu for the first time, joining Tarik Biberovic alongside Guduric and De Colo. De Colo started the proceedings with a layup and was followed by 4 points from Vesely and a three-point play from Biberovic. It was 12-0 when De Colo hit from deep. CSKA ended up missing its first 4 shots and had 3 turnovers before Clyburn drained a triple after nearly 4 minutes and Voigtmann’s three made it 12-6. Guduric responded twice from the outside and Fenerbahce was back up by 12 points - 20-8. Darrun Hilliard came off the CSKA bench with 4 points and the gap was 24-17 after 10 minutes. After CSKA opened the second quarter with the first 4 points to pull within one possession, De Colo tallied 5 points as the hosts pushed the margin back to double figures, 33-23. Lundberg stepped up for CSKA with 5 straight points and then assisted on back-to-back Clyburn triples and a Shengelia layup before scoring 4 more points to complete the 4-21 run for a 37-44 lead. Lorenzo Brown managed to score just before the break and Fenerbahce trailed 39-44 at intermission.
Clyburn’s free throws started the third quarter and then Fenerbahce lost its star Vesely for the rest of the game just 77 seconds into the second half with two fouls and a technical foul. Clyburn followed with 3 foul shots and Lundberg drained a triple on the ensuing possession with Hackett and Shengelia following from deep. CSKA led 39-58. De Colo hit a free throw to finally stop the bleeding after nearly 4 minutes. Fenerbahce was able to score a bit more consistently, but Hilliard and Clyburn both knocked down three-pointers and CSKA was streaking away 50-71 after 30 minutes. Melih Mahmutoglu scored the first points of the fourth quarter, but CSKA kept Fenerbahce scoreless for the next 5 minutes and Clyburn added 6 points as the advantage swelled to 52-78 midway through the final frame. Fenerbahce managed a 9-0 run over 3 minutes to get within 61-78, but the hole was too deep.
Sweeping into history
By finishing off the sweep, CSKA won a playoffs series 3-0 for the fourth time following 2008-09 (Partizan Belgrade), 2015-16 (Crvena Zvezda Belgrade) and 2016-17 (Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz). CSKA is the only team with four sweeps. Fenerbahce had also won three series 3-0 (2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17).
No big fourth quarter needed
CSKA needed big fourth quarters to take the first two games of the series at home - 28-10 in Game 1 and 18-12 in Game 2. But the Russian powerhouse made sure it didn’t need to sweat in the end by building the big lead in the third quarter.
Career nights for Clyburn, Lundberg
It was a career night for CSKA’s two heroes off the bench - Will Clyburn and Iffe Lundberg. Clyburn’s 34 points topped his previous career-high of 27 points and his PIR of 38 was 4 higher than his previous best. Lundberg’s 22 points were 1 point off his career-high, but he grabbed a personal best 7 rebounds, tied his record with 5 assists and set a new mark with 4 steals to go with a new high of 32 index rating.
CSKA bench shows its strength
Clyburn and Lundberg both came off the bench for CSKA, which needed the boost as the starting five picked up just 11 points combined. The CSKA reserves totaled 74 points, with Johannes Voigtmann contributing 11 points. The trio of Clyburn, Lundberg and Voigtmann had a combined index rating of 88 while the rest of the team only had a 7 PIR - logging 92.6% of the team efficiency of 95.
CSKA was able to take advantage of Fenerbahce’s miscues with 32 points off turnovers to 20 for Fenerbahce. It was the most points off turnovers for CSKA in a playoff game and the third-highest value by the team since the 2007-08 season.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021