CSKA defeats Zvezda for third win in a row
In a hard-fought battle that saw several lead changes and ties, CSKA Moscow prevailed over visiting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 78-76 in the Russian capital on Friday night. The visitors led 69-71 late in the last period, but CSKA prevented Zvezda from scoring for almost 4 minutes and a 9-0 run led by Alexey Shved and Iffe Lundger put the game on ice. CSKA collected its third straight win to improve to 3-1, as Crvena Zvezda dropped to 2-2. Will Clyburn was CSKA’s top scorer with 18 points, with Shved posting 16 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists for PIR of 25, as Johannes Voigtmann and Joel Bolomboy had 12 and 11 points respectively. Nate Wolters led the way for the visitors with 16 points, while Ognjen Kuzmic contributed 14 points and 7 boards. Nikola Kalinic, Ognjen Dobric and Nikola Ivanovic made 11, 10 and 10 respectively in defeat.
Despite allowing an early three-point play by Nikita Kurbanov, the visitors used baskets by Kuzmic and Wolters to grab a 5-6 lead. Zvezda’s defense was as suffocating as usual, but CSKA found a way to score through Joel Bolomboy and Voigtmann to get ahead, 11-8. Dobric helped the guests back in front with 6 fast points. Ivanovic nailed a three and fed Luka Mitrovic for an uncontested layup, as Zvezda led 17-21 at the end of the first quarter. CSKA needed 11 minutes to collect its first trey, but then Semen Antonov and Ivan Ukhov connected from downtown to tie the game, 23-23. Zvezda’s time out turned into a 25-30 edge behind a three by Hollis and a pair of hook shots by Kuzmic. The hosts survived from the free-throw line until Shved and Iffe Lundbgerg reduced the deficit, which Voigtmann finally erased from deep, 35-35. Baskets were swapped for a while, as the score remained balanced at halftime, 42-42, thanks to a buzzer-beating three by Wolters.
Kuzmic came up strong after the break with consecutive inside buckets, and Wolters added a layup to make it 43-50. With Bolomboy and Clyburn as the only contributors on offense, CSKA fought harder on defense to keep it close and came within 51-52 midway through the third period. Ivanovic hit a timely three, but a couple of blocks lifted CSKA’s spirit on both ends. Clyburn made it a one-point game with another trey, and Shved sunk a difficult buzzer-beating triple to tie the game once again, 57-57, entering the final period. Clyburn and Voigtmann extended the momentum with more bombing to send CSKA ahead early in the fourth, and Shved scored a fastbreak layup to make it 65-59. Clyburn extended the lead with a difficult bank shot, but Wolters and Kalinic showed up from downtown to keep the visitors engaged, 69-65. Wolters kept rocking and capped a 0-9 run to make it 69-71. Those were the last Zvezda points for a while, as the hosts counterattacked with another 9-0 run in which Lundberg provided 4 points and Shved combined a block and a three-point dagger in the same play, good for a 78-71 edge with less than 2 minutes to go. Kalinic missed a layup entering the last minute and CSKA made up for a couple of missed shots with strong offensive rebounding to seal the outcome.
Shved shines again for CSKA
Alexey Shved enjoyed his best EuroLeague game against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade after rejoining CSKA Moscow this summer. He could not score in double-digits in any of his three previous games, as he went for 9, 9 and 8 against AX Armani Exchange Milan, Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Zenit St Petersburg, respectively. Being held at 6 points at halftime, Shved came up big when his team needed a guiding light in the most difficult moments. He nailed a key buzzer-beating three-pointer to make it all-square at the end of the third quarter, which was the prelude of a 10-2 run for his team early in the fourth. Later, when the visitors got back in charge, 69-71, with less than 4 minutes to go, Shved delivered a decisive play when he blocked Austin Hollins in defense and promptly buried a crucial trey to make it 76-71 in crunch time. In addition to his 16 total points, he added 4 rebounds and 5 assists for a season-high PIR of 25.
Except the opening period, the other three saw spectacular buzzer-beating baskets coming from different situations. Nate Wolters closed the second period in style when he recovered from a double-team in which he almost turned the ball over to nail a three that tied the game, 42-42, at halftime. Alexey Shved took his turn in the third, as he completed a great one-on-one play by sinking a hard-contested long-range shot to tie it again, 57-57. And last but not least, Nikola Kalinic turned the last play of the game into a highlight reel when he saved a ball that was stolen from Clyburn to launch a mid-court rocket that saw nothing but net.
A good offensive first half was not enough for Zvezda
Crvena Zvezda hadn’t excelled in offense in the season’s first three games, even in victory. The Serbian team fell short in Istanbul, 61-57, against Fenerbahce, before managing to grab two wins in a row against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv and Zalgiris Kaunas with limited scoring of 75 and 73 points respectively. But against CSKA, Zvezda displayed a very good first half offensive performance, going for 42 points on 10-of-18 in two pointers (55%), 4-of-11 in three pointers (36%) and 10-of-11 from the line (91%). But after halftime the lights turned off for Dejan Radonjic’s team as it could only score 29 points in the last 19 minutes. A late 0-5 run in the last minute of the game made up the score a little bit, but Zvezda’s 34 second-half points proved insufficient to surprise CSKA at home.
Friday, October 15, 2021