CSKA Moscow beat Zalgiris 74-87
CSKA Moscow never trailed as it unveiled its new roster and shined bright en route to an impressive 74-87 victory over Zalgiris Kaunas in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Opening Game Monday at Zalgirio Arena. In his first Euroleague action in a decade, Andrei Kirilenko teamed with former Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic to pepper the opening game record book, while Alexey Shved came through with a Euroleague career-high 19 points. Kirilenko finished with 17 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks to set a new standard for performance index rating in the opening game with 37. He also now has the second most rebounds and blocks in opening game history. Milos Teodosic amassed 16 points and 8 assists for CSKA to tie former teammate Theo Papaloukas for the most dishes in the opening game. Former Zalgiris player Darjus Lavrinovic added 12 points in 13 minutes and Nenad Krstic scored 11 over the winners. CSKA jumped ahead early and led by 12 after a Shved triple to open the second quarter. Sonny Weems led Zalgiris on an 11-0 charge to get back in the game, but the hosts never took the lead and Teodosic and Lavrinovic had CSKA up 31-44 by halftime. And Zalgiris never fully recovered. DeJuan Collins paced Zalgiris with 18 points and 4 assists and Sonny Weems scored 16 in his Euroleague debut. At halftime, Euroleague all-time leading scorer Marcus Brown, who announced his retirement last week, was honored by both teams.
CSKA won the opening tip and orchestrated an open jumper that Kirilenko drained for his first points after a decade away from the Euroleague. Paulius Jankunas soon got Zalgiris on the board with a mid-range jumper. CSKA dominated the offensive glass, but was unable to convert thanks to the hosts’ fierce defense. The visitors stayed ahead thanks to Kirilenko inside and a Teodosic triple. And Zalgiris’s frontline suffered a blow when its top rebounder last season, Jankunas, went out with 2 fouls after four minutes. Ty Lawson displayed his incredible speed with a coast-to-coast layup to make it 8-11 midway through the quarter. The first wave of substitutions saw Lavrinovic add to CSKA’s lead before Weems scored his first Euroleague points for Zalgiris. A second Teodosic triple and a slick Kirilenko dish to Lavrinovic made it 10-20. Collins sparked Zalgiris with a jumper off the glass, a layup and then a long pass to Mindaugas Kuzminskas. But Ramunas Siskauskas ended the first quarter of the season with a three-pointer to make it 16-25 after 10 minutes.
Shved opened the second quarter with a triple that gave CSKA the biggest lead to that point. Weems penetrated for a Zalgiris score and started to lead Zalgiris back. Weems stole a ball from Jamon Gordon, which turned into an unsportsmanlike foul. The forward sank free throws to close the gap to 22-28. Lawson soon made a runner and then an athletic finish on the break to push the Zalgiris run to 11 unanswered points, 27-28. Viktor Khryapa nailed a triple to end a five-minute scoring drought, however Marko Popovic came right back with a tough circus shot for the hosts. After Kirilenko rejected Robertas Javtokas to protect the visitors lead, Lavrinovic downed a triple and Teodosic came through with a basket-plus-foul to put CSKA back in control, 31-38. Teodosic followed with a no-look pass to Krstic and soon the lead was double figures again. Lavrinovic finished the half on a 0-12 run on another Lavrinovic three-pointer to lift CSKA to a 31-44 halftime lead.
Khryapa committed a hard foul on Javtokas early in the third quarter, which was whistled to be unsportsmanlike. Weems tipped in his own miss to the cheers of the crowd, but Krstic silenced them with a tough one-handed tip-in plus foul, which was Javtokas’s fourth. The free throw made it 34-48 CSKA. The run of tough makes continued as Weems’s scoop went in as he was fouled. After a timeout, Shved kept CSKA on the rise with a three-pointer and soon after 2 free throws for a 15-point advantage. Mantas Kalnietis and Collins tried to ignite a run, but Milovan Rakovic’s fourth foul left the Zalgiris frontcourt severely depleted. Kirilenko provided a highlight with a put-back slam to make it 46-60. Teodosic and Kirilenko got together for a pretty pass inside and score to lift the lead to 17. Lawson got to the line, but missed 3 times over two possessions. Teodosic added another triple before Collins made it 52-67 at the end of the quarter.
Collins sank a triple in hopes of getting the hosts on a roll, but Krstic and Shved took care of that. A Shved jumper made it 55-73 and practically sealed the outcome. Still Zalgiris played hard and Tadas Klimavicius and Weems generated points. Popovic followed a triple to make it 62-73 with just over six minutes left, but as a roar started to accrue among the fans, Khryapa hit back from downtown. Lavrinovic was called for “flopping” after contact with Collins and after Popovic free throws and then a Collins triple with three-and-a-half minutes left, Zalgiris was within 67-77. Krstic from the line and a Teodosic dish to Kirilenko for a slam accented the result and allowed CSKA to relax long before the final buzzer.
Monday, October 17, 2011