Clyburn was at his best versus Real, again

Mar 19, 2021 by Print
Clyburn was at his best versus Real, again

Will Clyburn helped a star-studded CSKA Moscow squad win the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in 2019. The do-it-all forward captured the Final Four MVP award for his fantastic performances in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Though CSKA bested Anadolu Efes Istanbul in the championship, Clyburn's signature moment came in the semifinals with a baseline dunk over that season's EuroLeague Best Defender Walter Tavares.

Historically, Clyburn has been a Real killer and he has done particularly well in the Spanish capital. He posted 15 points and 9 rebounds in his first game with CSKA in Madrid, an 82-69 loss in Round 2 of the 2017-18 regular season. In Round 10 of the next season, Clyburn shined with 18 points, 6 boards and a PIR of 27 for an 88-93 road win. This was his first trip back after missing most of last season due to injury.

On Thursday, CSKA collected a comfortable victory and Clyburn was a big reason why. It was a close game until Clyburn decided he had enough. He was scoreless when a driving layup by Nico Laprovittola brought Real within 28-29. Clyburn took charge with 16 points over the next 7 minutes until halftime to send CSKA into the break with a 41-55 cushion.

Clyburn buried 3 three-pointers and made 5 free throws in that stretch, during which he also got plenty of help from Mike James. He led all scorers on the night with 23 points plus 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in accumulating a PIR of 30. Clyburn was one of four CSKA players with 4 three-pointers. His point total was the ninth-best in his EuroLeague career and the PIR ranks fourth.

Of course, Clyburn's excellence was not the only reason CSKA left Madrid with a victory. James scored 22 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting, Johannes Voigtmann compiled 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting from downtown plus 9 rebounds and Toko Shengelia tallied 14 points on 4-of-7 from behind the arc in 17:32 before fouling out.

The 16 threes were a season-best for CSKA and the firth-most by the club in competition history and the reason behind it was clear: Real's game-changing weapon, Walter Tavares, was parked in the paint. There is no stopping Tavares, who accumulated 12 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks; it was his eighth double-double of the season, which set a club record. Gustavo Ayon had seven double-doubles in 2015-16.

However, CSKA was able to partially neutralize Tavares by shooting more from behind the arc (34) than from close to the basket (28 two-pointers), with the starting front line of Voigtmann and Shengelia playing key roles in that. And their efforts combined with Clyburn's dominant showing was worth a valuable road win in Madrid.