CSKA prevails in thriller in Berlin
CSKA Moscow bounced back from a tough loss earlier in the week by winning a thriller 90-93 at ALBA Berlin which went to the last shot. The game was tight throughout with the biggest lead for either team being eight points, and CSKA was able to build its largest advantage of seven points in the closing minutes to hold on. CSKA, which came into the game having lost 67-88 at home against UNICS Kazan, improved to 10-6 thanks to Johannes Voigtmann pacing five players in double figures with 16 points to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks. Will Clyburn scored 15 points, Alexey Shved added 14, Joel Bolomboy tallied 12 points and Toko Shengelia chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. ALBA has now lost three straight in dropping to 5-11 - though the team really gave a great fight considering it was without Luke Sikma, Jaleen Smith, Christ Koumadje and Louis Olinde. Maodo Lo poured in a career high 26 points including 6 three-pointers while Marcus Eriksson hit 5 three-pointers in scoring 19 points. Oscar da Silva contributed 13 points and Johannes Thiemann pitched in 12 points and 6 rebounds in the defeat.
Thiemann opened the scoring for the hosts, who added two more scores and were leading 6-0 thanks to three early CSKA turnovers. Shved finally got CSKA on the board with a jumper after more than 2 minutes. Lo hit a three-pointer at the other end to push his output to seven points and a 13-5 ALBA lead. The guests started getting some stops and scored more consistently with Clyburn throwing down a dunk and draining a triple, and Iffe Lundberg knotted the game 19-19 on a three-point play. Joel Bolomboy gave CSKA its first lead 19-21 with two free throws, and ALBA was down 21-23 after 10 minutes.
Marius Grigonis’ free throws opened the second quarter, but the hosts found their rhythm with Eriksson draining two three-pointers and Lo scoring yet again in a 15-6 surge to pull ahead, 36-31. CSKA used the long ball to get back into the game with Grigonis, Shved and Voigtmann all hitting triples and Shengelia added six points in building a 43-48 gap. ALBA closed that immediately with five quick points from Yovel Zoosman, including a dunk at the buzzer to send the teams into the break even at 48-48.
Clyburn opened the second half with a three-pointer but Eriksson punched right back from the outside. Lo assisted on that shot as he began to really take control with a three-pointer, a layup and an assist on Ben Lammers’ dunk for a 58-51 lead. Lo added two more triples and ALBA was up 65-58 midway through the quarter. Tamir Blatt took over the scoring for ALBA while Voigtmann responded with five points including a three-pointer to get within 73-69 after 30 minutes.
Shved started the final frame and Lundberg followed to give CSKA the lead, 73-74. Eriksson answered with a three-pointer only to see Voigtmann knock down back-to-back triples and the guests were up 76-80. The long balls continued to fall with Thiemann and Lo tying it up, 82-82, inside the final 5 minutes. Shengelia produced two big layups and Clyburn hit from deep, before Da Silva turned the ball over and Hackett made him pay with a jumper and CSKA was up 84-91 with 96 seconds to play. Da Silva tried to make amends with a three-pointer and Thiemann added a free throw with 39 seconds remaining to make it 88-91. Shengelia missed a three-pointer but CSKA gained the offensive rebound only for Voigtmann to commit a turnover with 13 seconds left. After two free throws from Lo made it 90-91, Shved added two from the line with 6.7 seconds to play, and Da Silva and Eriksson both missed three-pointers to try to force overtime.
Bolomboy shines off bench
CSKA’s starting big man Nikola Milutinov could not really find his spot in the game, but the Russian side was helped greatly by Joel Bolomboy really shining off the bench. He shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line in scoring 12 points - many of those on spectacular dunks. He also added 5 rebounds - three of them off the offensive glass - to go with 2 blocks in 18 minutes. All that earned him an index rating of 19 and it was Bolomboy’s best game in quite some time. The last time he scored in double figures was Round 9 and he had totalled just one point in the last two games before the ALBA contest.
Career night for Lo not enough
Maodo Lo had a night to remember in the backcourt for ALBA but unfortunately it came in a loss. The German national team guard drained 6 three-pointers in scoring a career high 26 points. He also grabbed 3 rebounds, dished out 7 assists, swiped 2 steals and drew 7 fouls, ending with a PIR of 34. The 26 points were three more than he scored earlier this season against FC Bayern Munich, while Lo’s previous best PIR was 28 versus Gran Canaria in November 2018. And the 6-three-pointers were two more than his previous best output from deep.
CSKA depth too much
CSKA did a good job using its depth as the guests’ reserves scored 59 points - compared to just 34 for CSKA’s starters. ALBA’s first five, in contrast, tallied 62 points with the bench producing 28 points. In a battle of the league’s top two teams in offensive rebounds, CSKA showed why it is number one with 18 boards and those were turned into 16 points, compared to 11 points off 14 ALBA offensive rebounds. CSKA also had a major advantage at the free throw line, hitting 16-of-18 foul shots to just 8-of-9 for ALBA.
Friday, December 17, 2021