CSKA’s mammoth run crushes Panathinaikos
CSKA Moscow blitzed Panathinaikos OPAP Athens to earn a comfortable 74-98 victory in the Greek capital on Wednesday night. A closely contested first quarter was followed by a mismatch in the second as CSKA surged clear with a 0-23 run which proved enough to settle the outcome for good. It was 33-60 at the interval, marking the joint-highest first half total ever recorded by CSKA in the competition. The margin never got much smaller the rest of the way as the visitors cruised to an easy win. Marius Grigonis led the way with 19 points, while Daniel Hackett scored 17, Toko Shengelia added 16 and Joel Bolomboy had a strong all-round game with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Ioannis Papapetrou led Panathinaikos’s resistance with 16 points, while Kendrick Perry scored 15 and Daryl Macon Jr added all his 11 points in the last quarter. CSKA improves to 11-7 while Panathinaikos is now 4-14.
The early scoring was evenly shared, as Nikita Kurbanov scored 5 fast points for CSKA while a three-point play from Papapetrou helped keep Panathinaikos level, 7-7. Hackett and Jeremy Evans traded triples and a flurry of free throws were followed by a threeball from Ivan Ukhov for a 13-17 CSKA lead. Georgios Papagiannis dunked-and-one to help get the hosts ahead, but Grigonis hit a four-point play and a layup from Bolomboy made it 20-26 after ten minutes. Iffe Lundberg and Grigonis opened the second quarter with three-pointers, taking the lead into double digits, as Panathinaikos remained scoreless for nearly seven minutes. Bolomboy slammed a one-handed alley-oop and Lundberg made another three for a 20-37 lead. Hackett also struck from deep to complete a 0-23 run, before two baskets from Howard Sant-Roos revived the hosts. Triples from Johannes Voigtmann and Hackett kept CSKA comfortable, 26-48, and Shengelia added a layup-and-one. Shengelia, Voigtmann and Grigonis netted close to the basket, and Hackett added his fourth triple to give CSKA a 33-60 halftime lead.
Nikola Milutinov opened the second half with a transition dunk, but two scores from Papapetrou and a Papagiannis slam sparked Panathinaikos. Three-pointers from Shengelia, Grigonis and Ukhov reasserted CSKA’s dominance, 41-71, midway through the third. A pair of triples and a coast-to-coast bank shot from Perry pulled Panathinaikos closer, 55-77, after three quarters. Bolomboy produced big plays at both ends early in the fourth quarter, before Macon Jr and Hackett both registered three-point plays. A triple from Grigonis was followed by two more baskets from Macon Jr, before Alexey Shved scored his first points with a pair of three-pointers to complete the rout.
CSKA’s decisive burst
The game was decided by an enormous 0-23 run from CSKA bridging the end of the first quarter and the start of the second. Panathinaikos had competed well until that point and led 20-17 with three minutes remaining in the opening period after a basket from Ioannis Papapetrou, but then a layup from Tornike Shengelia was the prelude for CSKA’s onslaught. A four-point play from Marius Grigonis near the end of the first was followed by triples from Iffe Lundberg and Grigonis to open the second, and the visitors just kept on rolling. The last basket of the 0-23 run – achieved in less than seven minutes – was another three-pointer, this time from Daniel Hackett, and the game was never competitive again.
Hackett shines in three-point barrage
The main factor behind CSKA’s astonishing game-deciding 0-23 run was incredible accuracy from beyond the arc. The Russian team made 10 of its first 16 three-point attempts during the opening 16 minutes of the game, with six different players converting from deep. Daniel Hackett struck 4 of his first 5 triples as CSKA totalled 11 in the first half alone. That pace could not be maintained after the break but the visiting team still finished with 17 three-pointers on 34 attempts, one short of a club record. Many of those three-pointers were open shots created by good looks as CSKA moved the ball well, dishing 24 assists on the night – led by Hackett with 6.
Grigonis gives best performance yet
Marius Grigonis delivered by far the best performance of his CSKA career to date, leading all scorers with a season-high 19 points. The former Zalgiris Kaunas star had only reached double figures on one previous occasion this season, scoring 10 points against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in Round 9, but he crushed that in Athens by shooting 2 of his 5 two-point shots, 4-of-8 from three-point range and all 3 free throws. He also dished 3 assists and spent a season-high 23 minutes on the floor to send Coach Dimitris Itoudis a clear message that he is ready to become a key player for the Russian team.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022