CSKA Moscow became the uncontested leader in Group E of the Top 16 by edging Real Madrid 94-95 in overtime on the road on Thursday before 12,800 fans in the Spanish capital. CSKA improved to 3-0 in the group standing and opened a two-win gap, as Real Madrid, Winterthur FC Barcelona and Scavolini Pesaro share the second place at 1-2. David Andersen led the winners with 25 points and 10 rebounds in yet another outstanding individual perfomance. Marcus Brown added 19 points on 10 of 10 free throws, Antonio Granger 18 on 6 of 8 threes while J.R. Holden had 10 for CSKA. Antonis Fotsis and Louis Bullock led Real Madrid each with 17 points, but Bullock missed 3 shots in the final minute of the extra period. Mickael Gelabale added 15 points, Elmer Bennett 13 and 8 assists while Antonio Bueno had 11 for the hosts. Real Madrid controlled the game in the opening period, but the game turned into a back-and-forth battle in which Fotsis forced overtime with a free throw with 4.3 seconds to go in regulation. Andersen shined in the extra period, but a put-back basket by Mous Sonko gave Real Madrid a 83-82 edge. Papaloukas found space for a layup, as Pat Burke was called goaltending, while Bullock missed the game-winning shot at the end of a fantastic game.
Bueno, starting in place of injured Madrid rebounding ace Felipe Reyes, opened the game with a short jumper to which Bullock added a three-poiner to give Madrid a 5-2 lead. CSKA struggled to score until Granger fired in a triple. Gelabale immediately answered from downtown for Madrid, and Fotsis copied him from beyond the arc in an 8-0 run that Bullock capped with a fastbreak layup, forcing a CSKA timeout at 13-5. Madrid played with great intensity at both ends and used a switching, man-to-man defense to break CSKA's concentration. Bueno pumped up the crowd with a fastbreak dunk, but Bullock then picked up his second foul as Madrid entered the foul bonus early. CSKA took avdantage as Brown and Muursepp combined for 4 of 4 free throws to bring the guests within 15-9. Madrid kept charging behind Fotsis, who followed a layup with a two-handed dunk for a double-digit lead, 19-9. Granger drilled a three-pointer from the top and Brown added a triple of his own to get CSKA closer, but an alley-oop layup by the red-hot Fotsis helped Madrid retain a 26-21 margin after 10 minutes.
Madrid switched to 2-3 zone defense to start the second quarter, but Holden punished it with a quick triple. That sparked a 1-9 run in which Aleksey Savrasenko added back-to-back layups to give CSKA its first lead, 27-30. It didn't last long, as Alberto Herreros stepped up with a three-pointer, Mous Sonko copied him from downtown and Axel Hervelle powered in a layup to put Madrid back in charge, 35-30. Theodoros Papaloukas tried to change things with a three-pointer from the wing, but Bueno answered with a three-point play and Gelabale raised the roof with a two-handed dunk for a 40-36 Real Madrid lead. CSKA responded with a 0-7 run that included 4 points by Andersen to take a 40-43 lead, and after Madrid cam back to tie, he drilled free throws to make it 46-48. Granger had time for another triple to give CSKA a 47-51 margin at the end of a thrilling first half.
Holden opened the second half with a coast-to-coast layup while Demos Dikoudis scored in the paint to give CSKA its biggest lead yet, 47-55. Bueno changed things with a turnaround jumper, igniting a 8-0 run that finished with Bullock's basket in close tying the game 55-55. Holden made his trademark jumper off the dribble while Savrasenko added a tip-in to give CSKA some air at 57-59. Bennett took over the lead for Madrid with a quick three, but Holden answered with the same to make it 60-62 for CSKA. After he fired in a mid-range jumper, Martin Muursepp's offensive rebound allowed Brown to turn an amazing, off-balance short jumper into a three-point play. Herreros erased it, however, with a bomb from downtown to which Bullock added free throws to put Madrid in front, 68-67, after 30 minutes.
Gelabale beat the shot clock with a floating layup that extended Madrid's lead to 71-68 before CSKA finally found its rhythm in the final quarter. The visitors' defense got tougher and Andersen popped a jumper to reduce the margin to 70-69. After 2 scoreless minutes, Papaloukas finally drove through Madrid's zone defensefor the go-ahead basket, 70-71, forcing a Madrid timeout. Bennett took over with a coast-to-coast basket and, after Granger fired in his fifth triple, made another layup and assisted Bullock on a three-pointer for a 77-74 Madrid advantage. A no-look pass by Papaloukas to Muursepp and another basket by Andersen put CSKA back in front, 77-79. The tension was mounting as Gelabale beat the shot clock with a power basket, but Andersen made free throws to keep CSKA in front going into the final 2 minutes. When Bullock nailed a clutch triple with 58.4 seconds left, sending Madrid ahead again, Granger quickly matched it at the other end, restoring CSKA's lead at 82-84 lead. Papaloukas missed 2 free throws that allowed Fotsis to make 2 of 4 at the other end, thanks in part to a big offensive rebound by Bueno, for a new tie, 84-84, that ended the fourth quarter and sent the teams to overtime.
Andersen opened the extra period with a free throw and returned to the line and to make both attempts and give CSKA an 84-87 cushion. Fotsis banged hom a triple to tie again, but Andersen turned a five-meter jumper into a basket-plus-free throw, then popped another shot for an 87-92 CSKA lead. But all was not lost for the hosts. Madrid's defense stopped CSKA in its tracks after that. Meanwhile, Sonko slashed for one basket, Pat Burke rolled off a pick for another and Bennett made 1 of 2 free throws to tie 92-92. Andersen went back to the line, but missed his first attempt, after which Sonko found a put-back basket to give Madrid a 93-92 lead with 33.6 seconds remaining. But the alert Brown immediately fed Papaloukas with a long pass, and when his layup attempt came off the board, Burke was called for goaltending for touching the rim before blocking the ball. It all came down to the final play, in which Bullock missed a three, allowing CSKA to keep its winning streak alive and win one of the most exciting games this season.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Carlos Gil, Madrid