2020-21Regular SeasonRound 19
January 13, 2021 CET: 18:00
Local time: 20:00 MEGASPORT ARENA

CSKA puts halt to Zalgiris streak

In a battle of long-time rivals, CSKA Moscow grabbed its seventh consecutive home win in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 83-73 at Megasport Arena on Wednesday. CSKA improved to 15-4 and is guaranteed to continue holding first place alone in the standings through the end of this double-round wee. Meanwhile, Zalgiris dropped to 11-8 and saw its six-game winning streak come to an end. Mike James led the winners with 21 points. Toko Shengelia added 18, Darrun Hilliard 17, Johannes Voigtmann 11 and Nikola Milutinov 10. Milutinov made his a double-double, with 14 rebounds, while Nikita Kurbanov dished a career-high 7 assists for CSKA. Zalgiris got 16 points from Marius Grigonis, 14 from Thomas Walkup and 11 each from Nigel Hayes and Lukas Lekavicius. CSKA led 18-11 after 10 minutes and boosted its margin to 45-32 at halftime. Zalgiris managed to get within 60-57 early in the fourth quarter but James and Hilliard stepped up to make sure that CSKA cruised to yet another home win.

Hilliard got CSKA going with a couple of jumpers while Milutinov added a dunk and a layup for an 8-0 lead. Arturas Milaknis and Hayes rescued Zalgiris with consecutive three-pointers before Shengelia and Milutinov restored a 12-6 CSKA edge. Walkup followed a jumper with a triple but James singlehandedly kept CSKA in charge, 16-11. Semen Antonov hit a mid-range jumper to fix the score at 18-11 after 10 minutes. Voigtmann dunked early in the second quarter and added a running hook and a bomb from downtown for a double-digit CSKA lead, 25-14. Joffrey Lauvergne stepped up with a tip-in and Lekavicius downed a jumper but Hilliard and Kurbanov kept CSKA ahead 29-18. James struck from downtown and Shengelia followed a second-chance layup with a three-pointer. Walkup hit a mid-range shot and Grigonis had 8 quick points, including a layup-plus-foul that kept Zalgiris within 39-30. Hilliard sank back-to-back triples, however, to boost CSKA's margin to 45-32 at halftime. Shengelia re-emerged with a put-back layup and a dunk soon after the break. James bettered Milaknis's close basket with a corner triple that Walkup answered from downtown. He then added a layup to give Zalgiris hope at 52-39. Grigonis buried his second three-pointer, getting help from Augustine Rubit and Rokas Jokubaitis to bring the guests even closer, 58-50. Voigtmann sank a six-meter jumper but Lekavicius kept Zalgiris within 60-52 after 30 minutes. Hayes struck from beyond the arc early in the fourth quarter and Lekavicius added a floater to get Zalgiris within 60-57. CSKA did not panic, though, as Hilliard and James filled an 8-0 run that boosted its lead to 68-57. Lauvergne and Milutinov traded dunks before Grigonis downed his third triple for a 70-62 score with 5 minutes left. James scored in penetration, joining forces with Shengelia and Janis Strelnieks to seal the outcome, 80-67, as Zalgiris did not recover in the final 2 minutes.

Pivotal performer

Milutinov, who received his MVP for December award before the game, registered his seventh double-double of the season, finishing the game with 10 points and 14 rebounds. He tied his own CSKA club record by pulling down 8 rebounds in the first quarter. Milutinov finished the game with a team-best PIR of 22.

Game-changing moment

After Lekavicius hit a floater to get Zalgiris within 60-57 early in the fourth quarter, Hilliard matched that at the other end, igniting an 8-0 run highlighted by James's step-back three-pointer. Hilliard capped it with a three-point play that restored a 68-57 CSKA lead, enough to control the game in the final 6 minutes.

Stellar stat

Rebounds made the difference in this game. CSKA outrebounded Zalgiris by 44-26. CSKA pulled down as many as 15 offensive rebounds, with Milutinov grabbing 5 of those. Zalgiris had 18 defensive rebounds but just 8 on the offensive end.

Did you know?

CSKA remains undefeated against Zalgiris at home in EuroLeague action, 14 wins in as many home games. Zalgiris beat CSKA in Moscow in the former Soviet Union League and in the VTB League, but never in Europe's marquee competition. Zalgiris managed to force overtime in its previous two visits, losing 99-97 in the 2018-19 campaign and 85-82 last season on a last-second shot by James.

Next game

Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Friday, January 15. In a battle in the upper part of the standings, CSKA welcomes FC Barcelona and its former star Cory Higgins to the Russian capital. At the same time, Zalgiris visits a Zenit St Petersburg team that features three of its former players: Arturas Gudaitis, Kevin Pangos and KC Rivers.

Tornike Shengelia - CSKA Moscow - EB20
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT; MOGULKOC, EMIN; CICI, GENTIAN
Attendance: 3120
By Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow18271523
Zalgiris Kaunas11212021
End of Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow18456083
Zalgiris Kaunas11325273
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
3 BOLOMBOY, JOEL 12:30   0/1 0/1   1 3 4   2         1 5
4 KHOMENKO, ALEXANDER 6:40   0/1               1     3 1 -4
5 JAMES, MIKE 33:09 21 4/7 3/9 4/6   3 3 5   3       6 21
6 HILLIARD, DARRUN 27:40 17 5/7 2/3 1/1   4 4     1   1 4 2 14
7 UKHOV, IVAN 4:25   0/1     1 2 3 1         1   2
11 ANTONOV, SEMEN 8:35 2 1/1     1 2 3 1         1 1 6
13 STRELNIEKS, JANIS 8:06 2 1/2 0/2         3 1       4   -1
17 VOIGTMANN, JOHANNES 13:48 11 3/6 1/3 2/2 1 1 2 1   1     1 1 8
23 SHENGELIA, TORNIKE 27:30 18 5/9 1/3 5/5 4 3 7 1   4     4 4 16
33 MILUTINOV, NIKOLA 27:30 10 4/8   2/2 5 9 14     1       3 22
41 KURBANOV, NIKITA 30:07 2 1/1 0/1   1 2 3 7 1   1   2   11
51 SHASHKOV, ALEXANDER DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1   1     1          
Totals 200:00 83 24/44 7/22 14/16 15 29 44 19 4 12 1 1 20 19 100
        54.5% 31.8% 87.5%
Head coach: ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 23:37 14 4/5 2/6     1 1 5         1   14
1 BLAZEVIC, MAREK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 18:34 11 3/6 1/3 2/2       4   1     4 2 7
10 HAYES, NIGEL 26:58 11 2/3 2/3 1/1 1 1 2   1 1     2 2 11
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 15:31 2 0/2 0/2 2/2   5 5   1       1 2 5
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 21:08 5 1/2 1/4         1 1     1 2    
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 4:40 1     1/2           1       3 2
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 23:06 4 2/5     2 5 7 1 2       4 1 8
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 14:44 5 2/3 0/1 1/3 1 1 2     2     1 5 5
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 28:10 16 2/4 3/7 3/3       1 1 1 1   3 5 14
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 23:32 4 2/7     3 2 5 5         1   8
Team           1 3 4     2         2
Totals 200:00 73 18/37 9/26 10/13 8 18 26 17 6 8 1 1 19 20 76
        48.6% 34.6% 76.9%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN

Head Coaches

ITOUDIS, DIMITRIS
CSKA Moscow
"The key to the win is that we drastically changed our defensive responsibilities. We were very energetic; we followed the plan for most of the game. Of course, we had some lapses, but the fact is that we kept them to 73 points and, in general, we didn't give them anything easy. They made tough shots, of course; they have quality. We met our expectations on the boards. We were dominant on the boards, something that characterizes us the whole season. I think that our identity on defense and the fact that we are giving a fight is also significant. I like how the second unit came in and, even though we haven't created that much offensively, we were there defensively as well. We fought and I think that is the meaning of playing as a team, that each and everyone gives something regardless how many minutes he plays. Definitely, from the first unit, we can find a lot of good things, like Nikola's double-double, but back to our defensive end, let's not forget that Zalgiris was coming over here with a record of assists against Khimki, with 25 assists in the previous game. We managed to keep them to 17, and that says a lot about our effort on the defensive end. As I said in the locker room, everybody was contributing, and I believe that Mike deserved a lot of credit for the way he was composed and leading the team, especially without two creators that we are missing right now, Clyburn and Hackett, so congratulations
SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, congratulations to Coach Itoudis and CSKA for winning the game. I thought we struggled defensively in the first half, especially in defensive rebounds. CSKA is the best offensive rebounding team in the league, and it kind of showed today. They are really strong, really big and physical, and create second chances for themselves. We struggled there, in rebounds. We cut the lead to five points, I believe, and I had a good feeling about the momentum of the game, about the energy of the game. And then CSKA went into, I think, an 11-0 run. We fought all the way until the end, and for us the biggest challenge right now is getting ready for the game in 48 hours, in St Petersburg. Get our legs ready, get great food, go to bed and prepare for the game. I thought we came out with much better focus in the third quarter on both ends of the floor, but especially on defense, being clean in our coverages and not committing mistakes, which is important against a team like CSKA, not allowing yourself to have too many mistakes. So our focus was much better in the third quarter and in the second half overall. That led to us playing a better second half."

Players

SHENGELIA, TORNIKE
CSKA Moscow
"Nobody said it was going to be easy. We know that Zalgiris is a very serious team and if you don't bring 100%, it was going to be very tough. Thankfully, we were a very serious team, defensively and offensively. We made a lot of mistakes, a lot of turnovers, but in the end, we got the win, so we are happy. As I said, we still can find many errors in our game which we have to fix for the upcoming games."
MILUTINOV, NIKOLA
CSKA Moscow
"It is not only about me, it is about the whole team. I think everybody is playing for each other. We hustle for each other, we play as a team and this is why we are playing good basketball. Of course, I am happy. I am just tired after the game because it was difficult. Playing against them, a good team, they play fast, and it was tough to play against them tonight."
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