CSKA Moscow knocked out Caja Laboral 70-74
With another show of its legendary pride, CSKA Moscow stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat host Caja Laboral 70-74 on Thursday and blast into the club's eighth consecutive Final Four! CSKA won their best-of-five quarterfinal series 3-1 thanks in large part to J.R. Holden, who played all 40 minutes and led an amazing comeback by scoring 16 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. CSKA will now face Regal FC Barcelona in one semifinal on May 7 at the Final Four in Paris! It certainly looked like the series would go to five games when Laboral took a 59-49 lead with a little over 7 minutes left. But then Holden scored 10 points on 3 three-point shots and the free throw that came with one of them to set up a game-tying triple by Ramunas Siskauskas. Holden reappeared in the final minute with a go-ahead jumper that provided the last lead change and assured his and CSKA's eighth consecutive Final Four together, double the streak of the next-best club, which coincidentally is Caja Laboral. To Holden's 19 points, center Sasha Kaun added 18 and 10 rebounds for the winners. Trajan Langdon put up 16 more points and Siskauskas 10. For Caja Laboral, which used a 27-8 second quarter to take control of the game until the end, Fernando San Emeterio was incredible, with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Brad Oleson followed with 14 points off the bench, while Tiago Splitter had 10.
Langdon found Kaun alone for a dunk to start the scoring. CSKA kept rolling with Viktor Khryapa's huge two-handed dunk, starting from the three-point arc, and a running jumper by Langdon at 0-6. Mirza Teletovic finally got to the foul line to start Laboral's scoring, but Langdon fed Kaun for another layup. Laboral's first basket from the field came next, however, a three-pointer from Carl English to make it 5-8. Splitter backed in for a hook shot as Laboral threatened to take its first lead, but Langdon was waiting with a triple, and Khryapa followed him to double the difference, 7-14, instead. A steal by Holden let Langdon once again launch and hit from the arc for a double-digit lead, 7-17, that forced a Laboral timeout. The hosts went back to Splitter's trademark hook to get unstuck, but Khryapa fed Kaun for another layup. San Emeterio hit a nice running one-hander, but again Kaun ripped an offensive board, got a free throw from it, and then rejected Splitter at the other end before free throws by Langdon ended the first quarte rat 11-22 for the guests.
Pops-Mensah Bonsu added free throws to CSKA's lead at the start of the second quarter before Oleson struck back at the arc for Laboral. The bad news for CSKA came with a third foul to Siskauskas, right before Oleson launched from a different corner to make it 17-24. After San Emeterio and Kaun exchanged baskets, Oleson was left alone again, and he took advantage to cut the difference to 22-26 and get the home crowd fully into the game again. CSKA's problems continued with a third foul to Khryapa as Splitter got loose for a layup. A timeout didn't help the guests, as San Emeterio returned to beat the shot clock with a triple and pass to Walter Herrmann for the go-ahead layup at 29-28. Hermann then stole and downed another fastbreak basket to make it an 18-4 run for the hosts, who weren't done. Stanko Barac tipped in a miss and San Emeterio blasted a triple from the wing as Laboral threatened to run away at 36-28. Anton Ponkrashov stopped the bleeding for CSKA with a drive, but Oleson matched it and Laboral cruised into halftime ahead 38-30.
CSKA started the second half by getting Siskauskas involved immediately, with a three-pointer that were his first points of the game. Laboral answered inside with Splitter and outside with San Emeterio, from the arc, for a 43-35 advantage. And when Holden got those 3 points back in one shot for CSKA, San Emeterio didn't let it stand, hitting yet another three-pointer, his fourth in five tries so far. Next, Kaun got 3 points the hard way, which Splitter answered with a jump-hook to maintain a seven-point lead, 48-41. A lull in the scoring ended with Khryapa driving for an under-hand layup, then free throws by Langdon cut the difference to 48-45. Laboral patiently recovered with free throws before Pau Ribas hit a stop-and-pop lane jumper to end the quarter at 53-45 in his team's favor.
Holden braved a double-team to down a rainbow jumper that opened the final quarter. Marcelinho Huertas matched for Laboral with a driving layup. Kaun appeared next, dunking back a miss to make it 55-49. That's when Teletovic appeared with a free throw and a huge triple that gave Laboral its first double-digit lead, 59-49, with 7 minutes left. After a timeout, Kaun's offensive rebound gave Holden a three-point opportunity, and he nailed it. Then when Laboral missed, Holden was at it again, striking from the opposite corner to suddenly make it 59-55. Laboral needed a timeout now, and out of it, Oleson reappeared with a triple. After Holden scored on a drive, San Emeteroi matched. Then Holden outdid himself, hitting his next three-pointer with a high bounce off the front rim and a free throw that came with it, a four-point play for a 64-61 scoreboard with 5 minutes left. CSKA ball movement completed the run with Siskauskas, this time, sitting alone for a game-tying triple at 64-64. Out of another Laboral timeout, Singletary beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper while Langdon ran off a screen to re-tie, 66-66. Siskauskas got to the line next, hitting 1 of 2 for CSKA's first lead of the second half. CSKA rebounded his miss and the next one, but couldn't convert. San Emeterio drew a foul and took the lead back for Laboral with 2 of 2 free throws at 68-67 with 2 minutes on the clock, then drew a charge at the other end, getting the ball back for his team. His biggest play came next, a full-spin layup high off the glass at 70-67. When Langdon got 3 free throws but hit only 2, Laboral was still up by a point with 90 seconds left. As the last minute arrived, however, so did Holden again, fading on another rainbow jumper that put CSKA up 70-71 with 56 seconds left. After another Laboral miss, Siskauskas went to the line, but again missed one, to make it 70-72. Caja Laboral went for a triple by Teletovic, which missed, and with the offensive rebound, got another try by San Emeterio, which also missed. With 4.9 second left, Siskauskas made sure with 2 more free throws that left lots of people in Russia making plans for Paris.
Thursday, April 1, 2010