CSKA too good in road win over ALBA
CSKA Moscow shook off a rare case of ineffectiveness and still ran away with a 66-82 victory at ALBA Berlin to remain perfect. After a slow start, CSKA took control of the game with a 1-15 run in the third quarter as the reigning champions improved to 4-0. Mike James led the way with 22 points and Darrun Hilliard added 21 points, with Joel Bolomboy chipping in 12 points. ALBA, which was out-scored 8-22 in the third quarter, was paced by Luke Sikma, Niels Giffey and Tim Schneider all with 11 points, while and Peyton Siva picked up 7 points and 11 assists for the home side, which dropped to 1-3. ALBA fell to 0-5 all-time in the EuroLeague against CSKA, also losing twice in the 2013 Top 16 and both games in the 2014 Regular Season.
ALBA started the game off in style with Siva serving up an alley-oop for Sikma, who added a second basket for a 5-3 lead. But CSKA, the competition’s top three-point shooting team, started hot as Hilliard nailed two threes and James hit a second long ball for an 8-13 advantage. CSKA held ALBA to just one Giffey basket in nearly 5 minutes with Bolomboy extending the gap to 11-17. But the hosts scored the final four points of the quarter to trail 15-17 after 10 minutes. CSKA turned the ball over six times in the first quarter and lost it four more times in the first 3 minutes of the second, while Schneider nailed a three-pointer to put ALBA ahead 23-21. The champs started to execute a bit better on offense with six straight points for a 25-29 margin. Sikma answered with a triple but Bolomboy and Hilliard knocked down three-balls at the other end and CSKA was leading 34-39 at intermission. A Johannes Voigtmann triple early in the second half increased the CSKA lead to eight points, 36-44. Giffey drained one from the outside at the other end but ALBA then went more than 6 minutes with just one free throw as CSKA got a three-point play from James and two three-pointers from Hilliard in a 1-15 run to go up 40-59. It was 42-61 after 30 minutes and two Janis Strelnieks free throws increased the CSKA lead to 20 points - 43-63 - early in the final frame. ALBA did get three-balls from Rokas Giedraitis and Tyler Cavanaugh in trimming the deficit to 51-63 with less than 7 minutes to play, but Strelnieks punched back with a deep strike of his own to start a 0-7 spurt for a 51-70 cushion. ALBA tried to cut into the gap but Hilliard and James both knocked down three-pointers in the closing minutes to secure the win.
Clyburn suffers injury
CSKA’s Will Clyburn went down with a knee injury and had to be assisted off the court at the 3:53 minute mark in the second quarter. Last year’s Final Four MVP could not put any pressure on his right knee and did not return. “The only bad thing is the injury…it looks bad,” CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis said after the game.
Mike James was all over for CSKA with 22 points, including 3 three-pointers, to go with 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 23.
CSKA overcame 20 turnovers thanks to winning the rebound battle 39-27 with 12 offensive rebounds, while also holding ALBA to just 40.0% on two-point shots and 29.2% from long range. ALBA’s 66 points were 25.3 fewer than the German side had averaged coming into the game.
ALBA will remain at home next week as it hosts AX Armani Exchange Milan hoping to pick up its second home victory on Tuesday. CSKA heads back home and will take on Olympiacos Piraeus on Wednesday searching for a fifth win in five games.
Friday, October 25, 2019