Baskonia advances despite losing at CSKA
CSKA Moscow dominated the fourth quarter to erase a double-digit deficit and beat KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 82-78 in the teams' regular-season finale on Thursday night at Megasport Arena in the Russian capital. Will Clyburn scored 14 points in the final 10 minutes – including the go-ahead three-pointer – to lead CSKA to its fourth straight win, a 24-6 record and second place for the season. However, shortly after the final buzzer Baskonia learned that it had advanced to the EuroLeague Playoffs by virtue of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan's loss at Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Later, Zalgiris Kaunas defeated Real Madrid which sealed Baskonia into seventh place, meaning it will face CSKA in the quarterfinals. Clyburn finished with 16 points to lead CSKA, Cory Higgins added 14 and Nando De Colo and Daniel Hackett scored 11 each. Marcelinho Huertas paced Baskonia with 17 points, Shavon Shields and Vincent Poirier netted 12 apiece and Johannes Voigtmann 10. Baskonia finished the regular season with a 15-15 record.
CSKA opened the scoring, but Baskonia reeled off 9 straight points – from four different players – to take a 4-9 lead. After De Colo briefly restored a CSKA lead, Baskonia strung together 7 more points for a 10-16 advantage. CSKA brought in Higgins and Clyburn off the bench for a 7-0 response, but Huertas's triple put the visitors back in front and Poirier made it 17-21 after 10 minutes. Ilimane Diop blocked a shot and Toko Shengelia scored his first basket since Round 15 as Baskonia looked to pull away. A timely triple by Nikita Kurbanov kept CSKA close, however, more magic from Huertas kept the visitors in control with the difference rising to 25-33. Higgins and Sergio Rodriguez teamed up to rally CSKA within 2 and the scoreboard showed 40-44 at the break. Luca Vildoza committed his fourth foul early in the second half and took a seat on the bench, but before long his replacement, Huertas, scored and matched Baskonia's biggest margin from the first half, 43-51. Diop made his presence felt with an alley-oop slam courtesy of Huertas at one end and a block on the other, which paved the way for Darrun Hilliard to give Baskonia its first double-digit lead, 53-64. That margin stood at the end of the third quarter, 55-66. Clyburn opened the fourth with a three-pointer and before long, Poirier committed an off-ball unsportsmanlike foul on Joel Bolomboy, which saw the hosts climb within 5. Bolomboy added a put-back and drew another unsportsmanlike foul, this one from Shengelia, that allowed CSKA to creep within 66-69. Hackett scored 4 points before Clyburn drained a triple to give CSKA its first lead since the first quarter, 73-71, with 3 and a half minutes remaining. A Baskonia timeout did little to stop Clyburn, who threw down a thundering slam and blocked a shot to keep CSKA's charge going. Hackett made it 77-72 with 2 minutes to play. Baskonia stayed in the game through Voigtmann, but there was no answer for Clyburn, whose triple with 47 seconds left gave CSKA its biggest lead 82-75 and essentially put the game on ice.
Will Clyburn took over in the fourth quarter to carry CSKA from 11 down to victory. He scored 14 of the team's 27 points over the final 10 minutes. Clyburn started the quarter with a three-pointer, but really took over after Daniel Hackett drew the hosts within 70-71 with 4 minutes to go. He fired in a three-pointer that gave CSKA the lead and followed that with a thundering slam. Clyburn also sank a pair of free throws in the penultimate minute to keep Baskonia at bay and drained a three in the final minute to put the game on ice. He made 1 of 2 two-pointers and was perfect in 3 tries from downtown in the fourth. He also made 3 of 4 free throws, took a pair of rebounds and blocked 1 shot in the fourth.
Daniel Hackett and Will Clyburn combined for all the points in a 9-0 fourth-quarter run that turned a 5-point deficit to a 75-71 lead. Clyburn nailed a three from the top of the key that gave CSKA its first lead since the opening quarter and the hosts held on the rest of the way.
Did you notice?
The victory made it 14 in a row on its home floor for CSKA against Baskonia. The last time CSKA was felled by Baskonia in Moscow was in the semifinals of the 2005 Final Four. CSKA finished the regular season with a 13-2 home record, while Baskonia was 4-11 on the road. CSKA will have the home-court advantage when these teams meet in the playoffs.
In the playoffs
CSKA and Baskonia will meet again in the best-of-five playoffs. CSKA will host Games 1 and 2 on the week of April 16.
Thursday, April 4, 2019