CSKA rallies late to KO Real
CSKA Moscow dominated the fourth quarter to beat Real Madrid 95-90 late Friday in the second semifinal at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four at Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. CSKA advances to face Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Sunday's championship game. Nando De Colo scored 10 points in the final 10 minutes in helping CSKA rally from a 14-point third-quarter deficit. He and backcourt mate Sergio Rodriguez finished with 23 points apiece, Will Clyburn netted 18 and Cory Higgins 11, including the last free throws to put the game on ice. Fabien Causeur led the Real attack with 18 points, Sergio Llull added 13, Anthony Randolph 12 and Facu Camapzzo and Rudy Fernandez scored 10 apiece. Real led for all but a few seconds of the first 38 minutes, but CSKA closed the game on a 13-5 tear.
Walter Tavares and Daniel Hackett were the central factors in the early going. The Real center dunked twice and blocked a shot on defense in the opening minutes, while the CSKA guard netted 3 free throws, including a pair as a result of a Tavares foul. Clyburn tied the score at 6-6. Rudy Fernandez scored twice for Real and Camapzzo drilled a three-pointer that gave Real a 7-13 lead. Randolph got going with a slam and free throws before Llull's floater gave Real a double-digit lead, 11-22. Rodriguez helped CSKA trim the deficit with an assist to Kyle Hines and a three-pointer of his own. Rodriguez had the last basket of the quarter to make it 18-22 after 10 minutes. The teams traded shots to start the second half before free throws by De Colo and a layup by Rodriguez knotted the game at 26-26. Rodriguez's next shot from downtown gave CSKA its first lead, 29-28. Offense ruled the show with Causeur scoring on the break and Rodriguez reaching 14 points with a bucket that evened things at 36-36. Causeur scored twice more and Trey Thompkins connected from deep as Real threatened to pull away, but Clyburn put CSKA on his shoulder with a great move in the paint and later a three to beat the halftime buzzer and bring his team within 43-45.
Clyburn continued his momentum with a dunk – plus foul – over the EuroLeague's Best Defender, Tavares, but Real managed to slowly add to its lead through free throws from Campazzo and Randolph. That duo kept Real rolling; Campazzo made a wild layoff off the glass and Randolph drained a triple to raise the difference to double figures, 50-61, midway through the third quarter. Causeur extended the margin to a game-high 14 points. De Colo heated up for CSKA and cut into the deficit only to see Llull connect on a tough three-point play. However, Othello Hunter's put-back slam and Rodriguez's third three of the night drew CSKA within 65-73 through three quarters. Hunter and Rodriguez helped keep CSKA in it with key baskets early in the fourth quarter. De Colo scored 5 straight points – including a free throw after a technical foul on Madrid head coach Pablo Laso as tempers started to flare. A three-pointer by Clyburn got CSKA within 79-80 with 4 minutes to play. Clyburn split free throws to tie the game, but Jeffery Taylor responded with a three-pointer on the ensuing play to put Real back on top. Hunter came up big on the glass at both ends, including a clutch put-back. De Colo buried a pull-up three that pushed CSKA ahead 87-85 with 1:19 remaining. Campazzo fouled out inside the final minute and De Colo put CSKA up by two possessions with the resulting free throws. Llull connected on a wild three-pointer with 15.1 seconds remaining to make it 91-90. After Higgins made 2 from the line, Llull missed a three to tie it and Higgins iced the CSKA victory with a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds on the clock.
Nando's new records
Nando De Colo further cemented his status as one of the great players in Final Four history with his big game. De Colo moved into a tie for the fifth-most career points at the Final Four with 164. He is joined there by another CSKAgreat, Theodoros Papaloukas, and Dejan Bodiroga. Llull is next on that with 163. De Colo tied another legend, Nikos Galis, for the most free throws in Final Four history. His 13-for-14 effort gave him 56, but De Colo got to that number in 17 fewer attempts than Gallis. De Colo's 13 free throws are the most in a Final Four game since Sani Becirovic's 14 for Kinder Bologna in the semifinal against Benetton Treviso in the 2002 semifinals. A few other CSKA players limbed higher on the Final Four charts: Sergio Rodriguez is now third in competition history with 48 assists and Kyle Hines is now third with 71 rebounds and fourth with 47 two-pointers made.
Othello Hunter contributed 6 points and 4 rebounds while playing nearly the entirety of the fourth quarter for CSKA. He had 2 points and 1 rebound in the 30 minutes before that. Hunter scored two of CSKA's first three baskets of the fourth and later rocketed in a missed layup by Cory Higgins that made it 82-83. His 2 defensive rebounds in the last 2 minutes denied Real opportunities to score at crucial times. In a game CSKA won by 5 points, it outscored its opponent by 7 in the 20:26 that Hunter spent on the court and was outscored by 2 when he rested.
CSKA made half of its 18 three-point shots, while Real shot 7 for 24 from downtown (29.2%). Sergio Llull was the tragic hero for Los Blancos; his lone three-pointer in the game gave Real hope late at 91-90, but he missed on the final possession and finished shooting 1 for 10 from behind the arc. For CSKA, Will Clyburn was 3 for 4 on three-pointers and Sergio Rodriguez 3 for 5.
Foul trouble costs Real
Walter Tavares seemed to have the game in his hands early with a series of dunks and blocks in the first quarter, but eventually, CSKA's efforts to attack paid off as the center fell into foul trouble. He finished the game with 6 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in 15:07. CSKA outscored Real by 12 when Tavares was on the bench. Real also faced the finish without Facu Campazzo and Rudy Fernandez, who each fouled out.
Friday, May 17, 2019