Real Madrid remains unbeaten with overtime win over CSKA
Real Madrid kept its unbeaten streak in the Top 16 alive by beating CSKA Moscow 86-78 in overtime at home. It was the first meeting between the two since 2009, and was every bit worth the wait. Madrid improved to 6-0, while CSKA dropped to 4-2 in a key result. Jaycee Carroll was immense for Madrid with a career-high 31 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting. Rudy Fernandez amassed 20 points, a personal-best 13 rebounds plus 5 assists, while Sergio Llull and Nikola Mirotic both scored 10 points for the hosts. Milos Teodosic and Zoran Erceg – the latter in a long-awaited return from injury – paced six CSKA scorers in double figures with 13 points apiece. Vladimir Micov added 12, Sasha Kaun and Nenad Krstic each scored 11 and Sonny Weems had 10 in what proved to be an unhappy return for CSKA coach Ettore Messina to his former home court. CSKA had a chance to win it with the ball and the score tied 66-66 in the closing seconds of regulation, but Teodosic missed from downtown and Madrid pulled away in the final minute of the overtime session.
First quarter: Defense defines the early action
Weems opened the action with an assist to Teodosic, a two-pointer of his own and a defensive rebound. For Madrid, Carlos Suarez sank a deep three-pointer that finally got the home team off the mark, 3-6. Rafael Hettsheimer singlehandedly put Real Madrid in front for the first time in the game when he hit two close two-pointers and also did a sterling job of hustling Krstic into missing two hook shots under the basket. As Messina switched things up with the introduction of Erceg, Madrid's Llull matched the new man on court as they traded triples. Likewise, the lead changed hands frequently until CSKA rounded out a defensive quarter up 14-15.
Second quarter: Carroll heats up as Madrid pulls out a lead
Felipe Reyes's first basket got Madrid level, 22-22, and there was nothing between the two teams midway through the quarter. Tight defense in the paint from both sides meant that the shot clock was a frequent foe, resulting in lower shooting percentages than normal from two of the best offenses in the Euroleague. Going outside for variety, Madrid’s Jaycee Carroll pulled up for a fade-away triple with Dionte Christmas all over him. Carroll had the ball in the basket from a similar position just seconds later, but play was called back for a foul and he would have to wait to extend his hot streak. Sergio Rodriguez decided to take over and, from almost exactly the same position on the court, sank a triple to give Madrid a 6-point lead. CSKA was getting little joy from downtown, and the best three-point shooting team in the Top 16 was converting a lowly 1 of 11 from outside until Erceg hit a shot from beyond the arc in the final seconds. That wasn’t the last word, however, as Lull sank an audacious off-balance buzzer-beater from the touchline to make it 33-27 going into halftime.
Third quarter: CSKA steps up through Kaun
To kick off the third quarter Teodosic pulled out a spin move layup and then sank the resulting free throw that cut the Madrid lead in half, followed by Kaun blocking 3 shots and putting in a basket of his own to make it 33-32. It was Kaun –scoreless in the first half- who drew CSKA back level with his second basket. From there, Madrid stepped up a gear and Rudy scored 7 uninterrupted points, establishing his team’s biggest lead of the game. CSKA would not allow things to get out of hand and used its regular weapons of Kaun’s blocks and inside shots to get back in front, 41-42. From 6 and 7-point deficits, the road team had made two comebacks as it snuck out 43-44 in front heading into the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter: Big game players make two sides inseparable
Carroll rectified things for Madrid right away with a three-pointer, only to see his personal battle with Erceg resume as the CSKA player responded with a triple of his own. Eagerness to stop Carroll from outside allowed him to hit a succession of free throws, and he stepped up again to shoot two huge perimeter shots at the midway point. That had come after CSKA had established a slim lead, and neither side was going to go down without a fight. Weems leveled it up 59-59 from the foul line, as the crowd settled in for the prospect of overtime. Twice fouled on approaches to the basket, ‘Air Weems’ finally took off with a one-handed slam that got CSKA ahead 65-66 on the turn of the final minute. Madrid leveled through Rudy at the charity stripe. Carroll and Teodosic both missed from outside on their team’s final possessions, which sent the game to overtime.
Overtime: Carroll and Llull seal the deal for Madrid
Fernandez was the man to open the scoring in overtime with a three-pointer. CSKA found itself chasing the game once again, but made yet another comeback, until Carroll stuck in his fifth triple of the night. Madrid held a single-point lead going into the final 30 seconds, then Llull kept his cool from the free throw line to make things more comfortable. The home team put the finishing touches on the victory with a late steal and a buzzer-beating three from Carroll.
Thursday, January 31, 2013