CSKA Moscow stopped Tuesday the winning streak of Real Madrid (60-55) in a match marked by defenses in which Pablo Laso’s team missed Anthony Randolph and, above all, Rudy Fernández and could not add his fourteenth consecutive victory in the top continental competition. It seemed a good time to break the drought of twelve years without winning the CSKA and, in fact, Madrid dominated the game with little effort from the initial jump to the break.
But he incomprehensibly melted like a sugar in a bad second half in which the Russians defended as if they were living in it and no Real Madrid player had clairvoyance in attack. The white team started the Muscovite tour – on Thursday they will face Khimki – without their top scorer, Anthony Randolph, and their fittest player, Rudy Fernandez, although it wasn’t all bad news, as Sergio Llull returned.
Madrid has not been able to count on Randolph or Rudy Fernández, although he has recovered Sergio Llull
Meanwhile, the European champion jumped to the court without Will Clyburn and Daniel Hackett, sensitive casualties that also added Janis Strelnieks.
Pablo Laso’s team came out with the knife between their teeth. Two baskets of Thompkins, one from the triple, warned the Russians from the initial jump that Madrid was determined to break its streak in the Russian capital (0-5).
The local coach, Dimitris Itoudis, did not like the white show. He asked for a timeout when the visitors were already distancing themselves on the scoreboard (4-10).
As expected, Walter Tavares put the fear in the body to the rivals in the painting, but it was the shot of three -Facundo Campazzo scored two- that guaranteed Real Madrid control of the game from the beginning.
Despite the improvement of the premises in defense and the changes introduced by Laso -Llull played two and a half minutes-, Madrid clearly dominated at the end of the first quarter (14-21).
As an anecdote, in the Russian Army team debuted the Cuban Howard Sant-Ross, signed just three days ago from AEK and was received with a great ovation.
A triple by Felipe Reyes gave the maximum advantage to the white team (14-26) at 12 minutes of play, which caused a new timeout of the home team. At that time, the imposing white offensive silenced the CSKA stadium.
As in the match played in Madrid (97-81), the defense of aid devised by Laso despaired the best local player, Mike James -26 points in average in the last five games-, but who just scored two baskets of ten attempts in The first twenty minutes. The defenses could with the attacks and that suited the leader of the Euroleague. All in all, Laso called his order to order even twice after a few minutes without scoring.
The CSKA reacted after the break, with six points from Mike James: for the first time, he got ahead
The white team got stuck with Nico Laprovittola in command -Jaycee Carroll missed the two triples he tried and the team scored four points in the last five minutes – but still Madrid sent for the break (26-33).
The third quarter started with failures by both teams, although the drought of Real Madrid worried Laso. The team could not find a way to score.
And to top it off Mike James. The former Baskonia player scored six consecutive points – a triple and a two plus one – and for the first time put CSKA ahead (34-33).
Laso had to take action. His players spent seven minutes without scoring a single point. Thompkins put an end to the traffic jam (38-38), but then it became clear that Madrid would only win if it regained offensive effectiveness. Two triples per team – one from Campazzo and one from Hilliard – closed the third quarter and showed that the swords were high (43-43).
The last act was a give and take. While Tavares was resting on the bench, the CSKA became dominator of the offensive rebound with Hines as a great beneficiary and in the absence of five minutes to the end he dominated the scoreboard, although by the minimum (51-50).
Llull could not get into the game. Laprovittola did score, but Madrid remained below, while Campazzo regains his breath in the bank.
Jeffery Taylor was chasing Mike James across the field, but he chose to penetrate and score two. In addition, a couple of offenses in attack – one of them very doubtful to Gabriel Deck – ended up frustrating Madrid. Campazzo returned in the absence of just over two minutes. Madrid had to score to have options, since it was three points below (55-53).
Deck gave his hope with a basket to the counterattack after a huge Tavares stopper, but a triple of Hilliard and two disastrous plays in attack buried the hopes of Madrid (60-55).
The Real Madrid Muscovite curse lasts another year and there are already twelve.
CSKA, 60 – Real Madrid, 55
CSKA Moscow (14 + 12 + 17 + 17): Mike James (19), Hilliard (14), Hines (10), Kurbánov (4) and Voigtmann (3); Ukhov (-), Antónov (-), Bolomboy (2), Vorontsevich (-), Baker (-), Koufos (4) and Sant-Ross (4). 55
Real Madrid (21 + 12 + 10 + 12): Campazzo (10), Thompkins (14), Deck (4), Causeur (3) and Tavares (2); Taylor (3), Llull (-), Mickey (5), Laprovittola (8), Reyes (3) and Carroll (2).
Referees Christos Christodoulou (GRE), Carmelo Paternico (ITA) and Joseph Bissang (FRA).