Credit: TASS – Scanpix
Credit TASS – Scanpix

Anadolu Efes Istanbul and CSKA Moscow games are already a part of the classics of the modern era in the Euroleague, and last night’s game did not disappoint.

Player of the Game
Tornike  Shengelia
Tornike Shengelia
Points 23
Accuracy 7-8
Rebounds 4
Assists 3

The late-game drama was business as usual as CSKA almost blew a 16 point lead for the game. Despite the scare, CSKA responded to the quest to play with their brain and body in those minutes per Dimitris Itoudis.

After last weeks’ loss against Milano in Italy, an away win against the defending champion while dealing with injuries of Nikola Milutinov, Andrei Lopatin, and Marius Grigonis is not bad at all.

“We could have brought this game to an end smoothly. If I may say because of the third quarter, we came even more strong, we hit big shots. Get the lead on the double margin, being there all the time.

Micic was shooting the ball amazing today. Seven out of 11, and they were made the last effort, put a little pressure to force us some wrong decisions. Missing some free throws. But I think that we kept our composure.

We were to the point exactly when Efes tried to come back, and we deserve our win. Congratulations to the guys just prove to ourselves that we respect. What we’re doing out there. Happy with that win because we show character, and we can win as a team,” Itoudis stated after the game.

CSKA’s offensive flaw looked smooth in almost any part of the game where they got contributions from all the players who had played minutes, such as Tornike Shengelia contributed with 23, Will Clyburn, and Johannes Voigtmann scored 18.

Finding 17/32 for 2 FG (52%) and 12/27 from the 3-point line (44%), good spacing, and lively ball movements were the key to the win.

Free throws this season

Points made: 24,0
Accuracy: 84,2%
Place in standings: 1
Record max: 30
Record min: 18
Most made FTs: Tornike Shengelia

Interestingly, it was scoring ace Alexey Shved who was struggling to some extent, shooting only 2/8 from the field. In many situations, Shved reflected his struggle for adaptation with the shift from Khimki to CSKA, as he hesitates despite the open looks.

Does Itoudis want Shved to be much more active in the offense as he used to be?

“He is going to be more aggressive because he has the talent, and he knows the game. We’re going to give him the ball to create, it’s a process for us as well to him.

Even though he’s a veteran, he knows the game, and he’s familiar with the environment, he’s transforming. So we try to generate a lot of things over there.

And as soon as he’s so focused and dedicated to what he’s doing on the court and he’s not using or trying to use shortcuts here and there, then the team respects him, the game respects him back.

Yes, he can be more aggressive, and I called him a couple of times when he didn’t shoot, but you know, the body feels. I’m here to help him. He looks like he can take that shot, but if he didn’t have the legs at that moment, maybe not in a good position, then he’s going to take the next one.

So he took the next one. I mentioned it because we know weaknesses in the past and everybody have such. But as soon as we’re strong out there and we are giving our 100%, you know that your teammate is ready to cover for you,” Itoudis gave a detailed answer.

But the offensive brilliance aside, CSKA showed its alertness for defensive matters as special roles were discernible.

While Nikita Kurbanov could not fulfill his assignment on Micic scoring 32 points, Iffe Lundberg kept stopping Shane Larkin in defense and limited him to 6 points until the very end part of the third quarter.

Despite his zero points scored in the first part of the game, Lundberg started to contribute on the offensive end with the second half too.

At the end of the day, Lundberg scored 17 points and made 5 assists, some clutch plays, wise decisions, and crucial three-pointers. Itoudis thinks that trusting the process brought Lundberg to different heights.

“He is very dedicated to what he is doing on a daily basis. The way he prepares himself mentally and physically and the targets that he has in his life are aligned with the targets of the club.

We are happy that he is with us, and we’re proud that we have him in our team. It’s obvious that we believe and trust him and the process. Trust the process,” Itoudis said.

CSKA’s head coach also believes that Lundberg has a lot of potential on the defensive end.

“I was saying to him: “You have legs! You have legs! You have legs to defend because you’re defending one of the best, fastest players in the league. Today Larkin shot 0/7 from three-point range.

In general, his defensive effort is there, and he puts a lot of effort to become better at that point. Not only him, but Alexey (Shved) also spent a lot of effort when they attack him down low with Anderson.

All these players are helping the team, and I like the fact that my team knows those that weaknesses so we can cover a little bit more with doubles,” Itoudis concluded.

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Stambulo Anadolu Efes
Maskvos CSKA
Field goals
Free throws

Best players

Vasilije  Micic
32 PTS
11/18 FG
3/3 FT
Tornike  Shengelia
23 PTS
7/8 FG
7/8 FT
James  Anderson
Johannes  Voigtmann
Shane  Larkin
7 As
2 TO
32 MIN
Johannes  Voigtmann
7 As
4 TO
30 MIN
Vasilije  Micic
23 EFF
57% 2P%
64% 3P%
Tornike  Shengelia
29 EFF
100% 2P%
67% 3P%