CSKA Moscow, Russia vs. «Lietuvos Rytas» Vilnius, Lithuania
CSKA: to the final through the struggle
In the semifinal of VTB United League Russian CSKA won in a hard game with the host of the Final Four, Lietuvos Rytas – 79:72 and proceeded to the Final, where the club will play with UNICS on May, 3.
Following the tradition, the second semifinal was opened with bright ceremony of Final Four. Showy fire show, wild red-eyed Iron Wolf… Well, Lithuanians showed that they are quite resolute… And first half proved that when, in opposite to predictions, CSKA got the lead only by the end of the first quarter. Later Army club lead raised to 9 points, but due to home stands which were nearly full, Lietuvos Rytas could destroy really fast.
Well, CSKA couldn’t get big lead, although Jonas Kazlauskas’ players were ahead.
Last minutes of the semifinal were sounded by deafening roar-whistle-tread of Lithuanian torcida. Alexandr Dzicic, the head coach of Lietuvos Rytas, became the theatre of mimicry and gesture paid more attention to referees than to his players. And his opponent Jonas Kazlasuskas meanwhile did the thing that NBA clubs coaches do in such cases: gave the fate of the match to his first star. And Kirilenko, just like Kobe Bryant or Paul Pierce won this ending. First, he scored from three point zone (Teodosic scored after him 69:65) and then scored with foul through Roberts…
Lietuvos Rytas’ players fought like wolves represented by their talisman. But in result Dzicic and his team couldn’t resist Kirilenko. In the end again, like two years ago in Kaunas CSKA and UNICS will fight for the title. The Final score – 79:72, CSKA won. In winners squad Andrey Kirilenko scored 19 poits, Milos Teodosic – 13, Nenad Krstic and Aleksey Shved– 12 (Shved ended this game with beautiful dunk). The most effective in home team squad were Alexandar Rasic (16), Predrag Smaradziski (15) and Tyrese Rice (12).
Tomorrow, Russian CSKA and UNICS will play in Final (game starts at 21:00 local time), and Lithuanian Lietuvos Rytas and Russian Lokomotiv-Kuban will try each other’s strength in a match for the 3rd place (18:00).
- I expected the game to be difficult, - said the head coach of CSKA Jonas Kazlauskas. - We played great in our last visit here but I predicted it to be much tougher next time. Lietuvos Rytas played great here thanks to tremendous support from local fans. It was difficult for us to play against zone defense. We lacked three factors – cold mind, three-point shots made and power under the baskets. And, obviously, we missed Victor Khryapa. In our previous game here he helped to open up this zone defense with his threes. And we should not even say something about his defense. Plus we have to ‘find’ Ramunas Siskauskas again, he does not look like himself after injury yet.
- Today we played very well, - said the head coach of Lietuvos Rytas Alexander Dziсic. – I am dissatisfied with the game of Jonas Valanciunas, who scored only 2 points in 14 minutes. He can play much better, and I hope that in the final of the Lithuanian League our center-will be able to show himself as Jonas is a very important player in the team. As for our opponent, CSKA – is CSKA. Excellent team with a great roster. Before the match, I promised that we will give battle to the Russian Grande and I think our fans can be proud of Lietuvos Rytas!
CSKA – Lietuvos RytasCSKA – Lietuvos Rytas