CSKA Keeps Winning

CSKA Moscow defeated Khimki Moscow Region at home, 86-83, in Game 1 of the playoff semifinals. Crowned Euroleague champs over the weekend, CSKA trailed much of the contest before surging ahead in the 4th quarter to secure the win.

The series opened in Moscow, getting off to a fiercely competitive start. CSKA emphasized interior offense, creating opportunities under the basket, while Khimki relied on its 3-point shooting (Alexey Shved was 3-4 early from downtown).

Khimki tried to pull away in the 2nd quarter. Zoran Dragic's 11 points and a 9-1 advantage on the offensive glass allowed the visitors to lead the entire period. But the Red-Blues never trailed by more than five points, shooting 73% from inside the arc thanks to an effective pick-and-roll. At halftime, Moscow Region enjoyed a 40-37 advantage.

CSKA played in an exhausting Euroleague final on Sunday, surviving Fenerbahce in overtime to capture the continental title. After halftime, Khimki used its fresh legs to go up eight.

But once again, CSKA kept within striking distance, holding the visitors to 22 points in the 3rd quarter and creeping back within three, 62-59, at the end of the period. Milos Teodosic had a big part to play in CSKA's late surge, scoring the final five points of the quarter for CSKA.

The Army Men were rewarded for their patience in the 4th quarter. Disciplined defense limited Khimki to four points in the first five minutes of the period. CSKA and Teodosic took advantage, picking up a six-point lead midway through the quarter.

Turning Point
Trailing by six with a minute to play, Khimki forced a dramatic finish. With six seconds remaining, Shved cut the lead to one, 84-83, on a pair of free throws. The visitors intended to foul CSKA on the following possession, but the Army Men got the ball to Vitaly Fridzon under the basket, who converted with 0.2 seconds remaining, ending Khimki's hopes of a win in Game 1.

Star Player
Milos Teodosic. Euroleague Final Four hero Nando De Colo only scored six points, with Teodosic seizing control of the contest. He both scored and distributed, finishing with 27 points and seven assists, helping the Army Men survive Khimki's early onslaught and take control of the game in the final quarter.

Stat of the Game
4 - number of 3-pointers made by Khimki in the second half. The Yellow-Blues converted nine in the first half. Moscow Region couldn't maintain the pace on offense, getting outscored by six in the final quarter.