By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
A win is a win, no matter how difficult is achieved. Although CSKA Moscow faced enormous difficulties against a tough to break Crvena Zvezda, it managed to get the victory 77 – 76 and make it 2-0 in the playoff series. The game was incredibly close during its majority and transformed into nothing less than a thriller in the last minutes.
It was then, when Milos Teodosic and Kyle Hines emerged as heroes, more or less, for their team. The first made a huge downtown basket for the 77 – 75, with 73 seconds to go and the American center played the most valuable defense of the game on Stefan Jovic in the very last seconds, forcing the travelling violation from his opponent with the score 77 76, preventing him from attempting to make a shot and keeping his team safe and sound. Hines was also the top player for CSKA, finishing the game with 19 points and four rebounds.
Crvena Zvezda played some great, well-calculated basketball in the first half that made short work of the hosts’ lackluster defense. The players of coach Radonjic moved the ball well, found many open looks to the basket, making the most out of them, and punished the turnovers and general mistakes of their opponents, to finish the second period ahead of the score 44 – 48.
When the two teams returned from the locker rooms, coach Itoudis decided to bench De Colo and Teodosic and used Jackson and Higgins as his chosen backcourt duo. Along with Kurbanov, Vorontsevich and Hines, CSKA had a tight and well adaptable squad on court that played significantly better defense on the perimeter and applied bigger amounts of pressure to the opposing players. When Kurbanov and Vorontsevich also translated their stops into points on the other side of the court, things started to look brighter for the hosts, who had taken a lead, 63 – 60 at the end of the third quarter.
Even though CSKA proceeded to increase the difference by making it 69 – 62, in the mid of the fourth quarter, the guests reacted with a very quick 1-8 partial score to tie the game and make everything up for grabs. The Russian team once again got ahead, yet five unanswered points by Red Star made it 74 – 75 with a big three-pointer by Jovic, and less than two minutes to go. But that was the moment when Teodosic, on offense, and Hines, on defense, did what they had to do in order to prevent a huge upset from happening.