By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
This marks Real’s just fourth defeat of the season (15-4) that ended their all-time leading streak since the launch of the new EuroLeague format in 2016. On the other hand, CSKA improved to a 13-6 record in the race for the playoffs. The Spanish side faces Khimki on Thursday, while CSKA takes on Baskonia next.
“I’m very happy with my team and my players. It’s a marathon, but we won against a great team. I already give all the credit to Real Madrid for what they’re doing all these years, not only this year, in general, the consistency they show as an organization and as a club. But I think that we also show consistency, a lot of consistency, and we need to be proud”, commented Dimitris Itoudis after the game.
James and Hilliard emerge to keep CSKA on track
Mike James finished the game with a 19-point performance that set the mood for CSKA in the fourth period, proving out to be critical towards the victory. Alongside James, Hilliard stepped up in crunchtime and followed with 14 points.
The visiting side started the game strong with Trey Thompkins (14 points) dominating on both ends of the court. CSKA’s reaction in the second period was controlled by Real, who had a 33-26 lead while heading to the lockers.
The Army Team enjoyed a partial 17-10 run in the third period to even the score at 43 points (30′), while James put the team ahead for the first time (51-50) at 35′. The two sides went head to head for the remainder of the game, while Hilliard came in clutch with a three-pointer and 37 seconds left to place CSKA on a vantage point.
Interestingly, CSKA not only stopped Real’s streak but also forced them to their worse offensive performance of the season (an average of 85.44 ppg before Round 19).
Despite the defeat, the Spanish side had something to be happy about. Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid achieved a new benchmark in his legendary career on Tuesday by becoming just the fifth player to reach 3,000 points in competition history.
“It was incredible.”
CSKA newcomer Howard Sant-Roos made his EuroLeague debut in the game and couldn’t hide his excitement: “It was incredible, above all, for starting like this against a team like Real Madrid. To be the first Cuban to play in the EuroLeague, I had the opportunity, and I’m proud. I’ve been here three or four days, looking for a house, adjusting to the cold – it’s too cold here in Russia! – but my teammates helped me a lot; everyone received me well. I am here to help the team in all I can. When they put me out there, that’s what I was about. Without a doubt, on defense is where I get my advantage, and that’s where my basketball begins.”