Caja Laboral’s Euroleague American Tour debut was an impressive one, but the Spanish champ ran out of steam in the fourth quarter and their late comeback was not enough in a 110-105 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Laboral led by double-figures in the second quarter and held narrow leads at halftime and at the end of the third quarter, but a 10-0 Memphis charge in the middle of the fourth quarter to put the hosts up 14 was too much to overcome.The visitors did respond to get within 4 in the final minute and sent Marcelinho Huertas to the line to further close the gap, but he missed and instead Memphis’s Mike Conley iced the win from the line.
Conley led Memphis with 27 points, Sam Young added 21 off the bench and former Euroleaguer and Spanish national team center Marc Gasol scored 12. Mirza Teletovic paced Laboral with 24 points and 9 assists, Fernando San Emeterio netted 15, David Logan and Brad Olseon added 14 each, teenager Dejan Musli scored 10 before fouling out and Huertas tallied 7 points and 11 assists in defeat. Laboral continues on to San Antonio where it will wrap up its participation in Euroleague American Tour 2010 on Saturday night.
Laboral came out just as it wanted to by winning the tip and having Teletovic drain a three-pointer. The teams traded baskets and leads with Olseon for Laboral and O.J Mayo for Memphis playing leading roles. After a Mayo triple made it 13-10, Oleson hit back-to-back threes to put the visitors back on top. Marc Gasol carried the hosts back within 1, however Musli’s first points and a runner from Teletovic put Laboral up 19-25 at the end of the first quarter.
A Huertas jumper started the second quarter and he then assisted to Logan for a triple that gave the Spanish champs their first double-digit lead, 19-30. Young took over the scoring load for Memphis and started to narrow the gap, but Logan remained red hot. Memphis cut the gap down to 4, but a Nemanja Bjelica three put Laboral ahead by 8 again. Laboral could not stop Zach Randolph, who carried Memphis back. An Olseon three kept Laboral ahead, but Conley and Mayo managed to put Memphis on top 51-50 at halftime.
The tide of the game turned at the start of the second half as Rudy Gay and Conley scored all the points in a 12-0 run, during which Stanko Barac picked up his fifth and sixth fouls. Three-pointers from San Emeterio and Teletovic gave Laboral hope, but the Gay/Conley duo continued to generate points. Pau Ribas fired in his first three to narrow the gap to 69-64.
A Musli slam and later a pair of San Emeterio free throws brought the visitors within 70-68. A Huertas layup capped the Laboral comeback and a Teletovic triple at the third-quarter buzzer made it 78-80. A Gasol basket-plus foul was matched by San Emeterio with a triple early in the fourth quarter. Memphis stormed back on top as Gasol converted another three-point play and sent Musli to the bench with 6 fouls. Darrell Arthur lifted the hosts to 88-83, but an Oleson three-pointer brought the visitors back within 3 with eight minutes remaining. Young ignited a game-clinching run with half the points in a 10-0 blitz to make it 101-88 with five-plus minutes to play.
Laboral seemed to run out of steam in the final minutes and Memphis took advantage to go up by 14 with three minutes remaining. Just when it seemed the Memphis had the game one, Laboral made one final push, using full-court pressure to go on a 0-10 tear. Laboral missed a golden opportunity when Huertas missed 2 free throws that could have cut the deficit to 2 with 39.6 seconds remaining and Conley iced the win with a free throw with 28.6 seconds left.
Caja Laboral guard David Logan:
“In the Spanish League, we like to slow it down, and play five-on-five, and things like that. We knew coming in that they would run up and down. In the fourth quarter, it got away from us.”
Caja Laboral guard Brad Oleson:
“We didn’t get enough points in the paint. We were out there shooting a lot of threes, and it’s tough to win when you’re not getting points in the paint.”
Oklahoma City Thunder 97-89 CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow fell to 0-2 on the tour with a 97-89 loss at Oklahoma City. Still shorthanded with Euroleague Defensive Player of the Year Viktor Khryapa and veteran point guard J.R. Holden unable to play, the Russian champs had trouble stopping the NBA’s top scorer, Kevin Durant who recorded all of his 20 points in the first half. Oklahoma City led 58-48 at the break and protected the cushion throughout the second half with the lead peaking at 18. CSKA did put together a late run to get within 6, but it was too little, too late.
Jeff Green and Serge Ibaka added 15 points apiece for the winners. Dmitry Sokolov paced CSKA with 18 points, Ramunas Siskauskas scored 17, Jamont Gordon 14 and Andrey Vorontsevich had 13. CSKA wraps up its participation in the 2010 Euroleague American Tour on Saturday in Cleveland.
The game was close in the opening minutes with surprise starter Nikita Kurbanov knotting the score at 7-7 with a triple after four-and-a-half minutes. Oklahoma City came alive at that point as Durant and Green each scored twice in an 11-0 run to put the hosts in charge. Sokolov gave Moscow options inside and closed the deficit to 4 points. B.J. Mullens answered back to make it 26-20 at the end of the first quarter.
Jamont Gordon made it a 3-point game with a triple at the start of the second quarter. Serge Ibaka showed off in the paint as he helped Oklahoma City rebuild its lead to 37-27. Durant and Green continued to fuel the home team and although CSKA managed to keep pace, it was unable to cut into its deficit as Oklahoma City took a 58-48 lead into the locker rooms for halftime.
Oklahoma City protected its double-digit cushion as Ibaka and Siskauskas traded points early in the third quarter. The lead slowly grew to 70-53 on an Ibaka finger roll as the home team started to coast. Alexey Shved kept Moscow fighting with a three-pointer and assists to Sasha Kaun and Vorontsevich, but Oklahoma City remained ahead 78-62 at the end of the third quarter.
The Oklahoma City lead peaked at 18 early in the fourth quarter before CSKA made a final push. Vorontsevich connected from downtown and Sokolov remained a force inside to keep CSKA alive. Then Gordon scored 5 in a 0-9 push that caused Oklahoma City to take notice at 91-84 with 2:24 remaining. Matjaz Smodis’s basket-plus foul cut the gap to 93-87, but Tweety Carter scored on the home team’s next two possessions to secure the victory.