In their first of two games against NBA clubs in the US, CSKA Moscow traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota and squared off against the Timberwolves in the Target Center on Monday. CSKA playmaker Milos Teodosic dropped a pair of singles with 7.5 seconds to play to send the contest into an extra frame and the Russian squad outscored their NBA hosts in the OT period to pick up their third win over an NBA team since they started playing pre-season contests against them. On Wednesday they’ll strap on the court shoes in San Antonio, Texas against the Spurs.
In a classy move, the Timberwolves held a moment of silence prior to the contest in honor of recently passed CSKA great Sergey Belov.
CSKA built a lead mid-way through the first quarter as Teodosic knocked down a three-ball and followed it up with a jumper to put the Russian club up 17:12. They weren’t done there though as the guests put up a 12-point scoring run on the T’Wolves that wasn’t stopped until a three-point play by Ricky Rubio. As time expired on the first 12, CSKA found themselves up 25:17.
The Russian side’s advantage continued to grow in the second frame to as many as 18 before the hosts got things working for them. The T’Wolves closed out the half with a 9:0, but even so, they headed into the dressing rooms for the intermission down 53:50.
The first six points of the second half were tallied by CSKA and they continued to rebuild the lead they had in the second quarter. Mid-way through they were back up by seven and deep in the frame they hit 12 again, 77:65. Minnesota connected on the final four points of the quarter to cut their deficit to eight, 77:69, with 12 minutes to play.
I think we had some good moments of defense. We had 30 assists at the end of the game, so I think that means that the players play together. We have eight players who scored more than 10 points, as you can see it was a good day for us. Now we continue to work and be prepared for the beginning of the season.
–Ettore Messina, head coach CSKA Moscow
The fourth opened with a 6:1 run by the hosts and shortly after, they grabbed the lead for the first time since the first frame, 82:80. The teams traded baskets and the lead for a few minutes, then Minnesota got a basket, a defensive stop, and another jumper, to get up 92:88 with just over a minute to play. Teodosic knocked down a triple to pull CSKA to within a point. A.J. Price was fouled by CSKA, but could only split the pair giving Minnesota a two-point lead. Victor Khryapa knotted the score at 92 with a pair from the stripe with just under a minute to play. Teodosic was sent to the line with 7.5 seconds to play by Minnesota and connected on both singles to knot the score at 96. Minnesota had plenty of time to put together a play and they executed it perfectly, right up to the missed basket at the end that ensured an extra frame of play.
With the first 48 minutes being all about lead changes, the clubs didn’t have much chance of the extra frame being any different. CSKA hit the 100 mark first and after a couple of ties the visitors went up 105:103. The T’Wolves got an offensive rebound for a basket to draw even again with just under a minute to play. CSKA got a layup from Price to go up two with 36.4 seconds on the clock. The last points made in the contest came from Williams splitting a pair of charity tosses on the hosts side, and Teodosic doing the same to give the visitors a two-point margin. Alexey Shved got the opportunity to tie the game at the OT buzzer, but came up empty giving the Russian contingent the win.
I missed a lot of good shots. Terrible. I hope next game I start making shots… I have a lot of friends [in CSKA], and I am happy to see them. It’s one of the best teams in Europe.
–Alexey Shved, Timberwolves Guard
Teodosic led all scorers with 26 points and 9 assists, Nenad Krstic and Vitaly Fridzon scored 13 points each, Sasha Kaun added 12, Khryapa and Jeremy Pargo had 11 each, and Kyle Hines and Vladimir Micov both dropped in 10.
Williams led the Timberwolves with 21 points, Kevin Martin added 16, Price hit 14 and Rubio tallied 10.