To climb the mountain

16.05.2019
(photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Our team to face defending champion Real Madrid in the EuroLeague semifinal tomorrow.

Pre-game breakdown


The first full day in Vitoria started from the press conference. Head coach Dimitris Itoudis and captain Kyle Hines joined their colleague on the stage. Besides formal questions about motivation and focus, the journalists also asked some tactical questions, though the answers were quite cautious. In particularly, undersized center Hines was asked about playing against tall Real Madrid frontline. I don’t think I’m going to have a growth spurt overnight and suddenly be as tall as him tomorrow morning, he said. So I’ll go with the same approach that I’ve had my whole career."

Even though Real is tall and the team led the EuroLeague this season in rebounds, CSKA managed to outrebound Los Blancos in both games 28-32 in Madrid and 40-28 in Moscow and combined for 29 offensive boards. That aggressiveness will be critical for CSKA, since offensive rebounds, physical defense and smart use of fouls in each quarter could allow the Russian powerhouse to disrupt Real’s game rhythm.

Twenty players from last season’s semifinal game between CSKA and Madrid are still with their teams. CSKA brings back nine players from last season and Real has almost the same roster, with one significant exception Luka Doncic.

Mikhail Kulagin remains sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left foot in January.

Pre-game quotes


Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA head coach:
First of all we feel proud. We are blessed and honored to represent here great club CSKA, city of Moscow, country of Russia. We know what are our obligations, what are the expectations from the fans. Each and everyone on the team thinks and feels healthy. We play against club with great history, players and coaches, system. Thats another mountain we have to climb upon. We know the difficulties in front of us, and everyone on the team is determined, decisive and ready to go.

Cory Higgins, CSKA guard:
We have a lot of weapons, we’re a team full of talent and different options and offensively we definitely feel comfortable with each other and know what has to be done. It’s down to the defense and how strong and solid we’ll be at that end. We’ll have to put together a good game on both sides of the basketball. Game to game, definitely there’s some improvisation because every game is different. We all have a very high basketball IQ so we can figure out how each game needs to be played. Tomorrow might be a defensive battle or high-scoring, but with all the options we have I’m confident coach will make the adjustments and put the right players on the court to win the game. My relationship with the coach has allowed me to get better every year. I’ve gained his trust more and more and that’s why I’ve had an expanded role.


Relativity connections


CSKA guard Sergio Rodriguez played for Madrid from 2010 to 2016, and in those six seasons made four Final Four appearances, won the 2015 title and was named 2014 EuroLeague MVP. He was a teammate of current Madrid players Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes for the entire time there, played five seasons under Coach Pablo Laso and was a teammate for five seasons with Rudy Fernandez and Jaycee Carroll. Rodriguez also played alongside Facundo Campazzo, Gustavo Ayon, Trey Thompkins and Jeffrey Taylor during his years in Madrid.

CSKA big man Othello Hunter played for Real Madrid in 2016-17, helped the team compile the best regular season record and reach the Final Four.

Madrid sharpshooter Klemen Prepelic played under current CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis at Banvit Bandirma during the 2013-14 season.

CSKA forward Semen Antonov and Madrids Trey Thompkins were teammates at Nizhny Novgorod when the club made its EuroLeague debut in 2014-15.

Nikita Kurbanov and Anthony Randolph of Real Madrid were teammates at Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar during the 2014-15 season.

Important numbers


Head coach Dimitris Itoudis has used 12 different players in CSKA’s starting lineups this season; no player has started in every EuroLeague game.

Higgins has posted a performance index rating in double figures in 13 of his last 14 appearances.

Higgins has made at least 1 three-pointer in 12 straight EuroLeague games.

Cory Higgins ranks second in the league in scoring this season with 14.8 points per game. Nando De Colo ranks fourth with 14.5 points per game, and Will Clyburn ranks ninth averaging 13.2 points per game.

Nando De Colo has made 14 free throws in succession in EuroLeague games.

De Colo ranks third in free-throw accuracy this season with 94.64%.

De Colo is in sixth place on the all-time Final Four list with 43 free throws made. He needs 2 more to catch his former teammate Milos Teodosic (45) for fifth place. De Colo is 43 of 44 from free throw line for his career in Final Four games.

De Colo is the EuroLeague career leader in free-throw accuracy at 93.81%.

In 2016, De Colo became the first player to score 30 points in a semifinal game this century. It was the fifth most in a Final Four semifinal game. Only former CSKA star Trajan Langdon scored more in any EuroLeague Final Four game this century (32 vs Partizan, third place game in 2010).

Nando De Colo has scored a total of 141 points in the Final Four. He needs 6 more to reach the top 10 all-time. Matjaz Smodis and Ramunas Siskauskas are tied for 10th place with 147 points.

Cory Higgins has scored in double figures in 12 straight EuroLeague appearances.

Clyburn is sixth in the EuroLeague in average performance index rating with 17.5 per game this season and is fourth in rebounding with 6.9 per game.

Sergio Rodriguez is ninth in the league in assists this season with 4.7 per game.

Sergio Rodriguez is in eighth place on all-time Final Four charts with 44 assists. With 3 more assists, he will move into sole possession of third place in the Final Four all-time.

Rodriguez ranks fifth all-time with 1,089 assists; Former CSKA great Milos Teodosic is fourth with 1,126.

Rodriguez has 16 three-pointers made in Final Four history and needs 3 more to enter the top 10 all-time.

Rodriguez is tied with retired Panathinaikos star Dimitris Diamantidis for ninth place all-time with 372 three-point shots made. CSKA great J.R. Holden is eighth with 377.

Rodriguez needs 5 steals to reach 200 for his EuroLeague career.

Kyle Hines is in fourth place on the all-time Final Four rebounding list with 67. He needs 3 rebounds to catch David Andersen for third place.

Hines is in sixth place on the all-time Final Four list with 44 two-point shots made. He needs 1 more to catch Zoran Savic (45) for fifth place and 2 shots to catch Dejan Bodiroga (46) for fourth.

Hines has 10 steals in Final Four history and needs 2 more to enter the top 10.

Hines ranks fourth all-time with 206 blocked shots. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv big man Alex Tyus is third with 209.

Hines is in second place in EuroLeague history with 509 offensive rebounds. Felipe Reyes is the all-time leader with 695.

Hines is in ninth place in competition history with 1,143 total rebounds. David Andersen is eighth with 1,145.

Nikita Kurbanov has made 198 career EuroLeague appearances.

Nikita Kurbanov is second in the league in three-point accuracy this season at 51.1%. Higgins is fifth at 48.96%.

Andrey Vorontsevich has made 13 straight free throws in EuroLeague games dating back to March 2017.

Past matchups


Wins-losses: 30-1-16

1962-63 Euroleague. Final. Real CSKA: 86-69 (-17)
1962-63 Euroleague. Final. CSKA Real: 91-74 (+17)
1962-63 Euroleague. Final. CSKA Real: 99-80 (+19)
1964-65 Euroleague. Final. CSKA Real: 88-81 (+7)
1964-65 Euroleague. Final. Real CSKA: 76-62 (-14)
1968-69 Euroleague. Group stage. Real CSKA: 67-69 (+2)
1968-69 Euroleague. Group stage. CSKA Real: 78-89 (-11)
1968-69 Euroleague. Final. CSKA Real: 103-99 2 (+4)
1970-71 Euroleague. Group stage. CSKA Real: 73-66 (+7)
1970-71 Euroleague. Group stage. Real CSKA: 58-60 (+2)
1976-77 Euroleague. 2nd group stage. Real CSKA: 92-111 (+19)
1976-77 Euroleague. 2nd group stage. CSKA Real: 113-111 (+2)
1980-81 Euroleague. 2nd group stage. Real CSKA: 104-80 (-24)
1980-81 Euroleague. 2nd group stage. CSKA Real: 85-80 (+5)
1982-83 Euroleague. Group stage. CSKA Real: 90-93 (-3)
1982-83 Euroleague. Group stage. Real CSKA: 91-91 (0)
1984-85 Euroleague. Group stage. CSKA Real: 85-97 (-12)
1984-85 Euroleague. Group stage. Real CSKA: 84-72 (-12)
1994-95 Euroleague. Group stage. Real CSKA: 97-81 (-16)
1994-95 Euroleague. Group stage. CSKA Real: 84-82 (+2)
1995-96 Euroleague. 3rd place game. CSKA Real: 74-73 (+1)
1997-98 Euroleague. 1st group stage. CSKA Real: 90-77 (+13)
1997-98 Euroleague. 1st group stage. Real CSKA: 101-93 (-8)
2001-02 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 77-92 (-15)
2001-02 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 82-86 (+4)
2002-03 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 90-75 (+15)
2002-03 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 80-93 (+13)
2004-05 Euroleague. Top 16: Real CSKA: 94-95 (+1)
2004-05 Euroleague. Top 16: CSKA Real: 89-73 (+16)
2005-06 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 64-52 (+12)
2005-06 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 71-80 (+9)
2008-09 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 54-58 (+4)
2008-09 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 78-82 (-4)
2012-13 Euroleague. Top 16. Real CSKA: 86-78 (-8)
2012-13 Euroleague. Top 16. CSKA Real: 81-72 (+9)
2013-14 Euroleague. Top 16. CSKA Real: 85-71 (+14)
2013-14 Euroleague. Top 16. Real CSKA: 93-79 (-14)
2015-16 Euroleague. Top 16. CSKA Real: 95-81 (+14)
2015-16 Euroleague. Top 16. Real CSKA: 87-96 (+9)
2016-17 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 91-90 (+1)
2016-17 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 95-85 (-10)
2016-17 Euroleague. 3rd place game. Real CSKA: 70-94 (+24)
2017-18 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 82-69 (-13)
2017-18 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 93-87 (+6)
2017-18 Euroleague. Semifinal. CSKA Real: 83-92 (-9)
2018-19 Euroleague. Regular season. Real CSKA: 88-93 (+5)
2018-19 Euroleague. Regular season. CSKA Real: 82-78 (+4)

Short dossier


Real Madrid, Spain
Founded: 1931
Colors: white, blue
Home court: WiZink Center (15,000)
President: Florentino Perez
Head coach: Pablo Laso
Website: www.realmadrid.es
Trophy case:
10-time Euroleague champion (1964, 65, 67, 68, 74, 78, 80, 95, 2015, 18);
ULEB Cup winner (2007);
Korac Cup winner (1988);
4-time Saporta Cup winner (1984, 89, 92, 97);
34-time Spanish champion (1957, 58, 60-66, 68-77, 79, 80, 82, 84-86, 93, 94, 2000, 05, 07, 13, 15, 16, 18);
27-time Copa del Rey winner (1951, 52, 54, 56, 57, 60, 61, 62, 65, 66, 67, 70-75, 77, 85, 86, 89, 93, 2012, 14-17);
5-time Spanish SuperCup winner (1985, 2012, 13, 14, 18);
4-time Intercontinental Cup winner (1976, 77, 78, 2015)

Photos
(photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
(photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Dimitris Itoudis and Kyle Hines (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
(photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Dimitris Itoudis and Kyle Hines (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Dimitris Itoudis and Kyle Hines (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Andrey Vatutin and Kyle Hines (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Ivan Ukhov (photo: T. Makeeva, cskabasket.com)
Will Clyburn (photo: T. Makeeva, cskabasket.com)
Othello Hunter (photo: T. Makeeva, cskabasket.com)
Nando De Colo (photo: T. Makeeva, cskabasket.com)
Sergio Rodriguez (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Andrey Vorontsevich (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Cory Higgins (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Sergio Rodriguez (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Semen Antonov (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
CSKA (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Joel Bolomboy (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Watch The Team!

Semifinal CSKA - Real Madrid. Preview

Author: CSKAbasket.TV

Duration: 04:27