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EuroLeague Diaries: Will Clyburn excels in crunch time for CSKA Moscow; Real Madrid uses depth, team-effort against Baskonia

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

EuroLeague round 12 started on a high note as CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid prevailed in the latest outings, while ALBA Berlin claimed its first home victory ever over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Will Clyburn late heroics lead CSKA Moscow

Will Clyburn has been amazing for injury-riddled CSKA Moscow this season, leading the team through the last two tough months. He was the reason CSKA prevailed over Bayern Munich on Thursday.

Clyburn hit a three-pointer in transition for a 70-69 CSKA lead in the next-to-last minute. Thomas hit free throws and Hunter added a tip-in to restore a 70-73 Bayern edge with 1:05 remaining.

The CSKA’s forward tied the game with another triple, but Hilliard gave the visitors a 73-74 lead with 37.8 seconds remaining.

Clyburn scored in penetration and followed Lucic’s miss from downtown with a dunk to seal the outcome. The veteran forward finished the game scoring 17 points, with 10 of them coming in the last two minutes of the game.

He reached a new milestone in his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague career by reaching the 2,000-point mark in his team’s Round 12 showdown. Clyburn became the third player on CSKA’s current roster with at least 2,000 points.

“Of course, we showed a lot of character out there. We kept fighting. Even when we went down, we kept fighting, we kept believing, and I am glad we got the win,” Clyburn said.

Real Madrid bases win vs Baskonia on team effort

Real Madrid used its depth to add to its winning tally in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague on Thursday. The Whites had six player on a double-digit PIR in the 60-88 blowout victory over Baskonia.

Only three playes played more than 23 minutes in the game, as Madrid improved to 10-2,being at the top of the EuroLeague standings for the moment.

Real had nine players with at least 7 points, led by Fabien Causeur, who scored 13. Thomas Heurtel and Walter Tavares were the other players to score in double digits with 12 points apiece.

“I think we played a very solid game. We won all four quarters, which means we were very solid. I believe there were details in which we made mistakes, silly turnovers, some offensive rebounds that they grabbed, but in general terms, we had control of the game through our defense,” Pablo Lasso said after the game.

“I am very happy for the victory. We know it is a tough court to play in but like I said, I think that if someone told me before the season that at this time we would be leading the Spanish League, won the Spanish SuperCup and leading the EuroLeague, I would have signed those results.” 

Shane Larkin is back with a dominant performance

When Anadolu Efes needed him most, Shane Larkin showed why he was in the MVP conversation the last two seasons. The small guard exploded for a season-best 25 points against Efes’ rivals, Fenerbahce, Thursday night.

Anadolu Efes Istanbul entered the fourth quarter trailing Fenerbahce by 11. Larkin was at the center of it all with 11 points and 3 assists in the fourth quarter.

He made his only two-pointer – a go-ahead layup in the final minute, shot 3 for 4 from downtown and also contributed 2 steals in the fourth in compiling a PIR of 14. He ended up dishing also seven assists.

“It was a gutsy performance by our team. We were down by 12 points, but we stayed together and we kept fighting, we believed in each other,” Larkin said.

“We kept making the right plays and eventually we were able to pull out the game. I’ve always felt good in [clutch] situations.”

History was made in Berlin

ALBA Berlin acheived a historic win over Maccabi Tel Aviv. ALBA Berlin gained its first home victory this century over Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv with a 91-86 triumph on Thursday night.

This was a special night for ALBA’s Tamir Blatt as he went up against the Maccabi team formerly coached by his father David.

Blatt made a solid contribution to the victory, finishing with six points and five assists in 16 minutes on the floor. In his first game against his former team, Yovel Zoosman also struck two key three-pointers in the final few minutes.

“For me personally the game today had a special meaning, but the only thing that counts is the victory. We played with a lot of energy today and fought hard throughout the whole game,” Zoosman said.

“I played for Maccabi for six years, I am familiar with the system and I am friends with many of my former teammates. I am also grateful to Coach Sfairopoulos. But now I’m in a different place, with a different team, and completely committed to ALBA.”

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