Rudy Fernandez and Jaycee Carroll combined for 51 of Real Madrid’s 86 points and everyone got what they wanted except CSKA Moscow, who lost to the Spaniards in Spain in overtime, 86-78, on a court that was painted blue and red.
Those are Moscow’s colors, and for much of the third quarter, Sasha Kaun and his tentacles put forth a convincing argument that it was, in fact, Moscow’s court for the time being.
But Milos Teodosic missed a lengthy three—one that he’s hit a half-dozen times before—that would have won it in the fourth and budding cult commander Zoran Erceg clanked what felt like his first missed shot since September (he hasn’t played since October), this one a three in the game’s 45th minute that could have blessed us with a second overtime.
The Carroll triple as time expired seemed as perfectly appropriate as it was inappropriate: on the one hand, nothing characterized the day quite like Carroll holding his follow through one last time for his 29th, 30th and 31st points; on the other, the eight-point margin was the largest of the day for either team, undoubtedly a misleading numerical account of what happened in Palacio de Deportes Comunidad de Madrid on that evening.
Luckily for these two, margins and point differential will likely have little impact on their situations down the line. They will both make the playoffs, both win those playoff series and hopefully, if not assuredly, match up in London for what we can only pray will be as entertaining an encounter as the first go-round.
So no, CSKA Moscow’s loss did nothing to loosen their grip on the Number Two spot in these rankings. It only confirmed that the pair on top is the right one.
To the rankings, we go.