Moscow CSKA Holds Off Shorthanded Cavs
David Liam Kyle
After playing the entire preseason without the services of Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao, the Wine and Gold were without three more vets – Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker and Jawad Williams – on Saturday night.
The remaining Cavaliers led after one quarter and played the international powerhouse from Moscow to a halftime draw. But Ramunas Siskauskas keyed a third quarter run for CSKA, which never trailed after intermission – hanging on for the 90-87 win as Daniel Gibson’s game-tying attempt fell short at the buzzer.
Despite his miss at the end of regulation, Gibson continued his strong preseason, leading the Cavaliers with 21 points – going 7-for-17 from the floor, including 4-of-7 from long distance. Boobie added four boards, three assists and a pair of steals in the loss.
But Gibson’s strong showing was overshadowed by Siskauskas, who drained three three-pointers in the third period. Moscow’s starting forward notched nine points in the quarter and finished with 22 points to lead everyone.
“As we’ve seen over the years, that European (style of) basketball is pretty good,” said Gibson. “I know coming into the game we were prepared that those guys were going to play hard. And they just came out on top.”
The shorthanded Cavaliers lost Jamison to a left knee sprain and Parker to a pair of sprained fingers – both injuries suffered on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Jawad Williams missed Saturday’s contest to be with his wife, Angel, who gave birth to the couple’s first child – daughter Nailah Denise Williams – on Friday evening.
Starting center Ryan Hollins pitched in with 17 points – going 5-for-8 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the stripe. The former Bruin added five boards, an assist and a blocked shot.
The Cavaliers had a dozen-point advantage over CSKA in the paint, but the Russian squad dished out eight more assists and shot 47 percent from the floor, draining almost twice as many treys as the Wine and Gold.
“This game, I think we took a step back,” lamented Coach Byron Scott. “I don’t think our guys were ready. I don’t think they competed, especially in the first half. I thought in the second half, we did a much better job, but any time you give a team confidence, they are going to keep building on it.”
CSKA Moscow’s American imports – Jamont Gordon and former Cavalier Trajan Langdon – were a combined 13-for-21 from the field. Gordon was a handful in the open floor and was 3-for-4 from three-point range. Gordon grabbed seven boards, dished a game-high six assists and blocked a pair of shots.
Langdon was equally efficient, netting 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Alexy Shved rounded out the Russians in double-figures, going 4-for-6 from beyond the arc for 13 points.
“It was great coming here; driving in from the airport and remembering when I lived here for three years,” said the former Duke standout. “I lived the dream of playing in the NBA for three years. I have really fond memories of being here in Cleveland.”
For the Cavaliers, Ramon Sessions continued his strong preseason showing – notching 14 points in the loss. Sessions is the only Cavalier to score in double-figures in each of the squad’s six exhibition contests.
Off Byron Scott’s bench, Samardo Samuels tallied 10 points in 22 minutes, while Manny Harris continues to make his push for the regular season roster – pitching in with seven points, six rebounds and a pair of assists.
The Cavaliers close out their exhibition schedule this week when they travel to southern Ohio – facing the Sixers on Tuesday night in Cincinnati and wrapping up with the Bucks on Thursday night in Columbus.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.