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CSKA Moscow to meet Panathinaikos Athens May 4, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.

Defending champion CSKA Moscow will play Panathinaikos in the championship game of the Euroleague Final Four on Sunday.

CSKA used a 14-0 run late in the early semifinal Friday to beat first-timer Unicaja Malaga 62-50 in the lowest-scoring Final Four game in a decade and Panathinaikos defeated Tau Ceramica 67-53 in the second game.

“I think we won the game because we played excellent defence,” CSKA coach Ettore Messina said. “Mentally, this has been a tremendous accomplishment.”

CSKA will try to win consecutive titles for the first time in the club’s history. It’s in a record-breaking fifth straight Final Four, and has won titles in 1961, ’63, ’69 and ’71. Centre David Andersen began CSKA’s late rally with a short jumper and added two more to have six points in the run. Trajan Langdon, an American guard who led CSKA with 13 points, added a key three-point play and a three-pointer.

Andersen finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, and Theodoros Papaloukas added 11 points and five steals. Carlos Cabezas led Unicaja with 13, but did not score after getting cut in the face on the layup that tied the game at 41. He was the only Unicaja player in double figures. Panathinaikos is seeking its fourth title.

Wildly cheered by 18,000 fans in Athens Olympic Hall, Panathinaikos went on an 8-0 run late in the first quarter, taking an 18-9 lead and never looking back. Three-pointers by Milos Vujanic, Sani Becirovic and Ramunas Siskauskas helped Panathinaikos open a 35-21 halftime lead.

Tau got as close as six several times in the final quarter, but Vujanic sank three-pointer to make it 61-51 and secure the game with 1:41 left. Becirovic and Batiste led Panathinaikos with 15 points each and Batiste added 12 rebounds. Serkan Erdogan led Tau with 11 points.

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