CSKA Moscow has always been a talented team, boasting players with NBA potential. They faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday and won, 108-106, in overtime. Milos Teodosic romped with 26 points and nine assists against Ricky Rubio and the Minnesota backcourt, while Nenad Krstic and Sasha Kaun combined for 25 points and 16 rebounds against a Timberwolves frontline who struggled minus center/forward Kevin Love, recovering from an injury.
However, Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs won't be a walk in the park for CSKA. The Spurs are coming off a Finals appearance against the Miami Heat, pushing the defending champions to a Game 7. Like CSKA, the Spurs have a lot of international flavour, with three players coming from France, two from Canada, and one each from Italy, Argentina, Brazil and Australia. The international Big Three of the Spurs -- Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter and Tony Parker -- average 41.8 points a game. Parker is considered one of the best point guards in the world and is fresh from leading France to a gold-medal finish in the 2013 Eurobasket. Splitter and Ginobili both missed the FIBA Americas tournament but are fully-rested and ready to go. Corey Joseph, on the other hand, is eager to prove his worth after his Canada team fell short in 2013.
Of course, the American contingent is nothing to sneeze at. After all, Tim Duncan is having a career revival, averaging 17.8 points and 9.9 rebounds in 2012-13. The four-time NBA champion and two-time Most Valuable Player still has what it takes to succeed in the NBA, and retirement is not yet on the horizon. Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard are also legitimate double-figure scorers who can explode anytime; Leonard is also an excellent rebounder for his height.
CSKA Moscow might seem weaker on paper, but they do have the Euro talent to match -- Krstic and Kaun have NBA experience, while Teodosic is a tough defensive assignment who can score from anywhere. Russian Viktor Khryapa is also an NBA veteran, having played four seasons in Portland and Chicago. Many American names on the CSKA Moscow lineup have cracked NBA rosters as well -- Sonny Weems averaged 9.2 points for Toronto in 2010, while point guard Jeremy Pargo last played for Philadelphia after moving to Maccabi Tel Aviv. One other American, Kyle Hines, is a near-clone of Kawhi Leonard -- both are undersized power forwards who are also double-double machines for their respective teams.
The San Antonio Spurs - CSKA Moscow matchup is bound to be an exciting one marked by torrid shooting and tough defense.