Lokomotiv-Kuban rally past Kalev on the road – 98:81 (26:21, 23:24, 24:17, 25:19)
Kalev: Janari Joesaar (18 + 6 reboudns), Sacha Killeya-Jones (11), Armands Skele (11).
Lokomotiv-Kuban: Sam Dekker (26 + 11 rebounds), Grigory Motovilov (16), Mantas Kalnietis (12).
Kalev – with a record of 8-11 – are fighting for the playoff seed. They’d been ranked 8th before the game with Loko (13-6). Krasnodar recovered from two straight losses and controlled the game during the first half, with numerous attempts to run away. Loko’s star foreigners set the mood of the first 5 minutes as the scoreboard showed 14:8 thanks to Johnny O’Bryant and Mantas Kalnietis. While the guests were maintaining 7-point lead in the second quarter, Evgeny Pashutin unexpectedly found Grigory Motovilov as an option (11 option). However, Kalev survived the pressure matching it with Janari Joesaar’s stability (14 points in 20 minutes, 60% 2PT FG). The first half ended 49:45 for the guests.
With only 4 minutes into the second half, Kalev took the lead with Finke’s baskets (53:51, 56:54).
Another player turned the things around. Lokomotiv’s captain Vitaly Fridzon responded with two 3-pointers withing 32 seconds to get the lead back. The team heated up as Sam Dekker scored 10 in the third. The railmen finished the episode with a 7:2 run to get a double-digit lead before the 4th (73:62)
Sam Dekker. Kalev defense could not resist the American forward who made 10 of 15 field goals and made a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
98 – Loko’s highest-scoring game this season
Kalev head coach Roberts Stelmahers:
“We’ve faced a strong opponent and mostly did well. But we were punished immediately after every single mistake. When you meet Loko, you have to play your perfect game, otherwise there’s no chance. We’ve had one, but couldn’t use it. Honestly, this looked like a pre-season game, and we love our fans, they give us energy boost.”
Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
“Congrats to our team with a win. It was the first game without fans in my career. It’s really difficult, feels like a pre-season game. Sport is for fans.
We were focused on the game tonight and tackled Kalev’s snipers. Plus, we’ve managed to stop their leader Kyle Vinales. We didn’t have much time to prepare after CSKA, but we’ve made right conclusions, controlled the rebounds and got the W. I believe we’re in a good shape before the decisive games.”