Balanced Lokomotiv too much for Lietkabelis
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar booked consecutive wins for the first time since November as it rolled past Lietkabelis Panevezys 90-62 in Group A. Lokomotiv started the season 4-0, but had not won back-to-back games since then. Lokomotiv opened an 11-point lead early in the second quarter before losing most of that advantage. The hosts went on a 19-6 run spanning the halftime to build a 15-point cushion and Lietkablelis never got closer than 9 points the rest of the way as Lokomotiv improved to 8-3. Errick McCollum and Darius Thompson both scored 15 points to pace five Lokomotiv scorers in double figures. Stanislav Ilnitskiy poured in 14 points and Andrei Martiuk and Vladislav Emchenko both pitched in 11 points with Martiuk also grabbing 11 rebounds. Lietkabelis saw its two-game winning streak end in falling to 5-6 despite Djordje Gagic scoring 15 points and Panagiotis Kalaitzakis tallying 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Thompson opened the scoring for the hosts and Martiuk scored a basket and set up Alan Williams as Lokomotiv jumped ahead 6-0. Lietkabelis needed more than 3 minutes to score before Kaspars Berzins made a layup. Thompson added a three-pointer and layup to push the lead to 11-4. Lokomotiv had its problems with Gagic, who netted 6 points to get Lietkabelis within 14-12. McCollum’s jumper had Lokomotiv up 16-12 after 10 minutes.
Dovydas Giedratis’s jumper started the second quarter for Lietkabelis, but the Lithuania side’s offense dried up while Ivan Paunic hit a three-pointer in a 9-0 run for Lokomotiv in building a 25-14 lead. Kalaitzakis ended a 4-minute scoreless drought with a three-point play. The Greek youngster added a free throw and a three-pointer off an unsportsmanlike foul to make it 28-25. Martiuk came out of a Lokomotiv timeout with an inside score and Emchenko converted an and-one to increase the lead to 33-27. Kristupas Zemaitis answered with two baskets, but the hosts scored the final 5 points of the half to lead 38-31 at the break.
After McCollum and Gagic swapped scores, Thompson and Emchenko both converted three-point plays and Ilnitskiy and Emchenko hit triples to increase the margin to 52-37. Lietkabelis tried to get back into the game from long range as Giedraitis, Zemaitis and Vytenis Lipkevicius all drained three-pointers, but only trimmed the gap to 57-48. Lokomotiv finished the quarter with the final 8 points - including Ilnitskiy’s three-point play - to lead 65-48 after 30 minutes.
The surge continued in the final frame with Thompson and Ilnitskiy hitting triples as the margin swelled to 73-49. Gabrielius Maldunas scored for the visitors, but Martiuk and McCollum tallied at the other end and all doubt was over. Lokomotiv’s 19-year-old talent Abramo Canka provided a late highlight by hitting a three-pointer with 66 seconds left for his first points in the EuroCup.
Youngsters Martiuk, Emchenko come through for Lokomotiv
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar’s efforts were assisted greatly by strong showings from two youngsters. Andrei Martiuk collected his first double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds - 8 of them offensive - to go with 2 assists for a performance index rating of 17. The 21-year-old forward set a new personal best in rebounds; his previous high was 7 rebounds. The 22-year-old Emchenko tallied 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals for a PIR of 14. He set two career bests - bettering his previous highs of 7 points and 6 PIR.
Kalaitzakis does other things to help
One of the few bright spots for Lietkabelis Panevezys was the play of Panagiotis Kalaitzakis. The Greek player struggled with his shooting, making just 3 of 12 shots for 12 points but he grabbed 7 rebounds to go with 4 assists and 2 steals while drawing 5 fouls for an index rating of 18. The 23-year-old had PIRs of 18 for back-to-back games after a six-game stretch in which he only reached that mark once - a PIR of 19 against Joventut Badalona in Round 6.
Telling numbers - Lokomotiv controls the glass
Lietkabelis Panevezys came into the game outrebounding its opponents by 4.9 rebounds per game this season. Lokomotiv would have none of that, grabbing 47 rebounds compared to just 33 for Lietkabelis and taking the offensive rebounds 15 to 8, which led to an 18-9 advantage in second-chance points for the hosts. Lietkabelis also could not get into any shooting rhythm, especially from long range, hitting just 4 of 19 three-pointers (21.1%). The visitors also made only 40.5% of their two-pointers.
Wednesday, January 26, 2022