Lokomotiv edges Bamberg on the road, continues streak
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar continued its perfect season and made a big step towards a place in the Eurocup quarterfinals after defeating Brose Baskets Bamberg on the road 78-80, in the opening leg of their two-game eighthfinals series on Wednesday. The team that scores more points during the home-and-away series will advance, and Lokomotiv has a two-point margin for the return leg at home next Tuesday. With this win, Lokomotiv also extended its Eurocup winning streak to 18 games. The visitors hit six triples in the first half, and Anthony Randolph nailed three of those as the visitors built a 16-point lead, and had 37-47 at halftime. But Bamberg made a 12-2 run to start the third, and a 13-1 run to open the fourth quarter for 70-65 advantage. However, Krunoslav Simon and Richard Hendrix answered the call for Lokomotiv, before the visitors secured a slim victory with late free throws. Simon led the winners with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Randolph scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half, and Derrick Brown added 10 for Lokomotiv. Janis Strelnieks netted 15 points for Bamberg, while Bradley Wanamaker had 14 points and 6 assists. Ryan Thompson also scored 14, Elias Harris had 11, while Trevor Mbakwe collected 9 points and 12 boards in defeat.
Randolph got Lokomotiv going with a pair of triples in the opening minute, and a fastbreak dunk from Brown opened 4-10 lead. Thompson had a jumper followed by a triple for the hosts in that early going, but a three-point play from Randolph sparked a 5-16 spurt during which Brown had a layup-plus-foul, fed Nikita Kurbanov for a dunk, before triples from Malcolm Delaney and Maxim Grigoryev made it 12-26. A basket from Karsten Tadda cut it to 15-27 after 10 minutes, and Daniel Theis made a pair of dunks at the start of the second for 19-29. But Mantas Kalnietis hit a basket-plus-free throw, and followed it with a three-point shot for the biggest margin of the night, 19-35. Dawan Robinson scored four points for the host, and Mbakwe had a basket-plus-foul, however, Simon scored 4-for-4 from the foul line on the other end, and added a put-back to keep the margin at 28-43. In the final two minutes of the half, Mbakwe sparked Bamberg's little run with an assist and a put-back, before Strelnieks made a steal and hit a three-point on a counter attack, for 35-44. Randolph answered right back with his third three of the night, before Mbakwe set the score at 37-47 at halftime.
Bamberg had a strong start to the second half, with Wanamaker and Mbakwe starting a run, and Wanamaker finishing it with a three-point play followed by a fastbreak three-pointer that cut the deficit to 49-51. After a timeout, Lokomotiv answered with 9 straight points as Simon scored a pair of baskets, and Richard Hendrix added a basket-plus-free throw, restoring a double-digit lead, 49-60. Kurbanov added a three-pointer to the visitors’ tally, but Harris and Wanamaker cut it to 57-64 after three quarters, before the hosts went on a big run to start the fourth. At the start of the final period, Bamberg held the visitors without a field goal for more than 4 minutes, while Strelnieks hit three-pointers on both ends of a 13-1 run - during which Thompson buried one from downtown of his own, too - for 70-65. Simon scored 6 points to restore the visitor’s lead, and a three-point play from Hendrix made it 74-76 with 3 minutes to go. Strelnieks tied it with a layup, and after Simon and Thompson traded free throws, Brown’s split foul shots put Lokomotiv up going into the final minute. In the final seconds, Randolph split his free throws, and Harris missed a potential-game winning triple at the buzzer.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015