Laboral rallies past Lokomotiv to clinch second place
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria came back from a double-digit deficit to beat Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 84-71 and clinch second place in Group D on Friday night. Both teams finished the regular season with 6-4 records, but the 13-point victory gave Laboral the necessary tiebreak advantage. Lokomotiv led 31-43 in the second quarter, but Laboral rallied in the third behind Lamont Hamilton, before pulling away with an 18-3 run in the fourth quarter. Milko Bjelica scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, and Hamilton finished with 14 points in victory. David Jelinek added 12 and Andres Nocioni chipped in with 11 points for Laboral. Marcus Williams scored game-high 19 points for the visitors, while Mantas Kalnietis had 13, and Krunoslav Simon 12 for Lokomotiv, which made it to the Top 16 in its debut season, but has now lost three in a row.
First quarter: Lokomotiv takes early lead
Tibor Pleiss and Kalnietis traded layups to start the game. Bjelica scored from close range but Williams answered with a long jumper. After Pleiss scored inside again, Williams drove for a layup-plus-free throw and 6-7. Kalnietis followed it up with a fastbreak layup before Thomas Heurtel hit a jumper for the hosts. After Simas Jasaitis scored a layup, Pleiss scored from close range, and Fernando San Emeterio from long range for 13-11. But Williams drove the lane and Derrick Brown hit a fadeaway, before Kalnietis sank a triple for 13-18. Leo Mainoldi hit a jumper on the other end, but Kalnietis added a fastbreak layup and a short jumper to the tally, and 15-22. Hamilton nailed a long jumper for the hosts, but Simon made driving layup and Williams buried a ong buzzer-better for 20-27 at the end of the first.
Second quarter: Williams helps visitors extend lead to 12
A basket from Hamilton opened the second quarter, but a three-pointer from Valeriy Likhodey made it a double-digit margin, 22-32. Nocioni answered with a basket-plus-foul, and Hamilton followed it up with a put-back dunk to lift the crowd and help get Laboral to 29-32. However, Simon and Jasaitis hit back-to-back triples midway through the second quarter, and after Jelinek made a long jumper, Aleks Maric had a put-back and Williams drained a three-pointer on fastbreak for 31-43. Laboral replied with 6 straight points, Adam Hanga drove for a layup, before Jelinek and Nocioni scored on breakaways. Brown hit a triple on the other end, but Jelinek hit a baseline jumper and Nocioni ended the quarter with a follow-up dunk for 41-47 halftime score.
Third quarter: Hamilton rallies the hosts
Simon hit a runner at the start of the third quarter, but Heurtel's long jumper and Bjelica's put-back cut it to 45-49. Williams and Simon nailed long jumpers to extend the lead to 9, but Bjelica hit from downtown and Heurtel added a long jumper for Laboral. After Kalnietis drove to the hoop, Hamilton hit from behind the arc to make it 53-56. After a timeout, Williams got a lucky bounce on his shot, but Hamilton rounded out the scoring in the third quarter with another triple, 57-58.
Fourth quarter: Laboral pulls away with an 18-3 run
Fabien Causeur, in his first game since Round 2, got the hosts back into the lead with a fastbreak layup-plus-foul, and Hanga hit a triple for 63-58. Likhodey answered from downtown for Lokomotiv, and Richard Hendrix scored his first basket of the night, from close range, to get within 1. But Jelinek hit a corner triple after some good ball movement from the hosts, and Hanga drove for an explosive dunk and a 71-64 advantage. It sparked a big run from the hosts. Bjelica extended with 4 free throws with exactly four minutes to go. After Williams snapped an 11-1 run with a pair of free throws, Jelinek sank a triple, and Nocioni made a short turnaround jumper for an 82-66 lead, putting the game out of reach. In the final minute, Bjelica added a big dunk for a 17-point lead. Lokomotiv scored the last 5 points in the game, including a triple from Brown, to cut the final margin.
Friday, December 20, 2013