Lokomotiv escapes Lietkabelis with tough road victory
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar escaped Lithuania with a tough road victory after it knocked off Lietkabelis Panevezys 84-85 to remain perfect in Group A. Lokomotiv survived a nearly 3-minute scoreless drought in the fourth quarter and ended up getting the winning basket on Stanislav Ilnitskiy’s three-pointer with 33 seconds to play. Errick McCollum led the way for Lokomotiv with 18 points on a historic night while Johnathan Motley had 17 points, Stanton Kidd 14 and Darius Thompson picked up 12 points and 11 assists for the 2-0 team. The game also saw the return to action of Alan Williams for Lokomotiv after the big man suffered a serious knee injury last November. Panagiotis Kalaitzakis poured in 22 points to pace Lietkabelis, which dropped to 1-1 in the group. Gediminas Orelik and Gabrielius Maldunas both scored 11 points and Vytenis Lipkevicius chipped in 10 points and 9 rebounds.
McCollum took care of a milestone right away after 12 seconds with the first point of the game on a free throw to move into third place in the EuroCup’s all-time leading scoring list. Orelik and Lipkevicius both hit three-pointers for Lietkabelis’s first lead, 8-7. The hosts moved ahead 19-14 before Ivan Paunic made a three-point play shooting over the backboard. An and-one by Thompson and a Kidd triple put Lokomotiv ahead 22-23. Nikola Radicevic’s free throws had the hosts up 24-23 after 10 minutes.
Karolis Giedraitis’s three-pointer opened the second quarter and the cushion was 29-23. Kalaitzakis scored 6 points for Lietkabelis, but Motley answered with 9 points as Lokomotiv did not let the hosts pull away. Kidd added a three-pointer for Lokomotiv, but the visitors trailed 45-42 at the break.
A Radicevic three-point play increased the margin to 50-44. The score was 52-46 when Lokomotiv finally started getting some stops with McCollum scoring 4 points in a 0-12 run over nearly 4 minutes for a 52-58 advantage. Lokomotiv added three-pointers from Andrei Martiuk and Ilnitskiy sandwiched around a Thompson three-point play for a 63-68 cushion. The score was 64-68 after 30 minutes.
Vladislav Emchenko’s three-pointer started the fourth quarter for a 64-71 margin. Lietkabelis was not ready to give up and Orelik’s triple trimmed the gap to 69-71. Another Orelik three-pointer got the hosts within 75-77. Lokomotiv remained strong with a McCollum three and an Ilnitskiy putback for a 77-82 lead. Kalaitkazis hit 4 free throws at the other end as Lietkabelis held the guests scoreless for nearly 3 minutes to knot the game 82-82 with 2 minutes left. Ilnitskiy drained a big three-pointer with 33 seconds to play. After Kalaitzakis answered with 2 more foul shots with 28 seconds, McCollum missed his layup, leaving the chance for Maldunas for the win, but he couldn’t hit the three-pointer and Lokmotiv escaped.
Darius Thompson does it all for Lokomotiv
While Errick McCollum hit a milestone and Alan Williams celebrated his comeback, it was Darius Thompson who led the show for Lokomotiv. The guard collected 12 points on 9 shots while also grabbing 1 rebound and dishing out a career-high 11 assists. Thompson was also excellent at the defensive end, hounding the Lietkabelis guards and picking up 3 steals. Thompson also managed 2 blocks. Altogether that gave him an index rating of 22 - all while playing 37:49 minutes in the game.
McCollum reaches a milestone, close to a second
Errick McCollum had a big night as he reached a major milestone. He started his historic night after just 12 seconds with a free throw to take over sole possession of third place on the EuroCup’s all-time scoring list, leaving behind him Rafa Martinez. McCollum finished the night with 1,258 points. The only two players left ahead of him are Jamar Smith (1,396 points) and Bojan Dubljevic (1,445). McCollum also finished with 15 index rating points, which got him even closer to sixth place in the all-time list. McCollum now has 1,379 PIR points - just 4 behind EJ Rowland’s 1,383. Next up in fifth place for McCollum would be Alen Omic at 1,415.
Telling numbers: Lietkabelis shooters held in check
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar came into the game knowing it must keep the Lietkabelis shooters in check. And Coach Evgeny Pashutin’s side did a pretty good job of that as the host side made just 6 of 24 three-pointers (25.0%). Lokomotiv shot 8 for 18 (44.4%) while also shooting 56.1% on two-pointers, compared to 51.1% for Lietkabelis. That difference helped as Lietkabelis grabbed 16 offensive rebounds in taking the battle of the glass 40 to 29. But it just wasn’t enough for the hosts to win.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021