«Nizhny Novgorod» Nizhny Novgorod, Russia vs. «Lokomotiv-Kuban» Krasnodar, Russia
Lokomotiv picking up steam, Nizhny suffers first loss
In week four of the regular season, Nizhny Novgord fell at home to Krasnodar’s Lokomotiv-Kuban, 61-54. In the final period of this low-scoring affair, the Kuban side finally broke through against their tenacious opponent.
The Krasnodar side publicly stated their hopes of winning trophies at the beginning of the season, then surprisingly opened with two straight losses. They halted their losing streak in week three against Tsmoki-Minsk, and the team, somewhat weakened by injuries, came to Nizhny Novgorod fully intent on winning and moving forward in their goals.
The home team, on the other hand, debuted with two confident wins. The Novgorod club’s excellent form, coupled with Loko’s problems, was expected to level the playing field and produce a closely-contested game.
The first half played out true to form. Those in attendance observed a physical, low-scoring encounter, in which desire and effort made up for mistakes. Kalnietis stood out for Lokomotiv-Kuban, while Brezec impressed from Nizhny Novgorod. As expected, at halftime the game had yet to produce a clear-cut favorite, the score, 27-25, in favor of Loko.
Much of the third period, which the visitors opened with a 6-0 run, was notable for a certain chaos on both ends of the court and defensive-minded basketball. One moment stands out: Obi Trotter, who at the time had only scored 4 points, missed a hasty three-pointer. Kalnietis secured the rebound and looked to run. Trotter, however, somehow managed to get in front of him and draw a charge from the Lithuanian. Only in the final minute of the third quarter did Nizhny Novgorod manage to cross the 40-point threshold. The end of the quarter, indeed, went to Novgorod: two productive attacks from Videnov, Brezec free throws, a Panin ‘3,’ and the white and black pulled ahead, 44-39.
Lokomotiv, to its credit, didn’t get rattled. In the closing 10-minute period, Pashutin’s men settled down and demonstrated the type of play their fans expect. In the middle of the quarter, without losing focus on defense, Lokomotiv unexpectedly attacked from the perimeter and surged ahead. An 8-0 run, thanks to 5 points from Sheleketo and a 3-point “bomb” from Calathes determined the outcome of the game.
Maxim Sheleketo. Sheleketo collected only 13 points and 3 rebounds in the first three weeks of the season. Today, the 25-year-old forward put away 17 points, 7 rebounds, and, as mentioned above, played a decisive role in the final quarter.
Stat of the game
2 – in the fourth quarter Nizhny Novgorod only converted 2 field-goal attempts. It’s tough to win a closely-contested game with that type of shooting.
Picture of the game
Nizhny Novgorod head coach Zoran Lukic:
- We controlled the game for three quarters. To our great disappointment, however, our bench didn’t help at all today. Look at the statistics: Ivlev, Savelyev, Zibirov, and Shashkov totaled only 2 points between them. Labovic once again didn’t play very well. I’m not looking for excuses, but the team needed the support of its bench during the game. Brezec played today with a temperature of 38. Panin practiced for the first time over the weekend. They played more than they should have, but what can you do when you don’t have any basketball players to sub in for them? It’s upsetting to lose in a situation like this, with victory near at hand. In any case, we need to keep moving forward.
Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
- It’s very difficult to win in Nizhny Novgorod. They’ve got a great young team; they’ve very fast. Teams like UNICS have lost here, by healthy margins, too. It was important for us to change the pace and rhythm of the home team’s game, since we would have difficulty keeping up with them in an up-tempo game. Our offense didn’t always work, so we’ll focus on those aspects of our game. Today, all the guys tried and showed character. That’s what we asked them to do. They battled every moment, over each centimeter of the court.
Nizhny Novgorod: Vadim Panin – 12 points, 7 rebounds.
Lokomotiv-Kuban: Maxim Sheleketo – 17 points, 3-3 from long range, 7 rebounds.
Highlights. Nizhny Novgorod - Lokomotiv-Kuban