«Lokomotiv-Kuban» Krasnodar, Russia vs. UNICS Kazan, Russia

Game statistics



2nd Krasnodar thriller goes to Lokomotiv

Lokomotiv-Kuban Krasnodar came back at home against UNICS Kazan to win Game 4 in their VTB United League Playoffs quarterfinal series, 68-64, and advance to the semifinals. Just as in Game 3 in Krasnodar, UNICS controlled the first half, leading tonight by 13 points at halftime. But unlike the night before, Lokomotiv’s comeback ended in a win this time and they advance to the semifinals, where they will meet the winner of the Zalgiris – Nizhny Novgorod series.


As it has all series long, Lokomotiv-Kuban looked to push the pace in the early-going, but an 0-5 start from beyond the arc killed its momentum. The score was tied, 7-7, before UNICS’s Nikita Shabalkin drained a corner ‘3’ at the 4:16 mark to start a 12-3 run, capped by a Mire Chatman dunk with 48 seconds to play in the quarter. Lokomotiv coach Evgeny Pashutin called timeout.

Despite the sloppy finish to the first quarter, the Railwaymen continued to play aggressively in the second. 26–year-old Lithuanian guard Mantas Kalnietis scored seven points and Richard Hendrix added a lay-up to bring the home team back within four, 23-19, midway through the second period.

That was as close, however, as Lokomotiv would get in the first half. Igor Zamanskiy, the veteran 35-year-old Russian guard, converted a three-point play to push UNICS’s lead back to seven. Big man Ian Vougioukas chipped in with six points, before Pavel Sergeev and Zamanskiy closed the half with 3-pointers. UNICS led by 13, 42-29, a worrisome deficit for the home team who wanted to avoid a return to Kazan for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Both teams played well in the paint in the first half, converting over 60% of their two-point field-goal attempts, but UNICS held a slight advantage at the perimeter and the free-throw line, in addition to outrebounding Lokomotiv, 17-13.

Much like yesterday’s furious fourth-quarter comeback, Evgeny Pashutin’s men couldn’t be stopped today in the third. After back-and-forth scoring in the first five minutes – Pavel Sergeev made it 47-36, UNICS, at the 5:33 mark – Maxim Grigoriev broke down UNICS’s defense on four consecutive possessions. The rising 22-year-old Russian guard first drained back-to-back 3-pointers. Having drawn the attention of the UNICS defense, he pump-faked at the perimeter his next time down the court, drove into the lane and dumped off to Derrick Brown for an easy two points. A free throw capped the 9-0 run.

UNICS couldn’t get its shots to fall and Brown put the home team on top for good with 1:27 to play in the third quarter, 50-49. He extended the lead on his own to five points, 56-51, in the fourth quarter. Vougioukas, with 10 points on the night, kept his team afloat with two buckets, but fouled out with 3:42 to play, UNICS trailing 60-55.

Turning Point

Kostas Kaimakoglou took over where Vougioukas left off, scoring the next eight points to pull the visitors within one point, 64-63. But after Calathes came up short on a mid-range jumper, UNICS guard Chuck Eidson missed a 3-pointer that would have put his team ahead, and Richard Hendrix converted a lay-up at the other end.

UNICS’s luck ran out for good in the final minute. Fouled on a shot attempt with 29 seconds left in the game, Kaimakoglou could make just one. Valery Likhodei converted two free throws for Lokomotiv to put Lokomotiv ahead by four, 68-64. Down to its final possession, UNICS missed two 3-pointers and Kaimakoglou came up empty at the free-throw line, as last season’s VTB United League runner-up crashed out of the playoffs at the quarterfinal stage.

Lokomotiv wins it, 68-64, and will now advance to play the winner in the Zalgiris – Nizhny Novgorod series.

Star of the Game
Maxim Grigoriev. He's made some huge 3-pointers for the second game in a row. Today, Grigoriev revived Lokomotiv from beyond the arc, scoring 13 points along with six rebounds.

Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Evgeny Pashutin:
- I'd like to thank my guys for finding strength and manliness within themselves. We came back for a second game in a row. UNICS began really well and not everything was working for us on defense. But our guys pulled together and each stood like a rock in today's game. The turning point in the third quarter happened because of smart offense, as well as helping each other out and defense. Max Grigoriev is a young guy, but played like an experienced veteran. We didn't take bad shots and played each possession wisely.

UNICS head coach Stanislav Eremin:
- The key moment in the game came when we didn't handle Maxim Grigoriev. He turned the game around. His 3-pointers were key and Derrick Brown also played well at that moment. We didn't have enough healthy players. At the end of the game we were less lucky than yesterday. We could have pulled this out, but weren't able to.

Top Performers
Lokomotiv-Kuban: Derrick Brown – 14 points, three rebounds; Maxim Grigoriev – 13 points, six rebounds; Nicholas Calathes – 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists; Mantas Kalnietis – 11 points.

UNICS: Kostas Kaimakoglou – 16 points, four rebounds; Ian Vougioukas – 10 points, eight rebounds; Nikita Shabalkin – 11 points.

Photo of the Game