Lokomotiv Kuban vs. Astana. VTB United League. Preview

On April 1st, Lokomotiv Kuban plays against Astana at home. The game with the middle performer of the standings is a nice chance to return lost top positions. But it's not that simple.

The Take

With its new coach Astana has improved its position in the championships and intends to get to play-offs. Kazakhstan has already beaten Zenit and Khimki. But two defeats from PARMA and Nizhny Novgorod pushed Astana out of Top-8. So they have to win the game in Krasnodar. On the other side, Astana has won only one game on the road this season.

Last round, Kazakhstan was defeated by the direct rival for play-offs at home.

After New Year, Lokomotiv Kuban somehow engaged in “charity” in the VTB United League. In 2018, Krasnodar was beaten by Avtodor, CSKA, UNICS, and Tsmoki Minsk. Four defeats in a row is the worst losing streak for Loko in the regular championship.

The situation obviously influenced Loko’s position in the standings. At the moment, the club takes the fourth place. However, it’s necessary to win the rest of regular games to meet a more comfortable rival in play-offs.

The situation in EuroCup is quite different. Lokomotiv has a record-breaking winning streak (20 games) and participation in the finals. Now they need to transfer the EuroCup attitude to the domestic championship and return to Top 3. Last time, Lokomotiv was defeated by Tsmoki in Minsk. For the first time in history.

Justin Carter is a true leader of Astana at the moment. He is the top scorer, the top assister. He’s the leader in fouls committed on him (6.3), in the number of downtown shots (5) and 2-pointers (8.9), in accuracy of threes (1.6) and free throws (6.1). He even has the biggest number of turnovers per game (2.7).

Mardy Collins took the lead in the race for the best Loko player. He is the scorer, second in assists (3.4) and in rebounds (4.6). But now he is not the only person with ‘old legs’ in the team.

Jonas Maciulis is a new player of Krasnodar. He played his first game against Tsmoki. And we believe he is able to show much more than 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal for 20 minutes on the court.


Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

Astana is a very athletic team, best rebounding team in VTB. To win the game we should control this part of the game, use our good moment after qualifying to Eurocup finals. I expect a different game from one in Astana but also our win.

Dmitry Khvostov, Guard of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

— Astana has gifted and individually strong players. They are well prepared physically – they run fast in offense and aggressively take rebounds. After EuroCup games, we had time to take a rest and prepare for the game. We should treat the game very seriously. As previous games ended with our defeats, we have to improve our position in the VTB standings right in the next game.


Lokomotiv Kuban plays against Astana on April 1st in Krasnodar at 3:30 p.m. Moscow time.

In the first half of the regular championship of the VTB United League, Loko didn’t allow Astana get even 50 points.

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