The head coach of Loko analyzed the victory over Astana (98:67) and shared his expectations from the second stage of the regular season of the VTB United League.
- What are your impressions of the game?
- – As far as I know, the two previous trips of Loko to Astana ended in defeats. We kept this fact in mind and came here with the intention of showing the maximum of what we can do. In my opinion, today we played one of our best matches of the season. For me, there is nothing more pleasant than seeing players – especially young ones – get better. I had enough reasons to be happy in this match. Separately, I will note our team interaction – this is very close to what I expect from the players.
- Was this match very different from the first round game in Krasnodar?
- – Astana has seriously changed its squad since then, we also have several important players in the squad. I am very pleased with the way Chris Horton and DeVon Akun-Purcell today imposed resistance on Michael Myers, one of the most powerful players in the League.
- Was it difficult to set up your wards for a match against a team that is second from the end?
- – The score speaks for itself. Today we showed ourselves well in the team game. And the reward was a big gap in the score.
- There is a very difficult and important segment ahead: we have to play against five teams, each of which is currently higher in the table. What do you expect from the second stage of the regular season?
- – First of all, I would like to emphasize that we have fully earned our place among the best teams of the tournament – despite the fact that we have the youngest team in the VTB United League. Now we are going to show everyone that we occupy a place among the best by full right. We want to become a team that any opponent will be very seriously afraid of. A worthy challenge awaits us ahead. Every match will be important and we are looking forward to them.
- Against the background of the front lines of such teams as CSKA and UNICS, it sometimes seems that the "big" Loko players are not so big. Andrey Martyuk, whatever one may say, is still more of a heavy forward than a center. Anton Kvitkovskikh is much more comfortable in the position of the third number than in the fourth. Is this a big problem and how to solve it?
- – The lack of dimensions is not such a serious problem compared to the lack of experience. Teams from the top of the standings win so many matches, first of all, precisely because they have a lot of experienced players. So we need to make the most of our youth: play fast, tight, aggressive. And to extract the maximum experience from each game, to be able to analyze your mistakes competently.
- The next match of Lokomotiv-Kuban will be played against Zenit. If we take into account the Super Bowl, this will be the fourth meeting of the season. And each game goes according to one scenario: Zenit comes off big, Loko arranges a spectacular chase, and in the end everything is decided in the last seconds. What do you expect from the meeting on January 29?
- – The fact that this time they will find themselves in a situation where they need to win back "-24" (laughs). Seriously, Zenit is an experienced team with a very competent coach. Petersburgers show high-quality basketball. The fact that we have already defeated them once, and twice everything was decided in the last seconds, shows that we are on the right track. This gives us reason to expect that we will not be limited to one victory over them in a season.
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