The last time Nizhny Novgorod won in Krasnodar was a long time ago – in January 2014, 9 years ago. And, of course, we intended to do something with this tradition. However, the victory of nosebleed was important for both teams – even if the playoffs are still a few months away, in many ways the fairway of the matches is drawn right here and now. The fifth final place according to the results of the regular season in comparison with the sixth is a springboard for starting the semi–final-medal showdown at times more attractive.
Loko’s rookie forward DeVon Akun-Purcell was present at the match. And even participated in the pre–match studio and shared his first impressions of the team and teammates.
For the first time in the season, Anton Kvitkovskikh took the position of number four at the start. But the main hero of the opening minutes was not him, but forward Andrey Martyuk and defender Jaylen Barford. The first scored from the middle distance, and from the far, and from above, and the second, in addition to the usual sniper duties, was good at picking up (6 before the big break), and in assists.
Everything seemed to be in favor of the hosts – 17:10. But then a protracted spurt of the guests followed – 12:1. It’s also good that Chris Horton, who had already become accustomed to the role of one of the team leaders, simultaneously with the siren about the end of the starting quarter, converted his next selection in the attack into an accurate throw. In total, the asset of the newcomer “Loco” for the first half – 9 points and 8 rebounds. The numbers are both luxurious and extremely necessary commands.
But another American rookie, point guard Joshi Gray, did not play too well. His first 6 shots from the game missed the target. But 10 seconds before the big break, Gray managed to score, besides with a foul – and the teams went to rest with only a three–point advantage of the guests.
At the same time, the Loko defense completely turned off the main character of the first round match – defender Jermaine Love, who scored 28 points in Nizhny Novgorod. In Krasnodar, according to the results of the first 20 minutes, there was zero in the performance column opposite his last name.
Soon after the resumption of the game, it became quite alarming – 44:34 in favor of “Pari NN” after a cool throw from above performed by Alexander Chadov. I remembered that more than once this season, the third quarter became a real stumbling block for Krasnodar residents. So in the end it turned out – the hosts lost the ten-minute game with a score of 15:23.
Zakhar Vedishchev was ready to become the mastermind of the chase performed by Loko. Two of his passes in a row ended with hits, and the third with accurate penalties. Gray, realizing that he was not getting along with throws from a distance, also began to torment the defense of the Volga with high-speed passes. But at the same time, the gap did not decrease – and moreover, after a series of hits by Dragan Apich, it was fixed at 11 points over and over again.
That’s how much he made up before the final quarter. Which Gray opened was optimistically a hit from behind the arc, but the same Pitch continued with two block shots in a row. After that, Love also began to score points – 66:51 in favor of the guests 6 minutes before the siren…
Five thousand Krasnodar fans tried their best to inspire the hosts to chase, and the Loko players were looking for attacking happiness in an early attack – but everything went completely wrong with their hits. As a result – an insulting, but logical defeat.
The Krasnodar team will play the next match on the road – on January 10 in St. Petersburg with Zenit. Well, on January 15 – the next match in the Krasnodar “Basket Hall”, the opponent is “Minsk”.