A locked Megasport, dirty parquet and cakes from the fans – how Loko prepared for the second match against CSKA

The second game of the semifinal series Lokomotiv-Kuban - CSKA starts today at 8:00 p.m. at Moscow's Megasport Arena. Here is a look at how the Krasnodar team prepares for this game.

The beginning of Loko’s practice session on Sunday was delayed by about half an hour. First, the team could not enter the territory of “Megasport” for a long time – there were no security guards on the post in front of the locked doors. The worst thing was ahead: nobody had prepared the arena floor for the training – the whole floor was covered with large-sized debris and traces of street shoes. And while the cleaners swept the floor without much haste, the coaches had an additional mini-training on tactics.

But after the training the surprises were pleasant: one of the Loko fans, Alisa Ivanova, who came to Moscow on the fan bus, after the first game attended the all-night Easter service and consecrated kuliches and painted eggs, to distribute them to the players and the Loko coaching staff.

The Americans were excited to see the kuliches in their hands, and Chris Horton briefly peeled a piece off the top, chewed it and murmured words of approval. Ivan Pownich was the happiest of all. “An Orthodox tradition! Very good!” the Serbian muttered, beating one opponent after another in an egg duel.

Sunday night the team had a big tactical session with a video, and on Monday morning they had another session in “Megasport. This time there were no organizational difficulties. The main emphasis at the session was on shots, and at the end of it Loko assistant coach Stanislav Zbarskiy talked about some of the details in preparation for the second game of the series.

Was Dmitri Uzinsky's inspired play in the first game a surprise?
- We always believe in Dima. He is our linking player on defense and offense. He is always dangerous from the perimeter because he has a great shot. On Saturday night he proved that he is always ready to take the initiative in decisive moments and lead the team to the victory. So no one was surprised - we instructed him to play on Dima more often.
Will Loko's game change much in the second game?
- We do not plan to make any global changes. It's not the time for big changes, we just need to show what we have played to this time. But, of course, we will surely adjust some of the nuances that prevented us from finishing the plan for the first game. We've already discussed these nuances, and we'll remind the players about them just before the game.
In the first game we more or less managed to cope with Aleksei Shved's guarding. Nicola Milutinov and Casper Ware combined for 51 points. Is it possible to contain all three of them at the same time?
- Holding all three at once isn't something out of the realm of fantasy, but it's very difficult. But we have studied the strengths of each of them, and we know what we have to do to limit their effectiveness. In the case of Weir we know that he is very good and dangerous in the endings. In the first game our players lacked experience in the playoffs against opponents of that level - and we let Weir do what he often does in the decisive moments of the game. That's why we need 100 percent focus on the game, full concentration from the first to the last second. We've already seen that the game can turn upside down in just 1-2 minutes - in three successful attacks.
Has the team already recovered emotionally from the upsetting defeat?
- I will say that they haven't had to bounce back either. That's basketball; well, stranger things happen. We understand that we played a great game and lacked just a little for victory. We realized that we could beat CSKA and that we really need to win this series for a long time. Mentally the guys feel great; our motivation is even better than before our first game.
The fans from Krasnodar had an adventure again - we had to wait several hours in the middle of the night for a bus to get to Rostov region. Do the fans feel the support of the team?
- I think it's very important for the team. After all, we are playing basketball primarily for the fans. When you see their interest and understand that they are ready to follow the team for thousands of kilometers through the snow and other obstacles, you become doubly motivated. You realize you're fighting not only for yourself and maybe for your teammates, but also for the bigger structure. So thank you very much to the fans - we'll try to please you today!

We should remind you that the match will start at 20:00. We’ll broadcast it live on our website, at, as well as on Match Game and Start TV channels.

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