Lokomotiv Kuban vs. Khimki. The VTB United League Play-offs. Game 1. Preview.

On May 23rd, Lokomotiv Kuban starts the quarterfinal series of the VTB United League against Khimki Moscow Region at home. The goal is to advance to Final Four.

The Take

Let’s start with new regulations of the championship. The best-of-five quarterfinal series will have 1-2-2 format. Let’s look into it.


The first game takes place on the home court of the team which takes a higher place in the standings. Next two games are held at the home arena of another team. If fourth or fifth games are necessary, games return to the city of the first team.

The scheme works perfectly for the lower part of the play-off standings, for example, for VEF. Two games against the best team of the regular season are guaranteed to Riga audience. No wait! There’s something wrong in here…

CSKA-VEF quarterfinal series starts at Liepaja

…UNICS that takes the second place in the standings plays in Nizhny Novgorod two games.

At the end of the VTB League season, Khimki didn’t look good. They failed to pull themselves together and fight for the Top-5 of the championship. Avtodor turned out to be stronger. At the last but one game of the regular season, Khimki could have been hammered by Loko (-29 ahead of the last quarter).

In the last game ahead of play-offs, Khimki defeated Enisey on the road without leaders. It didn’t influence the standings. They maintained the sixth place. Welcome to the South!

As for Loko, the team fulfilled its minimal goal in the season and remained in Top-3 of the VTB United League. Ambitions of Krasnodar are much higher than the current result but it can help Loko to fight for the title successfully. The third place let us avoid the semifinal game against mad CSKA that lost both games in Euroleague Final Four.

Loko ended the regular season in Nizhny Novgorod where it was beaten by the Volga team. Fortunately, the game didn’t influence anying – the Khimki series had been already guaranteed.

The Opponent

Khimki brings the best shooter of Euroleague to Krasnodar, Alexey Shved. He averages 21.8 points in the European championship. In the VTB United League, the Russian guard averages 22.3 points and heads Top-scorer standings of the League. The next top scorer of Khimki is James Anderson who shoots 10.1 points in average.


Loko still has the best defense in the championship. Krasnodar allows 73.1 points in average. Two players of Lokomotiv apply for the best defending player of the VTB United League.

Dima Kulagin averages 10.2 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.3 steals. With his stats, Dima is one of contenders for sixth man of the year.

Elegar averages 12 points and 6.1 rebounds. Frank is also one of jokers of the team. And he is also one of leading contenders in the nomination.


Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

— The atmosphere and preparation for the first game of the series against Khimki are very good. All players understand importance of the game to look good in the end of the season where we have achieved almost all our goals – we won the Russian Cup and got to Top-3 of the VTB regular season. Despite our disappointing defeat in Eurocup, I think we show a very good job this season. Now we should finish it in the best way and look good in the upcoming play-off games.

Jonas Maciulis, Forward of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

— For us, it’s really important to start the Khimki series with a win as two other games will take place on their court. We defeated them twice in the regular season but we shouldn’t rely on the wins. We will face an absolutely different team in play-offs. Khimki is a strong qualified team and we’ll have to show our best basketball to advance to Final Four. I’m sure that all fans will enjoy our games.


Lokomotiv Kuban and Khimki meet in the first play-off game in Krasnodar on May 23rd at 7:00 p.m.


Previously on the VTB United League

That’s how the Khimki game in the first half of the season took place in Basket Hall. Let’s do it again Lokomafily!


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