Khimki vs. Lokomotiv Kuban. The VTB United League Play-Off. Game 3. Preview

On May 28th, Lokomotiv Kuban plays Game 3 of the play-off series against Khimki on the road. There’s no backing space but it’s too early to make a full stop in the series.

The Take. Do or die

After the defeat in Game 2 in the Moscow Region, Lokomotiv lost any chances for a mistake. To advance to the Final Four, the team needs to win three games in a row. Fortunately, the goal is quite feasible. The whole Russian basketball is waiting for Loko’s comeback and the fifth game of the series.

Mardy Collins is doing the thing that he has to do in the series – he is keeping the rhythm of the game. Game 2 proved that Loko was mentally stronger. There was no panic on the court. Score gaps didn’t throw the team off balance. Loko believes in its tactic, philosophy, and basketball. Mardy remains the most valuable player of Lokomotiv Kuban. In Game 2, he was the top assister of Krasnodar – 5 assists.

After Ryan Broekhoff’s injury, Stas Ilnitsky has got much more time on the court. He was ready for that. And now he has to prove his quality in the series against his former team. Stas is one of the best Loko’s players in the Khimki series. In Game 1, he didn’t let Shved do whatever he wanted, as a result the top scorer of the championship showed the lowest percentage of field goals. Game 2 proved that Stas is an important part of Sasa Obradovic’s defense tactic – 4 defensive rebounds. Moreover, he is able to shot three and cut in the paint collecting fouls on him. In the series, Ilnitsky averages 5 points per 15 minutes.

In Game 2, we also saw Dima Kulagin’s comeback – 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 8 fouls on him. We haven’t seen such Dima for a couple of months. It was hard to be ready for his performance after an injury. When Kulagin is on fire nothing can stop him.

Krasnodar has already made surprises the season: the 26-win streak in all championships, comeback from a 20-point deficit in a EuroCup game, hammering Gran Canaria, and breaking CSKA’s winning streak in Moscow. Comparing to these achievements, 5 wins in a row (the number of wins needed for winning the title) seem to be quite feasible.


Lokomotiv has no intention to give up and tries to return the Khimki series to Krasnodar on May 28th at 7:00 p.m. Moscow time. Broadcasting by Match TV and

Previously on the VTB United League

In Game 2, Krasnodar took the lead and played confidently for the most of the game but Khimki won it in the fourth quarter – 77:72.

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