VTB United League leader, CSKA Moscow, suffered its second loss for the regular season and their 14-game winning streak has been snapped. They were downed by visiting Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 76-78. It appears that Lokomotiv Kuban has the league juggernaut’s number as both of CSKA Moscow’s only losses have come at the hands of their deadly rivals. The loss, while disappointing, does not dislodge CSKA Moscow from the league’s pole position with their 16-2 record. Lokomotiv Kuban on the other hand, is now 12-5 and sits comfortably in fourth place and is on track to make to the Playoffs. If CSKA Moscow wants to claim the league crown at the end of the season, they will need to find an answer to Lokomotiv Kuban.
CSKA Moscow started off slow in the beginning, but Milos Teodosic woke up his team when he checked into the game. At the end of the first period, Loko gained a slight lead over their hosts 16-18. Both teams got into their respective grooves in the second frame. Anthony Randolph was very active in the low post Lokomotiv Kuban and CSKA Moscow scampered on defense to slow down the athletic import. Nando de Colo pushed the ball for the home squad and the game remained very close for the most part. As both clubs headed to the locker room for the halftime break, Lokomotiv Kuban was on top with a very slight 37-38 lead.
The respective coaches made some adjustments for the second half, but the teams appeared to be evenly matched on different fronts. It was a back-and-forth affair in the third frame with both teams mounting rallies to counter each other, wrenching the game’s tempo from side to side. When all was said and done, both teams were tied up 56-56 with just one more quarter remaining in the game. Loko started the final frame strong and remained aggressive to control the game. They mounted an eight-point lead with just five minutes left in regulation. Both Teodosic and de Colo made respective key plays to cut into the lead with two minutes to go, but their nemesis from Krasnodar was able to hold on for the win.
The hard-fought win was an impressive one for Lokomotiv Kuban. They rode on the impressive performance of Anthony Randolph, who has been very active for them lately. He finished the game with a team-high 17 points, leading four other teammates in double digit scoring in what was a very balanced offense. Loko had to overcome a stellar game from CSKA’s Milos Teodosic who finished with game-high 20 points while also handing out 10 assists. Vitaly Fridzon added 16 points, while Nando de Colo chipped in 15.