| PBC Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar made it to the Eurocup final! Lokomotiv advanced to the title game despite a 63-68 against Valencia Basket. Lokomotiv had recorded an 87-97 road win in Game 1 and won the two-way series on points differential. As such, Lokomotiv sealed its ticket to the Eurocup title game, which will takes place at the RTL Spiroudome in Charleroi, Belgium on April 13. It will face the winner of the other semifinal series between Uxue Bilbao Basket and BC Budivelnik Kiev. Valencia lost the chance to become the first team to reach a fourth final - and win a third title - in competition history. Nick Calathes led the series winners with 19 points. Jimmy Baron had 11 while Mantas Kalnietis added 10 for Lokomotiv. Stefan Markovic and Bojan Dubljevic led Valencia with 14 points apiece. Pau Ribas added 12 while Thomas Kelati for 10 for Valencia, which lost Flo Pietrus, Justin Doellman and Serhiy Lishchuk due to respective injuries midway through the game. Valencia had a good start and a layup by Ribas gave the guests an 11-13 edge. Derrick Brown and Mantas Kalnietis allowed Lokomotiv to get a 16-15 lead after 10 minutes. A jumper by Simas Jasaitis boosted the hosts' lead to 23-17 but Lishchuk and Dubljevic stepped up to put Valencia back ahead, 26-28. Lokomotiv struggled to score after the break and an outstanding Lishchuk boosted Valencia's lead to 35-43 late in the third quarter. A dunk by Dubljevic tied the series, 43-53, midway through the fourth quarter. Calathes stepped up in crunch time and Baron hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final 22 seconds to send Lokomotiv to the Eurocup title game!
Kelati got Valencia going with a three-pointer and soon added a backdoor layup for a 0-5 Valencia lead. Lokomotiv went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Richard Hendrix stepped up with a put-back basket. Doellman made free throws that Brown matched with a put-back slam. Calathes took over with a coast-to-coast layup and Lishchuk soon gave Valencia a 6-8 lead. Markovic found space for an uncontested layup but an acrobatic basket by Brown kept Lokomotiv within 8-10. Lishchuk split foul shots and a three-pointer by Calathes tied it at 11-11. Valencia kept struggling to score until Kelati fed Ribas for a reverse layup. Aleks Maric hit a jump hook and Brown dunked it off a steal to give Lokomotiv its first lead, 15-13. Valencia called timeout and Doellman tried to change things with a fast break dunk. Kalnietis split foul shots to fix the score at 16-15 after 10 minutes.
Valencia tried a more dynamic lineup with Pietrus and Kelati together on court early in the quarter. Calathes found Kalnietis for a driving layup, as Pietrus left the game with a shoulder problem. Dubljevic tried to change things with a jump hook. Baron struck from downtown to boost the hosts' lead to 21-17, as the game turned into a physical battle. Valencia went scoreless for more than and 3 minutes and a six-meter jumper by Jasaitis broke the series open, 23-17. Ribas fed Doellman for a layup in transition - before leaving the game with an injury - and Lishchuk scored down low to give Valencia some hope at 23-21. Lokomotiv went back to its starting lineup and a close jumper by Dubljevic tied the game at 23-23, after a 0-6 run. Jasaitis split free throws and a three-pointer by Markovic put Valencia back ahead, 24-26. Markovic fed Lishchuk for a layup but Kalnietis scored in penetration to keep Lokomotiv within 26-28 at halftime.
Kelati buried a jumper immediately after the break, as Lokomotiv kept finding it hard to find open shots. Brown stepped up with a high-flying offensive rebound, split free throws and swished a mid-range jumper for a 29-30 Lokomotiv deficit. Markovic scored in penetration, as Lokomotiv tried to speed up the game tempo without much success. Meanwhile, a jump hook by Dubljevic made it a five-point series, 29-34. Hendrix shined with a layup in transition that Markovic bettered with a three-pointer. Baron nailed a jumper off a timeout, as Lokomotiv improved its defense midway through the third quatrter. Calathes hit a mid-range jumper that Dubljevic erased with a layup for a 35-39 Valencia edge. Lishchuk took over with a driving layup and followed that with a fast break slam off a steal to make coach Evgeny Pashutin stop the game at 35-43. Calathes made free throws to give Lokomotiv some fresh air, 37-43, after 30 minutes.
Rafa Martinez found his first points early in the fourth quarter. Calathes stepped up with a driving layup, as Kelati headed back to the bench with 4 fouls. Jasaitis took advantage of a mismatch with a put-back layup but a driving basket by Ribas kept Valencia in the series, 41-47. Kalnietis ignited the crowd with an acrobatic layup that Markovic matched with free throws. Dubljevic scored around the basket and dunked it to tie the series, 43-53, midway through the fourth quarter. Kalnietis rescued Lokomotiv with a three-pointer, Dubljevic kept pacing Valencia with an alleyoop layup and a free throw by Calathes brought the hosts within 47-55. Due to its injury circumstances, Valencia was using an unprecedented lineup with Markovic at power forward. Ribas sank a floating jumper, Calathes made foul shots and a jump hook by Maric made it a four-point series, 51-57, with 3 minutes left. Calathes kept pacing the hosts with a driving layup and matched Dubljevic's basket with a jumper that sealed the outcome, 55-59, with 1:21 left. Kelati swished a corner triple but fouled on Jasaitis, who split free throws for a 56-62 score with 42.8 seconds to go. Rodrigo San Miguel missed free throws and Baron hit 6-of-6 free throws in crunch time, allowing all Lokomotiv fans to start celebrating that their team had made it to the Eurocup final!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013