Lokomotiv downs ALBA to win Group B
In a direct battle for the top spot in Group B, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar avenged its only defeat of the season, beating ALBA Berlin on the road 82-92 to clinch first place with a 9-1 record. ALBA finished second with 7-3 record. It was the fifth consecutive win for Lokomotiv, which is undefeated under head coach Vlade Jovanovic, and it was the team's fifth victory in as many games on the road this season. Mateusz Ponitka and JaJuan Johnson scored 14 points apiece to lead in victory, while Luke Sikma had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for ALBA in defeat.
The teams traded blows in the early going. Peyton Siva and Rokas Giedraitis hit triples for the hosts, who opened a 12-8 lead. A triple from Niels Giffey helped ALBA to 21-14 late in the opening quarter, but Jamel McLean finished the first quarter with a three-point play before back-to-back triples from Dorell Wright helped the visitors take a 23-25 lead early in the second quarter. Siva and Vitaly Fridzon traded triples and the teams stayed close with ALBA holding a 40-39 edge at halftime. Three-pointers from Fridzon and Trevor Lacey put Lokomotiv up for good, 44-49. ALBA youngster Jonas Mattisseck hit a pair of three-pointers to get the hosts within 52-53, but Lokomotiv stepped up defensively while playing patiently offensively, fighting for second-chance possessions and getting to the free throw line. A second-chance triple from Dmitry Khvostov made it 54-65 with 1:20 left in the third and Lacey beat the third-quarter buzzer to make it 59-70. A corner three from Stanislav Ilnitskiy helped open a 63-77 lead with seven minutes to go. ALBA answered with a 7-0 run with Tim Schneider hitting a triple and Giffey's three-pointer got the hosts within 76-81. However, easy baskets from Khvostov, Johnson and Kulagin on the next three Lokomotiv possessions put the game away.
Lokomotiv had five scorers in double-digits, but several contributors who really did a little bit of everything, including Dmitry Khvostov who had 12 points and 5 assists, and Dmitry Kulagin, who finished with 10 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Vitaly Fridzon netted 10 with 4 rebounds and 3 assists, while Jamel McLean had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
In the final 3:40 of the third quarter, Lokomotiv outscored ALBA 7-17, to pull away to an 11-point lead. The run included a pair of three-pointers from Khvostov and a buzzer-beater from Trevor Lacey. JaJuan Johnson, Mateusz Ponitka and Vladimir Ivlev combined to go 8 for 8 from free throw line.
Mattisseck shines again
Eighteen-year old Jonas Mattisseck made his fourth appearances in this game and made the most out of his 11 minutes. He finished with 9 points, on 3-for-3 shooting from three-point range. All his points came in the last five minutes of the third quarter when he was the only one to keep ALBA in striking range as Lokomotiv started to pull away.
Sikma and Giedraitis picking pockets
With 4 steals in this game, Luke Sikma now has combined for 10 steals in the last two games. He has 22 for the season, the same number as his teammate Rokas Giedraitis, who had 3 steals in this game. That's tied for second in the regular season behind ratiopharm Ulm player Javonte Green's 29.
In the Top 16, Lokomotiv will play in Group F with LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt and ratiopharm Ulm. ALBA will be in Group E with AS Monaco, Partizan NIS Belgrade and Rytas Vilnius.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018