|Lokomotiv Kuban rolls to victory in Euroleague home debut
In a battle between undefeated teams in regular season Group D, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar bested Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 68-53 at home on Thursday. Lokomotiv improved to 2-0 and grabbed a win in its first-ever Turkish Airlines Euroleague home game, while Rytas dropped to 1-1. Derrick Brown paced the winners with 22 points. Richard Hendrix added 17 points plus 11 rebounds for Lokomotiv, while Marcus Williams orchestrated the attack with 9 assists - 8 of them in the first half, when his team got the lead for good. Martynas Gecevicius and Andreas Glyniadakis led Rytas with 11 points apiece. Brown and Williams shined early to give Lokomotiv a 13-3 lead, enough to keep a 19-10 margin after 10 minutes. Brown got plenty of help from Hendrix to boost the hosts' lead to 37-24 near halftime. Gecevicius shined after the break to bring the guests a bit closer, 42-34, but Lokomotiv called timeout and went on a 9-0 run, which sealed the outcome at 51-34. Rytas kept fighting, but Lokomotiv excelled on defense in the fourth quarter and had plenty of time to celebrate a big home win.
First quarter: Brown, Williams shine as Lokomotiv dominates
Lokomotiv got off to a strong start, as Gecevicius was the only player to score for Rytas in the opening five minutes. Meanwhile, Lokomotiv found go-to guys in Williams and Brown, who started to find easy points in two-on-two situations. Williams buried a mid-range jumper and Aleks Maric added a close basket but the first quarter belonged to Brown, whose easy baskets in transition allowed Lokomotiv to get its first double-digit lead, 13-3. Renaldas Seibutis came off the bench and found his first points and Stevan Jelovac added a basket, but Williams kept finding Brown for easy points and, with the help of an outstanding Sergey Bykov, allowed Lokomotiv stay way ahead, 17-7. A three-point play by Glyniadakis brought the guests a bit closer, 19-10, after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Hosts reach the break with double-digit edge
Songaila and Renaldas Seibutis allowed Rytas to get even closer, 21-15, early in the second quarter. Andreas Glyniadakis scored down low, but a couple of driving layups by Mantas Kalnietis and consecutive fast break baskets by Brown caused Rytas to call timeout at 31-19. Songaila scored in the paint and soon added free throws to get his team closer, 31-23. Hendrix buried a five-meter jumper and free throws by Max Grigoryev restored a 35-23 margin. Gecevicius split foul shots, but a backdoor layup by Hendrix made it a 13-point game. Gecevicius did not miss from the foul line and Songaila soon got Rytas a bit closer. Hendrix took over with a one-handed alley-oop slam for a 39-27 Lokomotiv margin at halftime.
Third quarter: Lokomotiv extends comfortable lead
Simon shined with a three-point play right after the break, as Rytas kept struggling to score. The guests were held scoreless for more than two minutes until Songaila scored around the basket. Gecevicius soon added a corner triple and followed it with a fast break layup before Lokomotiv called timeout at 42-34. Williams made free throws and Lokomotiv regrouped on defense. Bykov shined with a driving layup and Brown soon made it a 14-point game. Rytas tried to change things by getting Songaila involve,d but he was double-teamed on every offense. Kalnietis split free throws and an alley-oop layup by Hendrix broke the game open, 51-34, after a 9-0 run. Rytas, now with Milenko Tepic at point guard, was scoreless for more than five minutes until Jelovac split free throws and struck from downtown. Brown scored down low. Tepic nailed a triple. Brown starred with yet another high-flying slam to give his team a 55-41 margin through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Loko closes it out with time to spare
Brown fed Hendrix for an easy layup, but he missed the free throw that came with it. Hendrix soon added a huge alley-oop slam that forced Coach Dirk Bauermann to call timeout at 59-41 with over eight minutes left. Omar Cook tried to ignite the guests' comeback with a layup-plus-foul - his first points - and he improved on Kalnietis's free throws with a three-pointer that bounced around the rim before going in to bring his team within 61-47 midway through the fourth quarter. Lokomotiv had started to use long possessions to run the game clock down. A put-back basket by an outstanding Hendrix sealed the outcome, 64-49, with three minutes to go. Rytas could not recover, as Lokomotiv stayed focused in the final minutes and found little trouble cruising to its first-ever Euroleague home win.
Thursday, October 24, 2013