Lokomotiv Kuban end on a high, top Laboral Kutxa in third place game

Malcolm Delaney
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

Lokomotiv Kuban ended their Euroleague season on a high by beating Laboral Kutxa 85-75 in the third placed consolation game at the Final Four in Berlin.

After leading 42-40 at half-time, Baskonia fell apart in the second half, missing open shots and showing no signs of inside aggressiveness allowing Kuban to make their move and give them enough breathing room to claim the win.

Malcolm Delaney and Ryan Broekhoff each posted 21 points for Lokomotiv Kuban.

“We wanted to win,” said Delaney. “Of course, we wanted to play in the other game tonight, but we still had to play. We lost four consecutive games coming into this one, so we wanted to win our last game.

“On Friday we did not play well, but we still only lost by seven points, and it was one of our worst games of the season. I think people respect us. We came out today, we played well, we played our style and everybody contributed. So, it was good to go out like this.”

Darius Adams led all scorers with 25 points in vain for Laboral Kutxa.

“We started the game good,” explained Laboral Kutxa coach Velimir Perasovic.

“We played with speed and energy, but in the third quarter the team went down. We lost a lot of balls and we couldn’t get back. They went up 10 points and it was over there because we didn’t have the energy to get back into the game. We tried, but we didn’t have the power to play a good game.”

A three-pointer from Davis Bertans gave Baskonia a 10-4 lead only for Lokomotiv to respond with a 6-0 run to tie the game with a triple from Sergey Bykov.

And thanks to the duo of Chris Singleton and Delaney, Kuban ended the period with a 7-2 finish, and led 20-16 after the first quarter.

Kuban’s momentum was quickly shifted to start the second quarter as Baskonia started with an 8-0 spurt to lead 24-20, highlighted by a three from Alberto Corbacho.

The lead was traded as both sides wrestled for control but by the half, nifty play from Adams and scores from Bertans ensured that the Liga Endesa side led 42-40 at the half.

That lead though was taken back by Lokomotiv as they went on an 11-0 run, keeping their opponents scoreless for nearly three minutes. Mike James ended the run by slashing to the hoop for the easy score but heading into the final quarter, Kuban led 61-53.

That advantage grew to start the fourth quarter as two triples from Matt Janning and Sergey Zubkov, along with a score again from Janning gave Lokomotiv a 69-53 lead, forcing coach Perasovic to call a timeout.

But the extra time to talk it over wasn’t enough, as Lokomotiv Kuban left Berlin with a victory to end the season.

But it didn’t stop the Laboral Kutxa fans from celebrating afterwards, they even got the Lokomotiv and Fenerbahce fans clapping and stomping to their beat.