Credit: Mikhail Serbin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Image
Credit Mikhail Serbin/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Image

Reigning VTB champs CSKA Moscow (5-2) got away from Krasnodar with an important win, downing hosts Lokomotiv Kuban (4-3) 88-69 (25-18, 19-17, 22-19, 22-15).

2-pointers this season

Points made: 23,8
Accuracy: 54,6%
Place in standings: 3
Record max: 28
Record min: 20
Most made 2FGs: Johnathan Motley

Alexey Shved paved the way with four three-point shots in the first half and 17 points overall, while Iffe Lundberg and Nikola Milutinov followed with 13 and 12, respectively.

One of the traditional VTB derbies featured this season's best offense (Loko with 94.2 points) going up against the league's best defense (CSKA with 63.8 points conceded). Ultimately, the "Army Team" managed to lock their opponents down, allowing just 35 points in the first half and another 34 in the second.

The hosts were coming off an 18-day hibernation period, as their last official game was on November 16, while CSKA had played 4 EuroLeague games since then. However, Loko did not remain completely without game rhythm. Last weekend Krasnodar players got friendly matches with Tofas and Bahcesehir, losing in the first and winning in the second.

The first half turned into an Alexey Shved - Johnathan Motley showdown. CSKA controlled the game fully in the first half, going 8/20 from downtown. 

Shved, who was "hot" in CSKA's comfortable win vs Panathinaikos last Thursday night, made his intentions clear right from the start scoring 12 points on 4/5 three-pointers.

Lokomotiv were joined for the first time by two-time NBA champ Quinn Cook, who didn't score much (2 points) but dished out 4 assists. In the game vs Tofas, Cook spent 19 minutes on the court, scoring 18 points, making 6 of his 7 shots from the field. However, this time things turned out differently.

Johnathan Motley poured 10 and 4 in a row to cut down the deficit to seven (29-36). CSKA reacted again, finding and hitting open shots from the perimeter.

Shved scored against from distance halfway through the third quarter, allowing his team to consolidate a double-digit lead that reached the 17-point mark (64-47). Whenever Loko were getting closer, CSKA had the answers, either by trusting the ball to Milutinov's hands or relying on their strong backcourt.

The Serbian center won almost every battle against Motley and Williams in the second half, racking up a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds).

The eight-time EuroLeague champs kept the distance from Pashutin's men, despite consecutive points by McCollum in the fourth quarter (63-72).

Itoudis called a time-out, Milutinov scored at the buzzer and Antonov dunked in transition. Once again, CSKA issued a response, putting an end to Loko's hopes.

The game held a special significance for CSKA forward Nikita Kurbanow who became the VTB leader in total games played.

Lokomotiv Kuban: Johnathan Motley 20 (8/13 FG, 4/5 FT, 5 REB, 3 AST, 5 TO, 3 BLK), Errick McCollum 17 (6/13 FG, 5/7 FT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 2 TO, 3 ST), Zakhar Vedishchev 8, Alan Williams 4 (9 REB, 6 TO).

CSKA Moscow: Alexey Shved 17 (5/10 FG, 5/8 3-PT SHOTS, 3 REB, 7 AST, 2 TO, 2 ST), Iffe Lundberg 13 (4/11 FG, 2 REB, 5 AST, 2 ST), Nikola Milutinov 12 (10 REB), Marius Grigonis 11 (6 TO), Semen Antonov 9 (4 REB), Joel Bolomboy 7.

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