The 2017/2018 season is proving to be a good one for Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in both the VTB League and EuroCup. We’ll have to wait until both competitions wrap to see if the club can win them, but the Russian outfit did let slip an interesting record today. By losing at home to Avtodor Saratov, Lokomotiv was handed its first defeat in 27 games.
Yes, that is an amazing run and losing it is hardly going to busy Lokomotiv’s season. However, it is noteworthy that the team lost its first game since October when the contests are becoming more important. Surely fans would have been viewing this as a potentially historic season where the club could win the VTB League and EuroCup. Perhaps there is more doubt after this game?
After-all, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar still has to contend with CSKA Moscow (and others) in the VTB and the nature of knockout hoops in the EuroCup.
So, that’s the negative view after this 90-93 loss to Saratov, are there any positives? Plenty actually, so let’s look at them:
One loss does break a season: Well, at least not at this stage of a campaign. Yes, this loss will hurt because it snaps an amazing 26-0 (4 month) run, but it is still just a loss. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar still sits second in the standings, behind Unics Kazan, another club enjoying an excellent season. In other words, the club is still very much in the race for the VTB League regular season.
A good loss: There are certainly ways to lose. This was not a blowout performance from Avtodor Saratov. The visitors had to work hard and plunder 93 points against Lokomotiv to claim the win. In the contest, the hosts managed 90 points and were undone by one of Saratov’s best performances of the season. If clubs need 93 points to bear Lokomotiv from here, the club is a title contender for sure.
A continental front: While the VTB League form has been impressive, it is arguably in the EuroCup where Lokomotiv has done its best work this campaign. The club is the only team with a 100% record in the competition and is surely a team to watch for the trophy this season. With VTB playoffs to come and the latter EuroCup rounds, Lokomotiv will be playing a lot of knockout hoops. While nothing is certain in that format, the team has the kind of guile and fighting spirit needed in such games. While winning a VTB/EuroCup double might be a stretch, don’t bet against Lokomotiv claiming one of those cups.
And more importantly, there is certainly life after today’s Saratov loss.