Russia: Dynamo Minds Are On Final Four

04 April 2006

Dynamo St Petersburg coach Fotis Katsikaris admitted his players´ minds had partly been on the EuroCup Final Four as they struggled in the second half against Sibirtelekom-Lokomotiv Novosibirsk this weekend.

Dynamo managed to win the Superleague match 86-68 on the back of a strong performance in the first half.

However, they eased off after the break as thoughts turned to Friday's game BC Khimki.

"We played with desire from the start of the game. We were stable in defense and played with confidence," said Katsikaris.

"But I can´t hide that we´ve been thinking about the Final Four in Kiev.

"It wasn´t easy to force the players to play with the same desire and as quick as they did in the first half, but it´s excusable for them."

Katsikaris insisted he would not change things for the Final Four.

Melvin Booker (BC Khimki)
Melvin Booker led BC Khimki with 15 points
"My experience tells me it would be a big risk," he said.

"When you play in one style for the whole season and then start to change the system for such important games it may bring some unpleasant consequences."

BC Khimki also struggled to victory in their final Superleague game before the Final Four match up on Friday.

They beat UNICS Kazan 86-81 on Sunday, with the help of 22 points from Melvin Brooker and 19 from Alexander Petrenko.

Coach Sergei Elevic said: "We started the game badly. The players didn't execute the things they prepared in training.

"During the interval between the first and second half I asked the players to collect themselves and remember our training, especially concerning playing defense, and that helped us.

"The team could break the game and obtain a difficult and necessary win, thanks to our defense first of all."

He added: "It was important to win this game as we lost two previous games.

"I hope this success will add confidence to our players."

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