Zalgiris cruises past Nizhny
Zalgiris Kaunas registered its first win in Group A by overwhelming Nizhny Novgorod 97-63 at home on Friday. Both teams are now tied in Group A, each with a 1-1 record. Paulius Jankunas led the winners with 13 points. Robertas Javtokas, Darius Songaila and James Anderson each added 12, Vaidas Kariniauskas got 11 while Arturas Gudaitis had 10 for Zalgiris. The 97 points scored marked the most in a regulation game in Zalgiris history. A mid-range jumper by Tarence Kinsey gave Nizhny its last lead, 4-5. An 8-0 run that Kariniauskas capped with a layup put Zalgiris ahead for good, 12-5. Nizhny got within 19-17 on a layup by Will Daniels but Javtokas and Jankunas fueled a mammoth 19-2 run that broke the game open, 38-19, late in the first half. Back-to-back three-point plays by Jankunas and consecutive baskets by Javtokas gave Zalgiris a 48-24 edge at halftime. Kinsey and Trey Thompkins managed to bring Nizhny within 52-38 soon after the break, but an outstanding Vytenis Lipkevicius led a 23-2 run that sealed the outcome, 75-40, late in the third quarter. Nothing changed in the final 10 minutes, as Zalgiris had plenty of time to celebrate a big win.
First quarter: Zalgiris starts strong
Anderson got Zalgiris going with a driving layup, but Art Parakhouski split free throws and added a big basket in the low post for a 2-3 Nizhny edge. Jankunas shined with a driving layup that Tarence Kinsey matched with a mid-range jumper. Anderson continued pushing Zalgiris with another basket and Arturas Gudaitis added a put-back layup for an 8-5 lead. Darius Songaila hit a jumper that Vaidas Kariniauskas followed with a layup off a steal for a 7-points Zalgiris lead after an 8-0 run. Parakhouski scored around the basket, but Anderson did better with a three-pointer. After Kinsey split free throws, Songaila scored again. A three-pointer by Trey Thompkins gave Nizhny hope at 17-11. Will Daniels made foul shots and Taylor Rochestie erased Javtokas's basket with a floating jumper. Daniels shined with a backdoor layup, but a driving basket by Arturas Milaknis and a jump hook by Songaila gave Zalgiris a 23-17 margin after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: With improved defense, hosts break game open
Both teams struggled to score early in the quarter until Javtokas took over with his trademark old-school hook shot. Javtokas kept pacing Zalgiris with free throws that made it a double-digit game, 27-17. After Rochestie banked in a fallaway jumper, Gudaitis split free throws and a three-pointer by Jankunas ignited the crowd at 31-19. Jankunas scored in the low post to force Nizhny to call timeout at 33-19. The guests kept struggling to score and a two-handed dunk by Gudaitis broke the game open, 35-19. Edgaras Ulanovas split free throws and a driving layup by Kariniauskas made it a 19-point game after an 11-0 run. Nizhny was held scoreless for five minutes until Dimitriy Khvostov hit a mid-range jumper. Vladimir Ivlev scored down low, but back-to-back three-point plays by Jankunas boosted the hosts' lead to 44-23. Javtokas singlehandedly gave Zalgiris a 48-24 halftime margin.
Third quarter: Nihzny tries, Zalgiris rolls
Parakhouski made free throws immediately after the break and soon added a mid-range jumper to trim the Nizhny deficit to 20. Rochestie struck from downtown and make Zalgirised call timeout at 48-31. Kinsey scored off a steal that capped a 0-9 Nizhny run. Kariniauskas stepped up for Zalgiris with a three-pointer and Anderson dunked off the baseline to keep Zalgiris out of trouble at 52-33. Kinsey scored again and a three-pointer by Thompkins brought Nizhny a bit closer, 52-38. Anderson stayed on fire with a three-point play and a layup by Songaila restored Zalgiris’s control. Lukas Lekavicius swished a mid-range shot and Lipkevicius followed a bomb from downtown with a layup-plus-foul that seemed to seal the outcome at 65-38. Lipkevicius scored in penetration and a free throw by Milaknis made it a 30-point game. Javtokas and Milaknis boosted the hosts' lead to 75-42.
Fourth quarter: Celebrations start early
Everything was essentially settled already, but both teams kept fighting for points. Rochestie sank a jumper and a layup by Ivan Savelyev brought Nizhny within 75-46. Lekavicius answered with a three-point play, but Daniels scored again. A free throw by Lipkevicius restored a 79-48 Zalgiris lead. The hosts had started to use longer possessions to run the game clock down. Gudaitis and Khvostov exchanged free throws and a triple by Rochestie got Nizhny a bit closer, 82-53. After a Gudaitis dunk, Rochestie hit an acrobatic shot and Ivlev added a follow-up layup, but it was already too little, too late for the guests. Nizhny suffered its first-ever Euroleague loss, while the Zalgiris fans celebrated a very important home win.
Friday, October 24, 2014