2012-13Regular SeasonRound 7
November 23, 2012 CET: 18:45
Local time: 19:45 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Zalgiris downs Laboral to clinch Top 16 spot

Zalgiris Kaunas became the first team to make it to the Top 16 from Group C by trouncing Caja Laboral Vitoria 82-45 in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,310 fans at Zalgirio Arena on Friday. Zalgiris improved to 6-1 and remains atop the group. Laboral dropped to 1-6 and must been EA7 Emporio Armani Milan next week to keep its slim Top 16 chances alive. Zalgiris’s defensive effort resulted in Laboral’s lowest score ever in Euroleague history; its previous low was 52 points against AEK Athens on January 17, 2001. Marko Popovic paced the winners with 19 points, Darjus Lavrinovic and Mindaugas Kuzminskas each added 13 and Ibby Jaaber had 12 for Zalgiris. Fabien Causeur and Andres Nocioni led Laboral with 10 points apiece. Back-to-back triples by Nocioni kept Laboral within 9-8 midway through the first quarter. It didn't last long, as Zalgiris's second unit led the hosts to a 22-15 advantage after 10 minutes. An outstanding Popovic and great team defense helped Zalgiris to 43-24 at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Zalgiris kept a safe lead all the way until the final buzzer, giving their fans plenty of time to celebrate a historic win.

First quarter: Strong defense puts Zalgiris ahead

Jaaber got Zalgiris going with a one-handed jumper in the lane and Paulius Jankunas struck from downtown for a 5-0 lead. Laboral was held scoreless for more than two minutes until Maciej Lampe buried a five-meter shot. The guests entered the foul penalty early in the first quarter, forcing Coach Zan Tabak to change his strategy. Darjus Lavrinovic split free throws and a three-pointer by Nocioni brought Laboral within 6-5. Jaaber answered with his own triple, but Nocioni insisted from downtown for a 9-8 score. Darjus Lavrinovic ignited the crowd with a dunk-and-foul, as Zalgiris kept powering the offensive board. Causeur shined with a fast break basket, but Rimantas Kaukenas took over with a coast-to-coast layup and soon found Oliver Lafayette for a 16-10 lead, forcing Laboral to call timeout. Tibor Pleiss made free throws only to see Lafayette and Jeff Foote make it an 8-point game. Zalgiris kept excelling on defense while Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored down low for a 22-12 lead. Causeur nailed a corner triple to get to 22-15 after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Popovic, Zalgiris soar

Kuzminskas scored off an inbound pass, but Pleiss banked in a mid-range shot and Fernando San Emeterio struck from downtown to bring Laboral within 24-20. Zalgiris struggled to score as the guests had improved their overall aggressiveness on defense. Zalgiris brought Vytenis Lipkevicius off the bench to guard San Emeterio in a three-guard lineup that also featured Marko Popovic and Lafayette. Popovic beat the shot clock buzzer with a five-meter jumper and a three-point play by Lafayette gave Zalgiris some fresh air at 29-20. Ksistof Lavrinovic split free throws, as Laboral could not find a go-to guy. Popovic nailed one from downtown to cap a 9-0 run, before Milko Bjelica stepped up with a baseline jumper. Popovic made free throws and a layup by Darjus Lavrinovic broke the game open, 37-22. Popovic buried another three-pointer before Pleiss dunked. A free throw by Jankunas followed by a baseline jumper by Foote fixed the halftime score at 43-24.

Third quarter: Hosts seal the outcome in style

Popovic nailed a rainbow jumper immediately after the break, as Laboral tried to use short possessions to speed up the game tempo. Lampe tried to change things with a close basket, which Darjus Lavrinovic bettered with a three-pointer for a 48-26 score. Taylor Rochestie split free throws and a running jumper by Jaaber gave Zalgiris a new highest margin, 50-27. Lampe made foul shots, which Popovic bettered with another shot from downtown. Tremmell Darden nailed a five-meter jumper. The hosts entered the foul penalty, allowing Laboral to attack the basket. Bjelica and Causeur made free throws, but Zalgiris did not panic. Causeur scored in penetration, as Laboral improved its ball circulation with Carlos Cabezas on the floor. Foote beat the shot clock with a layup and Darjus Lavrinovic added a mid-range jumper for a 59-33 score at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth quarter: Zalgiris crowd celebrates historic win

The outcome was clear, but Laboral did not give up, trying to improve its offense in the final 10 minutes. Causeur scored in transition, as Zalgiris kept using long possessions to run the game clock down. Laboral tried a more dynamic lineup with Nocioni at power forward. Cabezas hit free throws, but a three-pointer by Popovic brough the crowd to its feet at 62-37. Nocioni shined with a layup off a timeout and matched Darjus Lavrinovic's easy basket with free throws for a 64-41 deficit. Zalgiris kept playing with high intensity, as Jankunas and Popovic made free throws and Jaaber scored in penetration for a 68-41 lead. Jaaber struck from downtown and by the time Kuzminskas added a fast break layup, the Zalgiris fans were dancing in the stands and celebrating that their team will keep fighting for Euroleague glory!

Mindaugas Kuzminskas - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB12
Friday, November 23, 2012
Euroleague.net
Referees: LAMONICA, LUIGI (ITA), ANKARALI, RECEP (TUR), KOWALSKI, MARCIN (POL)
Attendance: 15110 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas22211623
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria159912
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas22435982
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria15243345
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 DARDEN, TREMMELL 16:51 2 1/3       5 5   1 1   1   1 5
5 JAABER, IBRAHIM 23:15 12 3/4 2/3     4 4 3 1 2     2 1 15
6 POPOVIC, MARKO 26:32 19 2/4 4/8 3/4 1   1 1 2 1   1 2 3 15
7 LAVRINOVIC, DARJUS 23:32 13 4/6 1/2 2/3 1 2 3 2 1 2     2 6 17
10 LIPKEVICIUS, VYTENIS 12:49   0/2     2 3 5           2   1
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 22:42 5 0/2 1/2 2/4 1 5 6   1 2     2 5 8
17 DELAS, MARIO 3:47   0/2 0/1   2   2 3 1       1   2
19 KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS 13:16 13 6/10 0/2 1/2 2 2 4 1 2 1     2 2 12
20 LAFAYETTE, OLIVER 17:12 7 2/3 0/2 3/5 2   2 1           3 8
21 KAUKENAS, RIMANTAS 10:05 2 1/7     3   3 2 3 2   2 4   -4
31 FOOTE, JEFF 14:47 8 4/4     2 1 3   1 2     3   7
33 LAVRINOVIC, KSISTOF 15:12 1   0/2 1/2 2 1 3 1 1 1     2 3 3
Team           5 3 8               8
Totals 200:00 82 23/47 8/22 12/20 23 26 49 14 14 14 0 4 22 24 97
        48.9% 36.4% 60%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 NOCIONI, ANDRES 22:42 10 1/1 2/6 2/2   3 3 2   2     5 2 6
10 ROCHESTIE, TAYLOR 10:48 1   0/1 1/2       1 2 1     2 1  
11 BJELICA, MILKO 22:01 4 1/7 0/1 2/2 1 2 3 1   1     1 6 5
16 CABEZAS, CARLOS 10:11 2   0/1 2/2           1       1 1
19 SAN EMETERIO, FERNANDO 27:46 3 0/1 1/3   1 1 2 4 1 4     3 1 1
21 PLEISS, TIBOR 21:22 6 2/4   2/2   3 3   1   3   3 2 10
22 HEURTEL, THOMAS 19:01 2 1/1     1 1 2 2   4     2 2 2
24 OLESON, BRAD 18:30 2 1/1 0/2             1     3 1 -3
30 LAMPE, MACIEJ 18:18 5 2/6 0/1 1/2 1 3 4     2 1   3 2 1
55 CAUSEUR, FABIEN 29:21 10 3/3 1/4 1/4   1 1 2   4     2 4 5
Team           2 3 5     1     1   3
Totals 200:00 45 11/24 4/19 11/16 6 17 23 12 4 21 4 0 25 22 31
        45.8% 21.1% 68.8%
Head coach: TABAK, ZAN

Head Coaches

PLAZA, JOAN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"I would like to congratulate everybody with this victory. From the first game we were in first place in our group and nobody believed in us. But finally we are showing the Euroleague that a new style is possible – with aggressive defense, ambition and giving everything on the court. But this isn’t enough. It’s only a buildup for the Top 16. We want our fans to push us further every week. We need that also because some of our players are fighting through injuries. It’s not an excuse, but Rimantas Kaukenas had surgery last Friday. Surgery! And he played today, was giving his all and even took offensive rebounds in the last minute. I am proud to be coaching this group of players."
TABAK, ZAN
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
"From the first minute we weren’t able to cope with Zalgiris’s aggressive defense. My team has two big problems – mental and physical. Physical problems we can solve quite quickly, but mentally we really need to do a big job. We could find 1,000 tactical reasons for this loss, but it’s not the main thing. We lost our confidence and our self-esteem is very low. We need to start everything all over again. "

Players

LAVRINOVIC, DARJUS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It was a hard game. Maybe it doesn’t look like that looking at the score, but it was a tough one. This result is the evidence of our hard work. We didn’t allow them to score 50 points. That means our defense was good. Everybody was fighting, playing a team game and we achieved a great win. Caja Laboral wasn’t lucky at times. I’m sure they will get better in the future."
CAUSEUR, FABIEN
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria
"We had a very bad game. We tried to play hard in the beginning… But we need to work even more, because a lot of things have changed. We have a new coach, so this means we have to learn new rules. We have to get up, because we have a [Spanish league] game in two days against Unicaja and we have to win there. Zalgiris was very aggressive and we made a lot of turnovers, they get 25 or more rebounds. Personally I didn’t play a good game, I lost a lot of balls, I tried to play with energy, but it was not enough, but as I said. We have to learn to play more as a team, not as individual players. The coaching change didn’t do anything bad, he’s trying to help us."