Power Electronics Valencia 73-59 Zalgiris Kaunas
Power Electronics Valencia had an outstanding return to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 by downing Zalgiris 73-59 at home in Group H on Wednesday. Valencia, that last played the Top 16 in its only previous Euroleague appearance in the 2003-04 season, was the first team to register a win in this group. Zalgiris has the chance to bounce back, as it plays 3 of the next 4 games at home. Dusko Savanovic paced the winners with 20 points. Victor Claver added 14 while Serhiy Lishchuk pulled down 12 rebounds for Valencia. Martynas Pocius led Zalgiris with 9 points. A three-pointer by DeJuan Collins allowed Zalgiris to get a 20-21 edge after 10 minutes. Savanovic, Lishchuk and an unstoppable Claver stepped up right after that to make Valencia get a 39-31 halftime margin. Zalgiris trailed all the way since that moment but a nine-meter bomb by a recovered Marcus Brown brought the guests within 64-60 after 30 minutes. Savanovic and Lishchuk took over early in the fourth quarter, leading an 11-0 run that sealed the outcome minutes before the final buzzer.
Savanovic got Valencia going with a driving layup that Martynas Pocius matched with a six-meter jumper. Claver provided a highlight with a wild dunk but free throws by Omar Samhan tied it at 4-4. Valencia tried to get its big men involved early but Travis Watson and Tadas Klimavicius managed to lock the defensive board in the opening minutes. Meanwhile, a three-pointer by Arturas Milaknis gave the guests a 4-7 lead. Javtokas scored in transition but Pocius hit a jumper off a timeout. Savanovic answered from downtown to tie it at 9-9. Watson found his first points on a backdoor layup and Paulius Jankunas added a power basket that restored a 9-13 Zalgiris lead. Savanovic kept pacing Valencia with a three-point play that Tomas Delininkaitis erased with a triple. Claver made free throws and added a jump hook but a fallaway jumper by Jankunas gave the guests some fresh air, 16-18. Lishchuk shined with a tip-in and Nando De Colo added foul shots but a three-pointer by Collins put the guests back ahead, 20-21, after 10 minutes.
Lishchuk stepped up with an acrobatic basket early in the second quarter but Watson matched it with free throws. Valencia tried a bigger lineup with Florent Pietrus at small forward but Zalgiris kept running its offense through Watson. Rafa Martinez found his first points on a driving layup to tie the game at 24-24. De Colo hit free throws, as Zalgiris coach Ilias Zouros changed his game plan with a stronger lineup featuring Jankunas and Boban Marjanovic around the baskets. Saulius Kuzminskas shined with a floating lineup that Omar Cook bettered with a bomb from downtown, good for a 29-26 Zalgiris edge. Kuzminskas joined the three-point shootout but Claver and Savanovic also downed one each from beyond the line to make Zalgiris stop the game at 35-29. Pocius rescued Zalgiris with a six-meter shot but Javtokas matched it with a close basket. Claver used his size to score in the low post and give Valencia a 39-31 margin at halftime.
Collins sank a jumper immediately after the break and Klimavicius added a turnaround jumper to get Zalgiris within 39-35. Martinez buried a three-pointer but Klimavicius hit free throws to keep Zalgiris alive. Javtokas took over with a hook shot and Martinez scored again but an unstoppable Klimavicius singlehandedly got Zalgiris within 46-39. Delininkaitis buried a second-chance triple that Claver quickly matched in the other end. Watson split foul shots, as Zalgiris raised its intensity level in defense. Lishchuk fought hard in the paint for a power layup but Mantas Kalnietis erased it with a long jumper. Valencia tried twin point guards with De Colo and Cook together on court to improve its ball circulation when Zalgiris reached the foul bonus. De Colo made free throws to give the hosts a 54-45 margin. Jankunas nailed a catch-and-shoot jumper and Brown beat the buzzer with a nine-meter bomb to get Zalgiris as close as 54-50 after 30 minutes.
Savanovic buried an uncontested three-pointer early in the fourth quarter but Jankunas took over with a put-back basket for a 57-52 Zalgiris deficit. Valencia tried to slow down the game tempo to find better shots down the stretch. Cook sank a big triple and fed Savanovic for a fast break layup that gave Valencia its first double-digit lead, 62-52, making Zalgiris call a much-needed timeout. Valencia was all over the game in defense and free throws by an outstanding Savanovic broke the game open, 64-52. Zalgiris kept struggling to score right when it mattered, committing too many turnovers. Meanwhile, Lishchuk made foul shots to seal the outcome, 66-52, with under 4 minutes left. Valencia kept collecting steals and Savanovic capped an 11-0 run with a mid-range jumper. Klimavicius silenced the crowd with a wild alleyoop dunk but it was already too little, too late for Zalgiris, as Valencia had already cruised to a very convincing home win.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011