Baskonia downs Zalgiris for fifth straight home win
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz gained its fifth successive home win by holding off Zalgiris Kaunas 80-73 at Fernando Buesa Arena. The result kept Baskonia in the top half of the standings with a 12-12 record, while Zalgiris’s playoffs dreams are hanging by a thread at 9-15. Baskonia was paced by an outstanding all-round display from Shavon Shields, who combined 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Luca Vildoza netted 16 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, while big men Vincent Poirier and Johannes Voigtmann both scored 13 points and Marcelinho Huertas had 11 points and 7 assists. Brandon Davies scored 13 points for Zalgiris, which battled hard, but fell behind for good midway through the second quarter and has now lost five in a row on the road.
Poirier and Davies started the scoring, before an alley-oop dunk by Voigtmann and a three-pointer-and-foul by Vildoza sent Baskonia ahead 10-5. Edgaras Ulanovas beat the buzzer from deep to cut the deficit, but Shields scored free throws and a driving layup to keep the home team ahead and Matt Janning beat the first-quarter buzzer from long-range for a 17-12 edge. Thomas Walkup and Davies scored coast-to-coast layups as Zalgiris surged in front, followed by a baby hook from Deon Thompson to complete a 0-8 run for a 17-20 lead. Huertas knocked down a three, Poirier scored twice from mid-range, Darrun Hilliard laid up and Shields dunked as Baskonia ran wild. Consecutive alley-oops from Poirier and Voigtmann completed a 15-0 run. Shields continued his blitz with a three-pointer and Baskonia led 40-25 at the break. Davies and Ulanovas brought Zalgiris closer at the start of the third, before Thompson, Walkup and Marius Grigonis all scored in a 2-12 burst, making it 42-37. Triples from Hilliard, Vildoza and Voigtmann settled Baskonia and Voigtmann again struck from deep for a 59-52 lead at the end of the third. A three-pointer from Arturas Milaknis gave Zalgiris fresh hope early in the final period, but Vildoza struck from downtown twice to restore Baskonia's double-digit lead. Defenses were on top in the latter stages, but another Vildoza triple sealed the deal.
Zalgiris suffers early shooting woes
Five of Zalgiris's 12 points in the first quarter came from the foul line. Only two players – Brandon Davies and Edgaras Ulanovas – converted field goals during the opening 10 minutes, which saw the visiting team make just 3 of 12 attempts (25%) from the field.
Second-quarter blast propels Baskonia
The game was finely balanced midway through the second quarter as both teams struggled to score, but then Baskonia blasted the game wide open with a crazy 15-0 run in the space of just 3 and a half minutes.
Zalgiris fightback not enough
The visiting team certainly didn't give up, though, and whatever Sarunas Jasikevicius said in the locker room during the halftime interval certainly worked. His team netted the first three baskets of the second half and then continued to score at will to complete a 3-14 run in 4 minutes, narrowing the gap to 4 points. But Zalgiris couldn't get any closer as Baskonia pulled away again.
Baskonia is at home again in Round 25, receiving a visit from Khimki Moscow Region, while Zalgiris returns to Lithuania to welcome Herbalife Gran Canaria.
Thursday, February 28, 2019