LeDay leads Zalgiris to first win
Zalgiris Kaunas registered its first win of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season by downing Real Madrid 86-73 in front of a sellout crowd of 15,109 at Zalgirio Arena on Thursday. Zalgiris improved to 1-2 in the standings, while Real dropped to 2-1. Zach LeDay led the winners with 26 points plus 9 rebounds. Nigel Hayes added 15 points, Marius Grigonis 13 and Edgaras Ulanovas scored 10 for Zalgiris. Anthony Randolph paced Real with 15 points. Hayes started the game on fire with 10 quick points, which allowed Zalgiris to take an 18-15 lead after 10 minutes. LeDay and Grigonis stepped up for the hosts after that to lead Zalgiris to a 38-34 halftime edge. Fabien Causeur and Randolph changed things after the break and a three-pointer by Facu Campazo gave Real its first lead, 47-48. The visitors extended their margin to 57-60 at the end of the third quarter, but Zalgiris improved its defense in the fourth quarter, while Ulanovas and an unstoppable LeDay made the difference in crunch time.
Hayes got Zalgiris going with a couple of three-pointers, a layup and a floater, good for a 10-2 Zalgiris lead. Randolph stepped up with a power layup and a triple, but Thomas Walkup and an unstoppable Hayes kept Zalgiris ahead, 14-7. Nico Laprovittola rescued Real with a floater and a three-pointer, but Ulanovas hit a jumper and LeDay dunked for an 18-15 Zalgiris edge after 10 minutes. LeDay and Paulius Jankunas each downed a jumper early in the second quarter, but Jordan Mickey kept Real close, 22-19. Grigonis followed a floater with a triple and got help from Jankunas to give the hosts a 29-21 lead. Jaycee Carroll struck from beyond the arc and a fastbreak layup by Gabriel Deck caused Zalgiris to call timeout at 33-28. Carroll scored in penetration and Rudy Fernandez made it a 1-point game. LeDay and a three-pointer by Jock Landale helped Zalgiris to a 38-34 edge at halftime.
Hayes swished his third bomb from downtown soon after the break and Grigonis added a driving layup, but Causeur singlehandedly brought Real within 43-38. Grigonis scored again and Landale added a huge dunk, but Real kept finding good shots at the other end. Jeffery Taylor and Campazzo each buried a triple and Causeur added a driving layup in a 0-10 run that gave Real its first lead, 47-50. Alex Perez rescued the hosts with a jumper and a three-pointer that gave Zalgiris a 55-52 edge. Randolph and Sergio Llull each struck from downtown to restore a 57-60 Real lead after 30 minutes. Campazzo scored in penetration early in the fourth quarter and Llull added a layup, but LeDay kept Zalgiris within 62-64 with over 7 minutes left. Jankunas hit a jumper, Randolph and LeDay exchanged three-pointers and a fastbreak layup by Grigonis gave Zalgiris the lead, 69-67. Walkup hit a jumper and got help from Grigonis and LeDay to make it 77-71. Ulanovas buried a critical three-pointer and soon added free throws to seal the outcome, 82-73, already in the final minute.
Zach LeDay did everything right for Zalgiris, providing intensity and accuracy at both ends. LeDay finished the game with 26 points off the bench on 9-of-12 two-point shooting plus 1-of-2 from downtown and making all of his 5 free throw attempts. He added 9 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block and 5 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 35. An all-around performance!
A three-pointer by Randolph gave Real its last lead, 64-67. LeDay quickly answered from downtown, Grigonis added a fast break layup and both of them went to the free-throw line to hit 2 apiece. By the time Ulanovas buried a long shot from downtown, the game was over, 80-73, after a 16-6 run.
Zalgiris heavily outrebounded Real 36-27, including 13 offensive boards. LeDay had 9 rebounds, more than Edy Tavares, Randolph, Deck and Felipe Reyes combined (6).
Did you notice?
With its opening basket - a three-pointer by Hayes - Zalgiris became the 10th club to reach the 30,000-point mark in EuroLeague history. Zalgiris had 29,9998 points entering Round 4. At that time, CSKA Moscow led the standings (38,425 points), followed by Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (37,277) and FC Barcelona (36,456).
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week. Real visits Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Thursday, October 24. A day later, Zalgiris hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Thursday, October 17, 2019