Zalgiris's defense stops Baskonia
Zalgiris Kaunas grabbed its fourth win in its last five games by topping KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 60-74 at Fernando Buesa Arena on Thursday. Zalgiris improved to 10-15 in the standings while Baskonia dropped to 9-16. Edgaras Ulanovas led the winners with 15 points, Lukas Lekavicius added 13 and Zach LeDay had 11 for Zalgiris. Semaj Christon paced Baskonia with 17 points and Toko Shengelia added 12 for the hosts. Baskonia's led 35-30 at halftime, but Zalgiris limited the home team to 10 third-quarter points. Thomas Walkup and Lekavicius pushed the visitors to a 45-51 edge after 30 minutes and Zalgiris kept excelling on defense and sealed the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Shengelia got Baskonia going with a mid-range jumper and Shavon Shields dunked for a 4-0 lead. Arturas Milaknis struck from downtown and Ulanovas matched Michael Eric's layup with a power basket to keep Zalgiris within 6-5. Ulanovas soon added a floater to give the visitors their first lead, 6-7. Matt Janning struck from downtown and Ilimane Diop hit his trademark jumper from the elbow to give Baskonia fresh air at 11-7. Christon and Zoran Dragic stepped up for the hosts, getting help from Achille Polonara to boost their team's lead to 17-9. LeDay brought Zalgiris within 17-13 after 10 minutes. Diop and Lekavicius exchanged jumpers early in the second quarter. Youssoupha Fall added a layup, which caused Zalgiris to stop the game at 21-15. Nigel Hayes hit a turnaround jumper, igniting a 0-6 run that Ulanovas capped with a jump hook that tied it at 21-21. Christon downed a couple of three-pointers and fed Shengelia for a close basket to give Baskonia fresh air at 29-23. Ulanovas answered from beyond the arc and Martinas Geben dunked to keep the visitors close at 29-28. Christon scored again, Shields downed a jumper and Shengelia added a power layup that established a 35-30 Baskonia lead at halftime.
Lekavicius struck from beyond the arc and erased Shengelia's driving layup with a floater that brought Zalgiris within 37-35. He soon found LeDay for a jumper and Walkup added a triple that gave the visitors the lead, 39-40. LeDay joined the three-point shootout, but Shengelia tied the game at 43-43. Milaknis buried a circus shot and got help from Lekavicius and Walkup to give Zalgiris a 45-51 margin after 30 minutes. Hayes hit a mid-range jumper early in the fourth quarter and KC Rivers added a three-pointer that made it a double-digit game, 45-56. Christon tried to ignite Baskonia's comeback with a triple that Geben erased with a layup-plus-foul. Ulanovas sank a corner triple, but Polonara and Pierria Henry gave Baskonia hope, 53-62, with over 3 minutes left. Walkup beat the shot clock buzzer with a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 53-65, allowing dozens of Zalgiris fans in the stands to celebrate a convincing road win.
Edgaras Ulanovas always hit the right shot at the right time, making the difference in the second half. He finished the game with 15 points on 3-of-5 two-point shooting and 3-of-5 from downtown plus 7 rebounds - 5 on the offensive end, 1 steal and 3 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 15.
Toko Shengelia tied the game for Baskonia at 43-43 late in the third quarter. Arturas Milaknis beat the shot clock with a circus shot - his corner three-point shot touched the glass, but he got the ball back and put it in. That ignited a 2-13 run that KC Rivers capped with a bomb from downtown that gave Zalgiris its first double-digit lead, 45-56. The visitors had full control of the game from that moment until the final buzzer.
Zalgiris heavily outrebounded Baskonia 22-43, including 17 offensive boards. It was the second-best rebounding mark for Zalgiris this season - the Lithuanian champs pulled down 44 boards against ALBA Berlin on January 24. Additionally, Baskonia's 22 rebounds were its lowest mark at home in almost a decade. Its lowest (21) came against Zalgiris on November 10, 2010 and against Rytas Vilnius on March 5, 2008.
Did you notice?
A moment of silence took place before the game to honor the late Selver Dzigal, who passed away in Barcelona, Spain at age 36. Selver was a highly-respected member of the Euroleague Basketball Competitions Department, where he worked since 2007.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action next week. Baskonia hosts Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Thursday, February 27. Zalgiris welcomes AX Armani Exchange Milan the following evening.
Thursday, February 20, 2020