Lietkabelis overcomes Joventut for first home win
Lietkabelis Panevezys gained its first home win of the 7DAYS EuroCup season by downing Joventut Badalona 87-77 on Wednesday night after leading from start to finish. Strong defense gave Lietkabelis an early advantage, and the host was able to stay ahead, 41-37, at the interval. The lead grew to double digits early in the third and Lietkabelis never looked like losing. Nikola Radicevic led the home team’s offense with 12 points and 9 assists, while Panagiotis Kalaitzakis top scored with 16 points and Vytenis Lipkevicius added 14. Pau Ribas paced Joventut with 15 points while Brandon Paul and Guillem Vives both scored 11. Lietkabelis improves to 3-3 while Joventut drops to 4-2.
Gabrielius Maldunas scored 6 early points to send Lietkabelis ahead, but Joventut responded through 5 points from Pau Ribas including a triple for the first Joventut lead, 6-7. Lipkevicius struck the home team’s first triple and soon added another for a 12-10 advantage. Kalaitzakis added a floater in an 8-0 run to make it 17-10. Paul’s triple snapped that run, and it was 20-13 after ten minutes. Paul made another three-pointer to start the second quarter and Vives added a transition layup, before Paul stayed hot with a layup. Derek Willis and Vives also hit from deep to tie it up, 26-26, before Djordje Gagic and Ante Tomic exchanged close-range scores. Kalaitzakis and Kristupas Zemaitis got Lietkabelis back in front, followed by 4 points from Dovydas Giedraitis for a 38-32 lead. Paul made another three-pointer but Zemaitis answered with his own, and it was 41-37 at the interval.
Willis opened the second half with a triple but that was bettered by a two-pointer from Maldunas and a triple from Lipkevicius, before Radicevic added a pair of jumpers for a 50-40 lead after a 9-0 run. Tomic got Joventut moving again, but Gagic dunked before Kalaitzakis and Radicevic added layups for a 57-46 lead. Ribas hit a three but Zamaitis beat the buzzer with a steal and score to give Lietkabelis a 61-49 lead after three quarters. Kaspars Berzins and Ferran Bassas traded triples early in the third, and Gedminas Orelik also scored from long range before adding a transition layup for a 72-56 lead midway through the fourth. Orelik hit another threeball and Joventut struggled to score anything other than free throws until Vives and Pep Busquets scored from deep to make it 77-68 with three minutes left. Radicevic and Gagic ensured the visitors didn’t get too close, as Lietkabelis secured a big win.
Radicevic leads winning offense
Joventut came into the game with the best defensive record in the competition, allowing just 65.4 points per game, but Lietkabelis was quickly able to enjoy a very effective evening on offense by scoring 20 points in the first quarter and maintaining a similar pace throughout. A big reason was a sparkling individual performance from point guard Nikola Radicevic, who delivered 12 points and 9 assists, many of which were highlight reel plays. The consistency of Lietkabelis’s scoring throughout the game ensured that Joventut was never able to get into the lead.
Free throws boost Lietkabelis
In a closely contested first half, Joventut did not help its hopes of getting into the lead by missing 5 of its first 6 free throws. The visitors improved somewhat but still only finished with 10-of-17 conversions from the foul line. Lietkabelis, meanwhile, was regularly able to get to the foul line with aggressive offense, attacking the basket to draw a lot of shooting fouls. The hosts generally made the most of those opportunities, sinking 21 of its 28 free throw attempts to protect its lead.
Lietkabelis defense clamps down
Joventut suffered offensively in early stages, committing 5 turnovers in the first quarter. And the visiting team’s offense struggled to find fluidity throughout the night as Lietkabelis defended with intensity and focus. Joventut ended the game with 17 turnovers and 16 assists. The visiting team was also not allowed good looks at the basket, converting 14 of only 25 two-point attempts and often forced into long-range shooting, making 13 of 31 three-point attempts. It also helped the hosts to win the rebounding battle, 35 to 27.
Wednesday, December 8, 2021