Turk Telekom edges Lietkabelis to stay perfect at home
Turk Telekom Ankara remained undefeated at home and won back-to-back games for the first time this season by fighting off a tough Lietkabelis Panevezys effort 65-60 in Group A. With Henrik Rodl coaching his first game at the helm, Turk Telekom jumped out to an 11-point lead in the first quarter, but fell behind in the second. The game went back and forth before the hosts lost a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and eventually survived thanks to a clutch three-pointer from Anthony Clemmons and a layup by JaJuan Johnson in the final minute. Johnson scored 28 points with 7 rebounds to lead Turk Telekom, which improved to 5-3 and 4-0 at home. Clemmons chipped in 11 points and 4 assists and Alex Perez tallied 5 points and 11 assists. Lietkabelis dropped its fourth game out of its last five to fall to 3-5 despite Djordje Gagic and Panagiotis Kalaitzakis both scoring 11 points in the loss.
Gagic opened the scoring for the visitors, but Turk Telekom had a blistering start with Perez and Berk Demir both hitting three-pointers while Johnson scored 7 points in building a 15-4 cushion. After a timeout, Kaspars Berzins drained a triple and was answered from deep by Clemmons. Lietkabelis held Turk Telekom scoreless for nearly 6 minutes and Kalaitzakis tallied 6 points to trim the gap to 20-15 after 10 minutes.
Karolis Giedraitis’s free throw to start the second quarter trimmed the deficit to 4 points. Turk Telekom responded with the next 5 points to move ahead 25-16 as it took 4 minutes before Lietkabelis finally made its first basket - a Dovydas Giedraitis triple. Kristupas Zemaitis followed with a three-pointer of his own and jumper and Gediminas Orelik knotted the game at 27-27. Kalaitzakis added 3 free throws and Lietkabelis went back ahead for the first time since the opening basket 31-32 only to see Johnson’s dunk give Turk Telekom the lead, 33-32 at the break.
Vytenis Lipkevicius knocked down a three-pointer to start the second half and Zemaitis’s triple gave Lietkabelis a 35-38 advantage. Turk Telekom did a good job stopping Lietkabelis’ offense while Clemmons and Aubrey Dawkins hit three-pointers and Johnson scored 7 points in a 13-4 run to surge ahead 48-42. The score was 48-43 after 30 minutes.
Johnson continued his superb game with 3 more points and the lead was 53-43. Lietkabelis needed almost 2 minutes to score with Gagic’s free throws and Lipkevicius and Karolis Giedraitis followed with triples. Kalaitzakis evened the game again at 53-53. Dawkins finally got Turk Telekom out of its funk after nearly 5 minutes without a point as he buried a three-pointer. Johnson added a putback dunk and 2 free throws and the lead was 60-53 with 2 minutes to play. Lietkabelis was not done yet with Orelik draining a triple and Dovydas Giedraitis cutting it to 60-58 with 61 seconds left. Clemmons punched right back with a three-pointer of his own. At the other end, Gagic put back an offensive rebound to trim it to 3 with 23 seconds remaining. Johnson finished the game for good with an easy layin after a pass from Perez with 11 seconds left.
Johnson does his best Superman impression
With Turk Telekom Ankara missing both Octavius Ellis and Aaron Harrison, JaJuan Johnson took responsibility at the offensive end. He tied his career-high with 28 points by shooting 11-of-23 from the field and 6-of-8 from the foul line. His 23 attempts were 40.4% of Turk Telekom’s total attempts and 62.2% of the team’s two-point shots. He also grabbed 4 of the team’s 7 offensive rebounds and finished with a team-high 7 rebounds in the game. Johnson also chipped in 2 steals and 1 block and not a single turnover in nearly 35 minutes of play for an index rating of 27.
Turk Telekom holds Orelik in check
Turk Telekom did a good job of slowing down Lietkabelis’ main offensive weapon Gediminas Orelik. He came into the game averaging 16.7 points while also making 44.6% from three-point range. Against the Turkish side, Orelik made just 1 of 7 from long range and scored 8 points - though he did contribute in other ways with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. It was the second time in three games that the 31-year-old sharpshooter was silenced to just 8 points. His PIR of 14 was his third-lowest this season.
Turk Telekom shuts down shooters again
Gediminas Orelik was not the only shooter who struggled against Turk Telekom as Lietkabelis as a team made just 8 of 32 three-pointers for 25.0%. Turk Telekom has been good all season at limiting opposing teams’ three-point attack, giving up just 33.1% on opposing three-pointers - the sixth-best percentage in the competition. Lietkabelis once again struggled with its ball-handling, committing 16 turnovers - right in line with the 15.9 turnovers it averaged coming in - the third-most in the EuroCup. Lietkabelis did a good job limiting Turk Telekom’s offensive rebounds - just 7 for the hosts. The Lithuanian side was tied for the fewest allowed at just 7.3 per game. But JaJuan Johnson twice was able to get putback dunks as the hosts made sure to take advantage of those few offensive rebounds they did control.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021