Lietkabelis went away from bread and butter for shootout win

Jan 13, 2022 by Print
Lietkabelis went away from bread and butter for shootout win

Lietkabelis Panevezys found a different way to win on Wednesday as it set a club record for three-pointers while also getting drastically out-rebounded - going against how the Lithuanian club has played thus far this season.

Lietkabelis knocked down a club record 19 three-pointers in prevailing 96-89 in a shootout at home over Boulogne Metropolitans 92. Lietkabelis’s previous best from long range was 14 triples against Partizan NIS Belgrade in Round 5 earlier this season. It was also the seventh time in EuroCup history that a team has made 19 three-pointers - just 1 triple off the all-time competition record accomplished twice. Lietkabelis connected on 52.8% of its attempts for a new team record as well, besting the 52.0% from the Top 16 against ratiopharm Ulm in February 2017.

Dovydas Giedraitis hit 5 three-pointers in scoring 25 points while Kaspars Berzins also drained 5 triples for 19 points and Kristupas Zemaitis connected four times from deep in picking up 18 points. Giedraitis had scored just 14 points and made 2 three-pointers this season coming into the game and Berzins’s 5 triples matched his season output from long range thus far.

“We’re a shooting team. Sometimes we miss, sometimes we make them. When we make them we are so dangerous. The three-pointers led us to the win tonight,” Zemaitis said. “With some lucky shots, we survived this game.”

Lietkabelis head coach Nenad Canak knew why his team had grabbed the victory: “It’s obvious we won tonight because we shot incredibly … In a normal game, with normal percentage of shots, we wouldn’t win,” he said.

This was anything but a normal game for Lietkabelis.

Not only did the team shoot 19.9% better than its season average of 32.9% on three-pointers coming into the contest - ranking 15th in the EuroCup - but it also uncommonly struggled to rebound the ball.

Lietkabelis has been one of the premier rebounding teams in the competition, grabbing 6.7 boards more than its opponents per game while also being tied for the EuroCup lead with 12.6 offensive rebounds. Metropolitans, however, corralled 38 rebounds to just 23 for Lietkabelis, which also picked up only 8 offensive rebounds. And Metropolitans turned its 18 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points to just 7 for Lietkabelis.

“This is not my philosophy. Tonight we made all the shots but we must do a better job in other areas - we lost the rebounds by 15,” Canak said. “This is not how I want to win the games. It’s not possible to make [the three-pointers] continually.”

One other major fact to note is that Lietkabelis was playing without two key players, leading scorer Gediminas Orelik and Djordje Gagic, who ranks third in scoring for the team. In the first eight games the duo combined for 24.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 22.8 in performance index rating. Orelik also was Lietkabelis’s top three-point shooting threat, having hit 26 of the team’s 73 made three-pointers - or 35.6%.

But all of the team’s tendencies went out the window for this one for Canak. And lucky for him and Lietkabelis supporters, the team ended up getting the win.