2020-21Regular SeasonRound 13
December 11, 2020 CET: 20:00
Local time: 21:00 OAKA

Zalgiris suffocates Greens to end losing streak

Zalgiris Kaunas snapped a six-game losing streak by holding off Panathinaikos OPA Athens 69-81 at OAKA on Friday night. The visitors, who hadn't seen a victory since October 29, took an early 8-17 lead behind triples by Marius Grigonis and Nigel Hayes and never trailed for the rest of the game. Even when the hosts managed to tie it 50-50, Zalgiris launched a 2-17 run bridging the last two quarters to put the game on ice and improved its record to 6-7. Marius Grigonis paced the winners with 24 points, making 6 of 8 three-pointers. He was followed by Nigel Hayes with 14 points and Rokas Jokubaitis with 10, all of his in the last quarter. Panathinaikos, who dropped to 4-8, had Nemanja Nedovic as its best scorer with 12 points. Georgios Papagiannis posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Shelvin Mack and Ioannis Papapetrou contributed 10 apiece for the losing side.

Joffrey Lauvergne got Zalgiris going with 6 points in a 4-8 opening run. Grigonis joined later to connect twice from downtown twice. Hayes added another long ball to raise the difference to 10-17 after 6 minutes. Konstantinos Mitoglou came to the rescue after a Panathinaikos timeout, but a three-pointer by Lukas Lekavicius, a layup by Grigonis and a buzzer-beating tip-in by Paulius Jankunas set a double-digit lead for the visitors, 12-24, after one quarter. Mack and Mitoglou reanimated the hosts early in the second, but timely triples from Thomas Walkup and Hayes aborted the rally and made it 18-30. Despite offensive rebounds providing the hosts with several extra possessions, Zalgiris retained a comfortable 31-43 advantage behind Grigonis's terrific scoring contribution from the perimeter. A pair of free throws by Papapetrou allowed Panathinaikos to reach halftime still breathing, 33-43. Back-to-back triples by Aaron White and Nedovic sparked a 8-0 Panathinaikos right after the break, prompting a Zalgiris timeout. The visitors remained scoreless for almost 4 minutes, but Panathinaikos was unable to cap the comeback, as Grigonis connected from downtown to end the drought and keep his team ahead 41-46. Mack would soon force a 50-50 tie, but Zalgiris didn't panic. Arturas Milaknis showed up with a well-timed bomb, Jankunas provided a tip-in and Augustine Rubit emerged inside to restore a 10-point gap, 50-60, entering the last quarter. Jokubaitis took over and made it even worse for the hosts with a corner three and a jumper to build a 52-67 Zalgiris lead with 7 minutes remaining. Howard Sant-Roos and Nedovic provided much-needed triples for Panathinaikos and Papagiannis dunked to keep Zalgiris in sight, but Jokubaitis calmed his team by scoring at 63-72. The hosts went to Papagiannis to close within 67-72, but that was the extent of their rally as Hayes made a three-point play, Grigonis drilled from deep and Rubit down free throws for what would be the definitive double-digit edge that sent the victory back to Kaunas.

One half for each

Zalgiris' top scorer Marius Grigonis was unstoppable in the first half, providing Zalgiris with 18 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting. He could not contribute the same way after the break, but he was perfectly replaced by Rokas Jokubaitis, who took over with a 10-point final quarter that prevented Panathinaikos from getting too close.

Game-changing moment

Even though struggling from long distance all game long, a three-pointer by Selvin Mack allowed PAO tie the game 50-50 late in the third quarter. Far from getting panicked, Zalgiris reacted in style and responded with a 0-10 run in the last 3 minutes to enter the last period with full trust.

Did you know?

Until Friday, Zalgiris Kaunas had a 1-13 record against Panathinaikos on the road. Zalgiris's previous only win in Athens came on October 26, 2018, when it clinched an 83-87 overtime victory behind 18 points from Brandon Davies.

Jankunas breaks record

More than 17 years after he debuted for his hometown team, Zalgiris Kaunas forward Paulius Jankunas has now appeared in more Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games than any player in history. Jankunas played his 354th game to surpass Felipe Reyes of Real Madrid, with whom he was tied, after the latter did not play in his team's home win against Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday.

Next games

Both Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Zalgiris Kaunas will play at home in Round 14 next week. The Greeks will face Real Madrid on Tuesday, December 15, while Zalgiris Kaunas will take on TD Systems Baskonia at the Zalgirio Arena the same day.

Marius Grigonis - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB20
Friday, December 11, 2020
Euroleague.net
Referees: HIERREZUELO, DANIEL; ROCHA, FERNANDO; DIFALLAH, MEHDI
Attendance: 0
By Quarter1234
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens12211719
Zalgiris Kaunas24191721
End of Quarter1234
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens12335069
Zalgiris Kaunas24436081
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 MACK, SHELVIN 23:28 10 0/3 3/4 1/2   1 1 4 2     1 3 3 11
6 PAPAGIANNIS, GEORGIOS 26:20 10 5/8     5 6 11 1 1 1 3   2   20
7 BOCHORIDIS, ELEFTHERIOS 11:01 2 1/3 0/3   2   2   1 1     2   -3
10 PAPAPETROU, IOANNIS 29:47 10 2/6 0/4 6/6   3 3 4 1   1     6 17
14 KASELAKIS, LEONIDAS 1:31           1 1               1
16 KALAITZAKIS, GEORGIOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 FOSTER, MARCUS FRANKLEE 9:33 2 1/1           1             3
26 NEDOVIC, NEMANJA 29:56 12 2/3 2/7 2/2   1 1 4   2     5 6 10
30 WHITE, AARON 27:00 7 1/2 1/4 2/2 1 3 4 3   1     2 1 8
44 MITOGLOU, KONSTANTINOS 11:37 9 3/5 1/1 0/2 2 1 3 1   2     2 1 6
50 BENTIL, BEN 7:05                   2     2   -4
74 SANT-ROOS, HOWARD 22:42 7 1/3 1/5 2/2   2 2 1 2       1 2 7
Team           1   1               1
Totals 200:00 69 16/34 8/28 13/16 11 18 29 19 7 9 4 1 19 19 77
        47.1% 28.6% 81.3%
Head coach: VOVORAS, GEORGIOS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 25:46 5 1/2 1/2     1 1 8 1       3   10
1 BLAZEVIC, MAREK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 14:14 5 1/3 1/1     1 1 1   2     2 3 4
10 HAYES-DAVIS, NIGEL 33:01 14 2/5 3/3 1/1 1 3 4   2 3 1 2 3 2 12
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 12:07 4 2/2     3 2 5 1           2 12
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 21:37 3   1/4     1 1     1     1   -1
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 4:22   0/1       1 1           1   -1
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 16:30 8 2/7   4/5 5 3 8 1         2 4 13
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 22:37 10 3/5 1/2 1/1   3 3 2 1 5     3 4 9
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 28:15 24 3/6 6/8     6 6 3 1 3   2 3 3 24
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 21:31 8 4/10     2 6 8 1   1     1 1 10
Team           1 2 3     2         1
Totals 200:00 81 18/41 13/20 6/7 12 29 41 17 5 17 1 4 19 19 93
        43.9% 65% 85.7%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN

Head Coaches

VOVORAS, GEORGIOS
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
"I think that Zalgiris was better in many aspects of the game and deserved the win tonight. For us, the most important thing that we must take into account and change in the future is that we basically didn't take advantage of the first half that we had in both offense and defense. We basically let the other team score a lot of points, without even trying hard. And as I said before, especially as far as the EuroLeague is concerned, you need to play for the whole 40 minutes, you need to play hard in order to get the win, both in offense and defense. We have two important games in front of us and we need to correct mistakes and work hard for the next games in the EuroLeague."
SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, congratulations for my players, we did a good job tonight. I'm happy about the fact the win came on the defensive end, and the second most important fact is that when Panathinaikos came out after halftime with a strong run, we could stop that run and actually played the third quarter even, at 17-17, which was very important for our mental standpoint. We are very happy, and we move forward. It's really game-by-game. If you get into the losing streak, when you get the win it's not that you necessarily did something different. If you win a couple of games your confidence goes up, and then it goes a little bit similar with losses. So for us it was very important to see a win on the scoreboard after the game, for our mentality. We have competed in the last games; we have competed every game we had. We had problems in Tel Aviv, real problems, but we felt we had competed in every other game and that we had real chances to win. It's very important for us to see a win in the scoreboard at the end of the game tonight."

Players

SANT-ROOS, HOWARD
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
"We gave to Zalgiris Kaunas the first two quarters and then it was difficult to come back. We managed to equalize but we were again behind the score by 10 points. In the EuroLeague, if you want to win, you have to play well for 40 minutes. We were not mentally ready. We had to play tough defense for 40 minutes and we did not. We can improve, we are young and it makes sense to have ups and downs. We must give 100% every minute and continue to improve."
GRIGONIS, MARIUS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"I still missed two shots, so it's not perfect. There is a lot to improve, but I'm just happy for the win. I'm happy the most for holding Panathinaikos to 69 points, which means good defense. We are going to every game to fight and to compete. We had a rough recent past, but I'm just happy for the win."