Grigonis game-winner extends Zalgiris streak
Marius Grigonis scored the game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left as Zalgiris Kaunas survived a 74-73 battle with visiting FC Bayern Munich to extend its winning streak to four games. Grigonis ended the game with 22 points while Arturas Milaknis tallied 11 for Zalgiris, which continued its roll since ending a six-game losing streak and improved to 9-7 to stay in the top eight of the standings. Jalen Reynolds paced Bayern with 17 points and 7 rebounds while Nick Weiler-Babb had 16 points and Paul Zipser chipped in 14 in the loss. Bayern has now dropped three straight road games and fell to 10-6 but still holds onto fourth place alone.
JaJuan Johnson and Leon Radosevic put Bayern up 0-4 to start as Zalgiris needed more than 2 minutes to score until Joffrey Lauvergne tossed down a pair of alley-oop dunks and Milaknis hit a three-pointer in a 9-0 run to move ahead 9-4. Reynolds stopped the run and D.J. Seeley's three-pointer had Bayern within 11-9. Next, Paulius Jankunas, Grigonis and Augustine Rubit all converted three-point plays in an 11-2 surge for a 22-11 Zalgiris advantage, which was down to 22-16 after 10 minutes. Lukas Lekavicius and Rokas Jokubaitis soon pushed the hosts' lead back to double digits, 26-16. Bayern held Zalgiris to a single free throw over the next 3 minutes while Zipser scored 6 straight points to make it 27-24. Reynolds stayed strong inside for Bayern, but Milaknis kept Zalgiris in charge, 38-30, from deep. Weiler-Babb came off Bayern's bench for 5 straight points to trim the difference to 40-35 at the break. Grigonis started the second-half scoring before Weiler-Babb and Johnson combined to keep Bayern within 42-39 as Zalgiris didn't score for 3 minutes. Thomas Walkup's triple soon meant a 47-39 advantage before Wade Baldwin and Rubit traded 4 points each as Zalgiris stayed up 51-43. The back-and forth continued as Milaknis and Zipser swapped triples until a 56-51 score after 30 minutes. Seeley and Nihad Dedovic scored quickly and Reynolds down a go-ahead put-back at 56-57 to start the fourth quarter with the first of four straight lead changes until Grigonis and Nigel Hayes hit three-pointers to make it 64-59 for Zalgiris. Weiler-Babb punched back with back-to-back triples and Bayern was ahead again, 64-65, midway through the quarter. Zalgiris answered back with 6 straight points as Bayern went scoreless for more than 3 minutes. Reynolds and Grigonis traded layups to make it 72-67 with 52 seconds to play, but Bayern was not done. Seeley downed a quick three-pointer, and after a Grigonis missed his triple attempt, Weiler-Babb converting layup-and-one with 4.3 seconds to put Bayern up 72-73. That, however, was enough time for Grigonis to hit the game-winning jumper over Seeley with 0.6 seconds left for the win.
Threes not needed
Zalgiris connected on just 6 of 15 three-pointers, which is a solid 40.0%, but showed it can win games without making triples in volume. The EuroLeague's most accurate long-distance shooters had drained 13, 18 and 16 three-pointers in its previous three wins.
Did you notice?
Paulius Jankunas scored a season-high 8 points as he hit both of his field goal attempts and 4 of 5 free throws. The 36-year-old also grabbed 3 rebounds and picked up 1 assist and 1 steal in just 11:20 minutes.
Zalgiris made up for 18 turnovers by holding Bayern to just 46.8% on two-pointers and hitting 16 of 19 free throws to 8 of 10 for Bayern.
Zalgiris will face another German team in Round 17 as travels to face ALBA Berlin on Tuesday, December 29. Bayern returns home for the next game to host FC Barcelona on Wednesday, December 30.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020