Zalgiris produces offensive fireworks to destroy ALBA
Zalgiris Kaunas delivered a spectacular performance to cruise past ALBA Berlin with a crushing 104-80 victory at the Zalgirio Arena on Friday night. Zalgiris used a 10-0 run to establish a double-digit lead in the first quarter and steadily grew that margin to 29 points in the second. The outcome was never in doubt, with Zalgiris leading by 36 at one stage, and the lead stayed around that margin for the rest of the way. KC Rivers led the way with 17 points on 5-of-7 triples, while Edgaras Ulanovas scored 14, Jock Landale and Nigel Hayes both had 12, teenager Rokas Jokubaitis made a career-high 11 points and veteran Paulius Jankunas added 10. Landry Nnoko led ALBA’s resistance with 15 points and 7 rebounds, and Rokas Giedraitis and Peyton Siva scored 12. Both teams now have 7-21 records in a four-way tie for last place.
Giedraitis opened the scoring from long-range, and a put-back dunk from Nnoko kept the visitors ahead in a low-scoring start. But then Zalgiris took off: Hayes netted twice inside, including a three-point play, to make it 9-5, and an Ulanovas triple completed a 10-0 run. Johannes Thiemann ended the run by twice converting offensive rebounds, but Zach LeDay answered with two scores before a deep strike from Rivers and a driving layup from Lukas Lekavicius made it 23-9 after the first quarter. A three-pointer from Jokubaitis and further scores for LeDay, Rivers and Jokubaitis extended the margin to 36-14. Rivers hit his third triple and a circus shot from Thomas Walkup kept the home team motoring. Two close-range scores for Landale and another Jokubaitis triple made it 54-27 at half-time. Hayes started the second half with another deep strike, and 4 more points for Landale took the lead to 63-27 before triples from Siva and Luke Sikma propelled ALBA on a 0-8 run. Siva made another triple and a long two, but Rivers and Ulanovas maintained a comfortable margin from deep as the third quarter ended 84-52. Ulanovas stayed hot by sinking two more triples and a tip-in early in the fourth, keeping the advantage around 30 points. A flurry of points from Nnoko and two scores from Giedraitis brought ALBA closer, but Karolis Lukosiunas scored his first ever EuroLeague points and took Zalgiris into triple figures from long-range with a minute remaining.
Season highs for Zalgiris
Zalgiris set several season highs in this game, starting with its points tally of 104 which was the joint sixth-best in club history and the most since 2012. 18 offensive rebounds was also the best so far this season, as was 14 three-pointers and the long-range conversion rate of 51.9%.
Jokubaitis up and running
Rokas Jokubaitis had a night to remember with his first points of the season and the best performance of his young EuroLeague career. The 19 year-old guard nailed a trio of triples in the second quarter to help Zalgiris establish a margin which could never be threatened, and finished with a career-high 11 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal for a personal best PIR of 12.
Turnovers haunt ALBA again
ALBA has committed more turnovers than any other team in the competition and was dogged by that problem again during the crucial opening quarter. The visiting team turned the ball over 4 times in the first 5 minutes, helping Zalgiris mount a 10-0 run to surge clear for good.
Zalgiris heads on the road to take on LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne next Thursday evening, while ALBA welcomes Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul the same night.
Friday, January 24, 2020