On This Day, 2014: Dentmon smashes Zalgiris record

Apr 11, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print

On this day in 2014, Justin Dentmon put together a scoring masterpiece to lift Zalgiris to a rare victory over Real Madrid.

The buildup

All signs would have pointed to a Real Madrid victory before the opening tip. Los Blancos had won eight straight games between the teams and with a win in this, the Top 16 finale, would finish atop Group F. Zalgiris had lost seven games in a row and would not reach the playoffs. But when Zalgiris plays at home, it always plays with pride.

The game

It was a close game until Justin Dentmon came alive with a huge fourth quarter. The score was tied 18-18 after 10 minutes and Madrid had slim leads at halftime (36-38) and through three quarters (57-59). Zalgiris held the Real attack scoreless for nearly 4 minutes in reeling off 10 straight points to take the lead for good. The final basket of that run was a Dentmon triple – the first 3 of his 13 points on the final 7 minutes to keep Real at bay en route to an 87-80 victory.

The records

With a minute and a half to go, Dentmon drilled his 7th three-pointer of the night to give him 36 points, which set and tied club records. The 36 points eclipsed Tanoka Beard's decade-old club-record for scoring of 35 points. His 7 threes tied Marcus Brown, Martynas Pocius and Marko Popovic for the most in club history. Moreover, he reached 74 three-pointers for the season, which set a since-broken EuroLeague record. He bettered Terrell McIntyre, who fired in 71 threes for Montepaschi Siena in 2007-08. However, the record would not last long; Milos Teodosic made 77 threes two seasons later, Ali Muhammed 78 in 2016-17 and Alexey Shved set the current mark with 107 in 2017-18.

What happened next

Real finished second in Group F with an 11-3 record and played Olympiacos Piraeus in the best-of-five playoffs. It was a rematch of the 2013 EuroLeague championship game and this time Real's homecourt advantage made the difference as it won Games 1, 2 and 5 to take the series and reach the Final Four in Milan. In the semifinals, Los Blancos routed archrival FC Barcelona 61-100, but fell against Maccabi Tel Aviv 86-98 after overtime in the championship game. Dentmon helped Zalgiris to the Lithuanian League title before moving to China where he played the next two seasons. He returned to the EuroLeague for eight games with Galatasaray Istanbul in 2016-17.