Near-flawless third quarter inspired Zalgiris

Jan 09, 2021 by Print
Near-flawless third quarter inspired Zalgiris

Midway through Friday night’s meeting between Zalgiris Kaunas and Khimki Moscow Region, the visiting team was on track for a much-needed road victory after using a strong second quarter to establish a 39-48 half-time lead. But then Zalgiris ensured it would seize a sixth consecutive victory by delivering one of the best quarters of basketball ever seen in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.

It was all started off, appropriately, by MVP of the Round Joffrey Lauvergne, who only needed 11 seconds to receive a high pass from Marius Grigonis and throw down a powerful uncontested alley-oop. Then Thomas Walkup drove straight through the middle of the Khimki defense to layup, before Marius Grigonis netted a three-pointer to complete a 7-0 run in 75 seconds.

The men in green had started the third quarter as they meant to continue, and points continued to rain down on a Khimki defense that seemed totally powerless to stop the assault. Lauvergne’s inside dominance was relentless, while Walkup, Grigonis and Nigel Hayes found more space to profit on the perimeter, and finally Lukas Lekavicius stepped up to finish the quarter with a four-point flurry.

In the end, Zalgiris had amassed no less than 39 points in the third quarter, the second-highest third period in the modern era of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, and the joint fifth-highest total achieved in any quarter – a list topped by Maccabi Electra with 43 points in the fourth quarter against Montepaschi Siena in March 2010.

1 MACCABI ELECTRA 43 4TH 2009-10 Top 16 TEL 97 - SIE 82
2 REAL MADRID 41 1ST 2019-20 Regular Season BER 97 - MAD 103
2 REAL MADRID 41 3RD 2013-14 Top 16 MAD 111 - MUN 87
2 ZALGIRIS KAUNAS 41 4TH 2008-09 Regular Season ZAL 105 - NAN 94
5 ZALGIRIS KAUNAS 39 3RD 2020-21 Regular Season ZAL 102 - KHI 75
5 EFES PILSEN 39 4TD 2006-07 Regular Season IST 95 - OLY 77
5 OLYMPIACOS PIRAEUS 39 4TD 2012-13 Final Four OLY 100 - MAD

The Lithuanian team was also extremely effective at the other end of the floor, showing great energy on defense to limit Khimki to just 13 points in the quarter. With a partial score of 39-13, that gave Zalgiris a difference of plus-26 points in the quarter, the joint second-highest this century. The only time it has been bettered was in the 2001 playoffs, when Kinder Virtus Bologna had a plus-27 quarter (39-12) in a victory over Adecco Estudiantes.

For the record, the scorers in Zalgiris’s thrilling third quarter were Lauvergne (11), Hayes (7), Grigonis (6), Walkup (5), Lekavicius (4), Paulius Jankunas (4) and Arturas Milaknis (2). The team made 8-of-9 two-pointers, 4-of-6 triples and all 11 free throw attempts.