Real's defense stops Zalgiris
Real Madrid returned to its winning ways by downing Zalgiris Kaunas 70-58 at WiZink Center on Thursday. Real improved to 16-10 in the standings and grabbed its second win against the Lithuanian champs this season. Zalgiris dropped to 13-12 and is now on a three-game losing streak. Gabriel Deck led the winners with 14 points and Jaycee Carroll and Trey Thompkins each added 12 for Real. Paulius Jankunas led Zalgiris with 13 points and Nigel Hayes added 11. Nico Laprovittola led a 16-2 run that gave Real the lead for good, 18-8. Zalgiris managed to get within 39-38, but Deck had 6 points in an 8-0 run that gave Real a 51-42 edge at the end of the third quarter. Real boosted its margin to 64-48 and never looked back.
Rokas Jokubaitis got Zalgiris going with a layup. Augustine Rubit added a baseline jumper and Hayes made a layup for a 2-6 lead. Laprovittola struck twice from downtown and Edy Tavares followed a jumper with a put-back basket in a 10-0 run that put Real in charge, 12-6. Marius Grigonis hit a jumper, but Usman Garuba and Fabien Causeur each sank a triple, prompting the guests to call timeout at 18-8. Jankunas downed a four-meter shot and added a three-pointer to bring Zalgiris within 21-13 after 10 minutes. Carroll joined the three-point shootout and Alberto Abalde dunked, but Hayes struck twice from beyond the arc to get the visitors even closer, 26-21. Thompkins stepped up with a backdoor layup and followed Carroll's running floater with a jumper to restore a 32-23 Real edge. Carlos Alocen took over with a coast-to-coast basket and Carroll scored again, but Jokubaitis and Thomas Walkup got Zalgiris within 36-31 at halftime.
Laprovittola hit a three-pointer soon after the break. Walkup downed a jumper and got help from Rubit and Hayes to climb within 39-38. Real found a go-to guy in Deck, who struck twice from beyond the arc in an 8-0 run that gave the hosts fresh air at 47-38. Lukas Lekavicius buried a floater, but Thompkins and Alocen kept Los Blancos way ahead, 51-42, after 30 minutes. Lekavicius floated another one in early in the fourth quarter. Carroll answered with a mid-range jumper and Thompkins improved Joffrey Lauvergne's alley-oop layup with a corner triple. Carroll knocked down a stop-and-pop triple, Tavares added a put-back layup and Thompkins sealed the outcome at 64-48 midway through the fourth quarter. Jankunas kept pushing Zalgiris, but he didn't find much help around and Deck buried his fourth shot from downtown to make sure Real cruised to a well-deserved win.
Gabriel Deck helped at both ends and stepped up when the going got tough. He finished the game with 14 points on 4-of-5 three-point shots plus 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 fouls drawn for a team-high PIR of 19.
Zalgiris rallied from a double-digit deficit to get within 39-38 soon after the break. Gabriel Deck rescued Real with a couple of three-pointers in an 8-0 run in which Fabien Causeur added a fastbreak layup. The hosts restored a 47-38 margin and went on to dominate the game until the final buzzer.
Rebounds and three-point shots made the difference in this game. Zalgiris, the best three-point shooting team in the EuroLeague entering this game, hit 4 of 12 shots from downtown (33.3%) and was outrebounded 38-22. Real buried 14 of 29 three-pointers (48.3%).
Did you know?
Jaycee Carroll reached another milestone in his EuroLeague career, becoming the 18th player to score 2,500 points in the competition. He now has 2,503 points and passed Mike Batiste (2,496) and Dimitris Diamantidis (2,495) on the scoring charts. Three of his current teammates are ahead of him: Sergio Llull (6th, 3,144 points), Felipe Reyes (7th, 3,022) and Rudy Fernandez (15th, 2,614). None of them played in this game.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action early next week - on Tuesday, April 2. Real visits Khimki Moscow Region, while Zalgiris hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Thursday, February 25, 2021