[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Vytenis Lipkevičius during the match : © Baltic-Review. Aleksejus Podpruginas[/notice]
The Lithuanian club from Kaunas showed good performance but against strong Maccabi, even in the bad shooting game to the home team, it was not enough. Šarunas Jasikevičius surprised by a spatial ceremony that Maccabi organized him before the match. In the match, Šaras scored 11.
Maccabi opened with Yogev Ohayon, Ricky Hickman, Devin Smith, Guy Pnini and Sofoklis Schortsanitis. The starting five for Žalgiris were Martinas Počius, Robertas Javtokas, Justin Dentmon, Tadas Klimavičius and Vytenis Lipkevičius.
Maccabi oppened the match with good shots by Schortsanitis and Ohayon to take lead of 7-3. Martinas Počius went to the line after Rick Hickman’s foul. Žalgiris’s defense was weak and allowed to Schortsanitis to get easy baskets. Robertas Javtokas with good performance equalized the score. Pnini scored from the three point line and gave three points lead to Maccabi.
The score in the first half continued to be close. Žalgiris missed many shots from the three points mark. Five minutes to the end of the quarter the score was 14-14. Justin Dentmon gave two points lead to the Lithuanian club while Maccabi’s Yogev Ohayon scored from the line after a foul. Later, Počius scored three point shot But Tyrice Rice with good two point shot claimed 17-16 to Žalgiris. Joe Ingels returned the lead to Maccabi with easy two points to 18-17. The next move belonged to Arturas Milaknis who scored three points shot to give 20-18 to the green team. In the last second of the quarter, Joe Ingels equalized the score to 20-20 and woke up 11,000 fans in Nokia Arena.
Žalgiris Kaunas opened the second quarter with two points from Arturas Milaknis. Milaknis continued to be dominant and to score well when his three points shot gave to Žalgiris one point lead 25-24. Good moves and shots from both sides gave 29-27 to Maccabi before ten seconds television timeout.
Vytenis Čizauskas equalized the score after the teams returned from the timeout to 29-29. The match began to be fast when both teams scored fast points. Tyrese Rice scored three point shot to Maccabi and gave 32-29 lead to the local team before another timeout. David Blu with three point shot gave the highest lead to Maccabi since the opening 37-31. Žalgiris coach Saulius Stombergas took time out before his team lost the game already in the second quarter. But David Blu with another three point shot gave 40-33 to Maccabi before the half time.
Davin smith opened the third quarter with three points shot to give 10 points lead to Maccabi. Žalgiris lost critical ball but Maccabi did not used it. Maccabi continued to put pressure and the Lithuanians lost another ball. Tyrese Rice scored two points to give 45-33 to Maccabi. Žalgiris took time out in order to stop the run of the home team. The Lithuanians continued to miss for more than four minutes into the quarter while Maccabi continued to score and ran to 47-33. Five minutes to the end, Justin Denton finally scored one point from the line and added two points shot. Tyrese Rice continued to score well and with good shot claimed 49-36. Jasikevičius scored two of himself and the scoreboard showed 49-38, 3:36 to the end of the third quarter. Arturas Milaknis with three points shot closed the gap to eight points; 49-41.
Two minutes to the end, Jasikevičius scored to give the 45th point to Žalgiris. Robertas Javtokas gave two more to close the score to 47-54 to Maccabi. But Guy Pnini burned at the last second amazing three point shot to give again 10 points advantage to Maccabi; 57-47.
In the opening of the last quarter Pnini scored three points shot in order to give quite 13 points lead to Maccabi. Robertas Javtokas scored two in the battle of the Lithuania’s club to return to the match. Hickman scored again from three point mark to Maccabi and the scoreboard showed 52-63 to Maccabi. Later, Hickman with a crazy dunk raised the score to 65-52 and got a huge support from the crowed. Joe Ingles did a technical foul what sent Jasikevičius to the line who also scored two points shot to Žalgiris. Justin Dentmon scored two more to the team from Kaunas. After one minute timeout, Vytenis Lipkevičius did a foul on Guy Pnini who scored both shots in order to give 67-57 to Maccabi. Jasikevičius scored two times in a row and the score was only six points advantage to Maccabi 67-61. Maccabi did not give up when Sofoklis Schortsanidis scored two for Maccabi and Rice gave three of his own in order to return the lead to 72-63. Schortsanidis put two more 1:24 to the end. The scoreboared showed 74-65 to Maccabi when Javtokas managed to score two more. Tyrese Rice scored two more from the line to claim the final score 77-67 to Maccabi.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Match Statistics : source: euroleague.com[/notice]
After the match, during the press conference, Saulius Stombergas, the head coach of Žalgiris said that “We know from many years that Maccabi plays strong every time, and this year they are strong with their individual players. They are playing strong one on one, two on two. We tried to control the game, tried to defend Sofo (Schortsaniti)], but he is like a train. He needs a specific defense. He destroyed our defenses and scored many points. Of course one of the reasons that Maccabi won was because they were much better from the perimeter and scored their three-point shots, especially when we lost the rhythm in the second half. When we hurried because we were trying to work and play in our offense all the way, trying to control the ball all the time because the Maccabi team like to run, because they have the players. It is very difficult to defend against them, because all of their team is great shooters and especially when they are on fire”.
Stombergas answerd to Baltic – Review question how will he summarize the top 16 stage where his team got only one Victory. “We got only one victory in the top 16 stage. We dont have deep bench and also we have not experienced players in those stages. it is our weakness”.
David Blat, the head coach of Maccabi said that “It was a tough and good game, as we expected. We led for most of the game, but not by a lot. We missed some open shots and to take bigger lead. We guarded well throughout the game, even excellently. We stopped the best Euroleague shooter (Dentmon) on 14 points. We had an impressive three-point percentage and we have one of the highest scoring percentages in the Euroleague. It was not an easy game and I give a lot of credit to Zalgiris because they knew they wouldn’t be reaching the top eight, but still fought and stood up and showed a lot of class and a sporting attitude”.
In an exclusive interview to Baltic Review, Blat said that “I am giving a lot of respect to Žalgiris to the way that they played despite the fact that they are know that they will bot play in top eight stage. They showed today a lot of sporting attitude. Regarding to Šarunas Jasikevičius, it is great to see him playing. He is one of the greatest ever European players and of course one of the greatest ever Maccabi players. And you know, everybody would like to have Šaras on their club”.
Photos from the match
[notice noticeType=”approved” ]Photos from the match : © Baltic-Review. Aleksejus Podpruginas[/notice]