2012-13Top 16Round 3
January 11, 2013 CET: 20:45
Local time: 20:45 PALACIO DE DEPORTES DE LA COMUNIDAD DE MADRID

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
82.6 Points 78.8
35.9 Rebounds 34.7
12.8 O. Rebounds 12.8
23.2 D. Rebounds 21.9
16.7 Assists 13.1
7.3 Steals 7.7
3.3 Blocks 1.5
11.9 Turnovers 13.9
54.0 % 2PT 53.5 %
33.8 % 3PT 36.3 %
73.4 % FT 79.4 %
92.6 Index 85.9

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
13.6 / Fernandez Points 13.1 / Popovic
5.1 / Mirotic Rebounds 4.8 / Jankunas
2.2 / Slaughter OR 1.7 / Lavrinovic
3.4 / Mirotic DR 3.3 / Jankunas
3.8 / Llull Assists 2.5 / Jaaber
1.3 / Draper Steals 2.1 / Jaaber
0.8 / Slaughter Blocks 0.6 / Foote
1.9 / Rodriguez Turnovers 2.0 / Kaukenas
62.2 % / Begic 2PT 64.0 % / Foote
50.0 % / Reyes 3PT 46.7 % / Darden
100.0 % / Pocius FT 92.3 % / Kaukenas
14.4 / Fernandez Index 12.6 / Lavrinovic

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
2-0 Top 16 1-1
7-3 Regular Season 8-2
9-3 Overall 9-3

Referees

Crew Chief
CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTOS, Greece
Referee
BOLTAUZER, MATEJ, Slovenia
Umpire
VYKLICKY, ROBERT, Czech Republic

The Take

Two classic Euroleague powerhouses meet again in the Spanish capital, where Real Madrid takes on Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday. Madrid is tied with CSKA for first place in Group E at 2-0, with Zalgiris right behind at 1-1. Mirza Begic and Marty Pocius - who remains sidelined - played for Zalgiris in the past. Rimantas Kaukenas and Darjus Lavrinovic played for Madrid and Zalgiris coach Joan Plaza led the Whites to the Spanish League and ULEB Cup titles in 2007. Zalgiris has lost its last 21 Top 16 road games. The all-time series is tied at 5-5 and the teams meet for the first time since 2008.

Zalgiris must find the way to stop Madrid's run-and-gun show, led by its main scoring weapons at the wings, Jaycee Carroll and Rudy Fernandez. Carroll provides instant offense off the bench and Fernandez is an all-around scorer who always thinks team first. With Pocius still sidelined, Carlos Suarez will see more playing time at small forward and Coach Pablo Laso may use twin point guards, Sergio Llull and Sergio Rodriguez or Dontaye Draper together on court. Carroll will test his scoring skills against veteran bomber Marko Popovic, Zalgiris's best scorer this season. Fernandez must use his quickness and athleticism against very good defenders that can also give him trouble at the other end - Kaukenas and Tremmell Darden. Mindaugas Kuzminskas will be the guests' X-factor; he is a good rebounder and an energy guy ready to make the difference at small forward. Llull will see most of his minutes at point guard to make the most out of his explosiveness. Rodriguez provides creativity and shooting range, while Draper adds firepower and an uptempo mentality. Llull will not have it easy against athletic playmaker Ibby Jaaber. Draper and Rodriguez must dominate the game tempo against Oliver Lafayette and Popovic. As always, the battle in the paint will be critical to this game. Despite injuries, Zalgiris relies on a deep frontcourt led by the Lavrinovic twins, Darjus and Ksistof, to make the difference in this game. Both Lavrinovics can play in the low post or open the court with long distance shots, generating more space for Paulius Jankunas and Jeff Foote to play around the basket. The Lavrinovics face tough matchups against Felipe Reyes and Nikola Mirotic, whose speed, talent, range and determination can be critical in this game. Foote must use his size against Begic. Madrid relies on Rafael Hettsheimeir and Marcus Slaughter to provide hustle, energy and intensity off the bench.

Zalgiris needs to dominate the game with intense defense, prevent Madrid from running the floor and expect a good game from the Lavrinovic twins and Popovic. Madrid needs to lock the defensive boards to run the floor as much as possible, try to play up-tempo and run its offense through Fernandez, Carroll and Reyes to stay undefeated at home in all competitions. Expect a great basketball show in Madrid, as two of them best teams so far this season go head to head.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Euroleague.net

Game Notes

REAL MADRID

Real Madrid has won seven consecutive Euroleague home games dating back to the opener of last season’s Top 16.

Real Madrid is tied for the Euroleague lead in offensive rebounding this season with Zalgiris Kaunas with an average of 12.8 per game.

Rudy Fernandez has made at least 1 three-pointer in 10 of his last 11 Euroleague games.

Jaycee Carroll has made at least 1 three-pointer in 11 straight and 27 of his last 28 Euroleague games.

Carroll has scored in double figures in six straight and 10 of his last 11 appearances. 

Sergio Llull has made 9 consecutive free throws in Euroleague action.

Marty Pocius has made 14 consecutive free throws in Euroleague action.

Pocius played his first two professional seasons with Zalgiris Kaunas between 2009 and 2011. He helped the team win the Baltic League title both season and the Lithuanian League and Cup double in 2011. He teamed with current Zalgiris players Paulius Jankunas, Tadas Klimavicius and Mindaugas Kuzminskas during those seasons. Big man Mario Delas was also on the tea in the first of those seasons.

Pocius has played alongside several Zalgiris players on the Lithuanian national team. He teamed with Paulius Jankunas, Tadas Klimavicius and Robertas Javtokas to win the bronze medal at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey.

Mirza Begic is 1 blocked shot outside of 10th place on the all-time Euroleague list. He sits in 11th place with 105 career rejections.  Ben Eze of Montepaschi Siena and Gregor Fucka sit in ninth and 10th place with 106 blocks apiece.

Begic spent a season-and-a-half at Zalgiris between 2009 and 2011. He helped the club win the 2010 Baltic League. Current Zalgiris players Paulius Jankunas, Tadas Klimavicius, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Mario Delas all played alongside Begic.

ZALGIRIS KAUNAS

Zalgiris is tied for the Euroleague lead in offensive rebounding this season with Real Madrid with an average of 12.8 per game.

Ibby Jaaber needs 2 more steals to reach 100 for his Euroleague career.

Marko Popovic has made at least 1 three-pointer in eight straight and 47 of his last 48 Euroleague appearances. 

Popovic has made 13 consecutive free throws in Euroleague action.

Paulius Jankunas has recorded at least 1 steal in six of his last seven Euroleague games.

Ksistof Lavrinovic is due to make his 100th career appearance; his brother Darjus Lavrinovic will make his 98th career appearance.

Ksistof Lavrinovic has more than doubled his scoring and rebounding output from the regular season to the Top 16, going from 5.5 points and 3.1 rebounds in 10 regular season games to 12.5 points and 6.5 boards per game in the Top 16.  

Joan Plaza was the head coach at Real Madrid for three seasons between 2006 and 2009, during which he led the club to the 2007 ULEB Cup and Spanish League titles. He was an assistant at Madrid before that. He coached Madrid big man Felipe Reyes during those years and Sergio Llull during the latter two seasons.

Darjus Lavrinovic and Rimantas Kaukenas were teammates at Real Madrid during the 2009-10 season. They were teammates of current Madrid stars Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes during that time.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas has made 8 straight free throws in Euroleague action.

Kuzminskas scored a Euroleague career-high 14 points last week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

LASO, PABLO
Real Madrid
"It's our first Top 16 game at home. This is a demanding phase on the road and also at home. Last year, a home loss deprived us from being in the Playoffs and I am trying to make my layers aware of the importance of the home games. I expect to see a great atmosphere at our gym so we can keep on showing how solid we are at home. Zalgiris' season is not a surprise for me because they have a great team. They have experience and they know what games are more decisive than others and then energetic players like Jaaber, Lafayette, Darden or Kuzminskas. Strong men that make Zalgiris a complete team who made the Top 16 as group champ in a difficult group. It will be important to defend their shooters well."
PLAZA, JOAN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"I won’t tell a secret by saying that Real Madrid is one of the main favorites to be in the Final Four. I guess most of the Top 16 coaches would rate this team as one of the main contenders even for the title. That makes our goal this week more complicated, but we aren’t changing our mentality and we will go to Madrid to compete and to try to win. It will be harder because once again we lost Darjus Lavrinovic due to injury. During the game we need to force them not to feel great, because when they catch their rhythm they are very hard to stop. They are one of the best scorers in the Euroleague, so if we allow them to be such versatile as they were until now, we won’t have many chances. But if we don’t commit many mistakes, if we play our 100% game we can have opportunity to win in Madrid."

Players

POCIUS, MARTYNAS
Real Madrid
"I am waiting for this game with great expectations because I played two seasons in Zalgiris and there are many players there that I know and with whom I maintain a good relationship. Seeing them again is always good news. Zalgiris is playing really well this season so I think it will be a complicated game for us. It just makes it more exciting. They are playing different than what they have been doing these last few years. Their defense is especially good and aggressive, but their biggest change I think is that they are playing terrific games on the road. By tradition Zalgiris is a team that is stronger at home because of the atmosphere created by the fans, but this year they also found theformula to win away. Jankunas, Popovic, Kaukenas and Darden have been playing great lately but I think we must focus on all the players of a balanced roster."
KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Real Madrid is very powerful at home. They are perfect in transition, athletic and a good scoring team. If we don’t stop their fastbreaks we can get into trouble early. Our aim is to stay in the game till the last minute. It would probably be impossible to come back from behind in such difficult court as Madrid. Zalgiris hasn’t won on the road in Top 16 for a long time, but we use it as motivation. This season we proved that we can play as good on road as at home, so we don’t feel bigger pressure than usual going into this game."

Real Madrid edges Zalgiris on Rodriguez’s late triple

Sergio Rodriguez hit a game-winning three-pointer with 3.5 seconds to go as Real Madrid survived a thriller to edge Zalgiris Kaunas 75-74 in Palacio de Deportes in Spain’s capital on Friday night. The win improves Madrid to 3-0 and a share of Group E lead with CSKA Moscow, while Zalgiris drops to 1-2, and into a fifth-place tie. The game itself was a close as it gets, and a triple from Rodriguez was a climax to an excellent encounter. After Zalgiris built an early 10-point lead, the hosts quickly caught up and teams kept exchanging leads throughout the final three quarters and until the final buzzer. The last two minutes alone featured four lead changes and two ties. Oliver Lafayette gave the visitors 72-74 edge from the line with 8.7 seconds to go, but Rodriguez answered with what turned out to be a game-winning shot. Marko Popovic had a chance to become Zalgiris’s hero, but his last-second triple was no good. Nikola Mirotic finished with 17 points for Madrid, while Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Llull each scored 10. Popovic had a game-high 21 points on 5-for-9 three-point shooting for Zalgiris, while Lafayette had 13 points and Rimantas Kaukenas scored 11 in defeat.

First quarter: Zalgiris jumps in front early

Popovic nailed a three-pointer on the opening possession of the game, and after Jeff Foote free throws, Popovic’s steal led to an easy layup for Tremmell Daden and quick 0-7 lead. After Madrid answered with a jumper and basket-plus-foul from Rudy Fernandez, Zalgiris scored 6 more unanswered points – Foote’s dunk in the lane, Popovic’s layup and Darden’s turnaround jumper made it 5-13. Mirotic snapped the run with a put-back, but a layup-plus-foul by Rimantas Kaukenas and a triple from Ksistof Lavrinovic extended the margin to 9-19. The hosts grabbed 3 offensive rebounds, and had 4 steals in the early going, but failed to convert on those. However, Madrid cut into the lead with more aggressive defense that kept Zalgiris without a field goal for almost four minutes. Meanwhile, Llull made a floater, and threw an alley-oop pass for a reverse dunk by Fernandez to ignite the crowd. A put-back from Felipe Reyes in the final seconds of the quarter got Madrid within 2, but the remaining 5 seconds of the quarter were enough time for Oliver Lafayette to go the length of the court and nail a triple to make it 18-23 after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Madrid hangs in

Martynas Pocius and Kaukenas traded baskets to start the second quarter before Pocius hit a triple-plus-foul to bring Real Madrid to 24-25. Ibby Jaaber answered with a triple of his own, but the hosts went on a run, starting with Marcus Slaughter making a basket inside. Slaughter, then blocked a layup attempt from Adas Juskevicius, before Rodriguez gave the hosts their first advantage, 29-28. The teams continued to exchange leads as Popovic and Rodriguez traded triples. Popovic then nailed his third shot from downtown, but Real Madrid got back in front 36-34 with a layup by Mirotic. Zalgiris quickly regained a slim lead with a jumper from Mario Delas and a fastbreak dunk from Darden, before in the final 10 seconds Foote scored from close range, while Mirotic’s acrobatic layup seconds before the buzzer made it 40-40 at halftime.

Third quarter: Popovic hits triples, but Mirotic helps Madrid take the lead

Popovic opened the second half the same way he did the first, with a triple, before Mirotic and Carlos Suarez got Madrid going from close range. Foote used an assist from Popovic assist for an easy dunk, and after Mirotic answered with a driving layup, Popovic hit his fifth shot from long range for 46-50. However, Mirotic and Suarez replied with back-to-back triples before Rafael Hettsheimeir hit a jumper for 54-52. Neither team managed to score in the last three minutes of the quarter and Madrid kept a 2-point lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Fourth quarter: Rodriguez triple decides thriller

Delas hit an open jumper to tie the game at the start of the fourth quarter, but Dontaye Draper answered with an off-the-dribble three-pointer for Madrid’s biggest lead to that point, 57-54. A triple by Kaukenas tied the game, once again, and score was tied at 62-62 after Jaycee Carroll and Lafayette traded three-pointers with less than five minutes to go. After a timeout, Llull took matters into his own hands, hitting a floater and a basket-plus-foul on back-to-back possessions for 67-63 edge, but Lafayette replied with a triple and a floater to get Zalgiris back in front, 67-68. Madrid quickly regained the lead with a three-pointer from Fernandez, before Popovic tied things up again from the foul line and set up a thrilling ending. Reyes’s put-back gave the hosts a 72-70 lead, but with 41 seconds remaining, Ksistof Lavrinovic made a steal and drew an unsportsmanlike foul. He drained both free throws, but Kaukenas failed to inbound the ball on the ensuing possession, giving the ball back to Madrid. After Rodriguez missed the potential go-ahead three-pointer, Lafayette made a pair of free throws with 8.7 seconds on the clock for 72-74. However, Rodriguez made up for the earlier miss, making a triple from the right corner for 75-74 with only 3.5 seconds to go. After a timeout, there was plenty of time for Popovic to get a look for a game-winning three, but his shot hit the rim and Los Blancos could start celebrating hard-fought victory.

Sergio Rodriguez - Real Madrid - EB12
Friday, January 11, 2013
Euroleague.net
Referees: CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTOS (GRE), BOLTAUZER, MATEJ (SLO), VYKLICKY, ROBERT (CZE)
Attendance: 10892
By Quarter1234
Real Madrid18221421
Zalgiris Kaunas23171222
End of Quarter1234
Real Madrid18405475
Zalgiris Kaunas23405274
Real Madrid
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 DRAPER, DONTAYE 8:51 3 0/1 1/1           1 1     1   1
5 FERNANDEZ, RUDY 27:11 10 3/4 1/4 1/1   1 1 4 3 2     1 3 14
7 POCIUS, MARTYNAS 8:09 6 1/1 1/2 1/1   1 1   1       1 1 7
8 SUAREZ, CARLOS 19:25 5 1/1 1/3   1 4 5           2   6
9 REYES, FELIPE 16:33 6 3/7 0/1 0/1 5 3 8     3     2 4 7
12 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 23:25 17 5/6 1/2 4/4 2   2 1 1 2 1   1 3 20
13 RODRIGUEZ, SERGIO 11:19 8 1/1 2/5     1 1 1   2     2   3
15 HETTSHEIMEIR, RAFAEL 8:32 2 1/4       2 2 1     1     1 4
16 BEGIC, MIRZA 7:43 2 1/4     2   2   1       1 1 2
20 CARROLL, JAYCEE 18:09 4 0/1 1/6 1/2 1 3 4         1 1 2 1
23 LLULL, SERGIO 27:09 10 3/5 0/5 4/5   5 5 4 1 2   1 1 3 11
44 SLAUGHTER, MARCUS 23:34 2 1/2     1 1 2 1   1 4   3 2 6
Team           2 1 3           1   2
Totals 200:00 75 20/37 8/29 11/14 14 22 36 12 8 13 6 2 17 20 84
        54.1% 27.6% 78.6%
Head coach: LASO, PABLO
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 DARDEN, TREMMELL 24:34 6 3/5     1 3 4   2     1   2 11
5 JAABER, IBRAHIM 10:51 3   1/3                   4 1 -2
6 POPOVIC, MARKO 23:07 21 1/1 5/9 4/4       3 2 2     1 3 22
8 JUSKEVICIUS, ADAS 3:48   0/1       1 1         1 1   -2
10 LIPKEVICIUS, VYTENIS 4:27   0/1 0/1             1   1 1   -5
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 20:54   0/3 0/3   1 2 3 1 1 1 1 1 4   -6
17 DELAS, MARIO 13:08 4 2/4 0/1             1 1 1 1 1  
19 KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS 5:57           1 1 1 1 1     3   -1
20 LAFAYETTE, OLIVER 25:25 13 1/4 3/5 2/2   4 4 2   3     2 3 12
21 KAUKENAS, RIMANTAS 22:04 11 2/5 1/1 4/5   2 2 1 1 2     2 3 10
31 FOOTE, JEFF 19:13 8 3/4   2/2 1 2 3         1   1 10
33 LAVRINOVIC, KSISTOF 26:32 8 1/1 1/3 3/4 2 4 6 3 1 2     1 2 14
Team           1 6 7     2         5
Totals 200:00 74 13/29 11/26 15/17 6 25 31 11 8 15 2 6 20 16 68
        44.8% 42.3% 88.2%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN

Head Coaches

LASO, PABLO
Real Madrid
"Truth to be told, it was a very exciting finish for everyone watching it. It was a tough game in which any mistake or correct action could decide it. We tried to draw fouls and find shots. We managed to win a game which is bittersweet for any coach. We won, and I have to congratulate my players. But I also must say that it was not a good game by our team. We were not fresh and lacked concentration, even though we put a great effort out there. Zalgiris hurt us a lot with their open big men. We had to work really hard to win this game and it was not easy at all. It’s something that we have to learn from in the future. Last season around this time we lost at home against Montepaschi, but we managed to win tonight. Even though we didn't have a good shooting night, we studied the game, improved on things and managed to win. Each Top 16 game is difficult. We are talking about the best 16 teams in Europe."
PLAZA, JOAN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It is tough to lose two games by one point each. I will keep fighting with my team because this is the way I do things. I believe in justice and everything that has happened to us lately – losing two games on the final shot – will be given back to us in the Top 16. We deserved to win as much as Real Madrid. I am very proud of my team and if we carry on playing like this, I am sure we will make it to the playoffs."

Players

MIROTIC, NIKOLA
Real Madrid
"This is a very important win. We have to be positive about it. We didn't play well, but we have managed to win difficult games like this. We feel that we can still improve, and now we must focus on the next game. Zalgiris had an open shot that Popovic missed and we managed to get a tough win. We have to be positive, know that we can do better and we have to think that even though we didn't play well, we beat Zalgiris – a team playing at a very high level this season. There is no better way to start the Top 16 than with a 3-0 record. Each game is difficult, but we have to go step by step. This is what we have been doing and things are turning out the right way."
DARDEN, TREMMELL
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It was a tough, good game. We had a chance to beat Madrid on the road and nobody likes to lose under these circumstances. It already happened to us against Panathinaikos two weeks ago. We challenged one of the best teams in Europe. It is not easy to beat Real Madrid on the road. We played until the final shot and that's positive. When you lose a close game by one point, it is small details that make the difference in the end."
POPOVIC, MARKO
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It is tough to play on the road, especially against a team like Real Madrid. We lost again on the road in the Top 16 and by one point. It is very tough to go through this situation again. I want to congratulate Real Madrid and wish Pablo Laso all the best. This is Zalgiris, and it's true that we are mentally stronger this season, partly because of the way coach Joan Plaza motivates us. We grew up as a team, are stronger. Even a team that aspires to do something big has to be able to compete against a team like Real Madrid, one of the best in Europe. I believe Madrid will make it to the Final Four, but this is basketball and you can never be 100 percent sure about anything."
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