Zalgiris will seek its maiden home victory this season when it faces one of the hottest teams in the league, Barcelona. It will be a homecoming of sorts for All-EuroLeague guard Kavin Pangos, who spent two seasons in Kaunas and helped the team advance to the Final Four last season before joining Barcelona over the summer. The Lithuanian champs routed Buducnost VOLI Podgorica last week with Brandon Davies going for 20 points. Thomas Heurtel went for 18 points and 8 assists as Barcelona outlasted Khimki Moscow Region for its fourth straight win.
Nate Wolters stepped into Kevin Pangos's shoes as the starting Zalgiris point guard as has thrived as the team leader with 14.5 points and 5.3 assists per game. Now he gets to go head to head against Pangos, who has yet to find his form with his new team, but will be eager to provide a top effort in front of his old team. More than just star playmakers, but two players with something to prove makes this a marquee matchup.
Zalgiris has won three straight games against Barcelona, but prior to that the rivalry was one-sided in the other direction. Barcelona had claimed victory in 17 out of the previous 18 games between the teams, including 10 in a row in Lithuania.
Keys to victory: Zalgiris
Not only is Zalgiris tied for the most turnovers committed in the league this season (14.2 per game), but that number jumps to 16 in home games! Though it is worth noting that last season the team led the league with 13.4 turnovers per game, Coach Jasikevicius's men must cut those numbers to improve their chances. Zalgiris has been among the top shooting teams in the league (57.1% 2FG, 42.0% 3FG) and every extra possession has a good chance of turning into points.
Keys to victory: Barcelona
Barcelona has dominated the glass this season; not only are its 38.0 rebounds per game the second-most in the league, but its average margin of 7.5 rebounds more than its opponents leads all teams. However, no team permits fewer rebounds than Zalgiris (28.3 rpg.) and the home team's big men pride themselves on locking up the boards. How important is it for Barcelona to control the glass? In its two losses, Barcelona was outrebounded in one and won the rebounding battle by 1 in the other.