Zalgiris Kaunas wasted a 16-point lead, but finished its magical run to the playoffs with an 86-93 victory at Real Madrid - the Lithuanian club's first win in the Spanish capital since the 1999-2000 season. Brandon Davies scored 12 of his 27 points in the final 5 minutes to go with 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as Zalgiris won its final six games of the season for a 15-15 record to sneak into eighth place and a date in the postseason against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. Antanas Kavaliauskas chipped in 10 points for Zalgiris, which snapped an 11-game losing streak to Madrid. Walter Tavares scored a career-high 22 points in addition to 7 rebounds and 2 blocks for Madrid, which dropped to 22-8 with its second loss in the last three games. The defending champs will take on Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in the playoffs. Anthony Randolph added 17 points and Jaycee Carroll had 11 in the loss.
Madrid pounded the ball in the paint early with Taveras scoring twice in the first minute for a 4-0 lead. Leo Westermann nailed 2 three-pointers as Zalgiris went up for the first time 6-8. The inside game continued for the hosts with Gustavo Ayon off the bench for a 16-12 lead. An Edgaras Ulanovas three helped put Zalgiris back ahead 16-17, but Randolph took over the inside scoring for Madrid and another Ayon basket had the hosts up 27-23. It was 27-25 after 10 minutes – with the trio of Taveras, Randolph and Ayon combining for 17 points. Zalgiris used triples from Nate Wolters and Arturas Milaknis to move ahead 29-33 and a dunk and 2 free throws from Davies made it 33-39. Trey Thompkins responded with Madrid's first triple, but Kavaliauskas knocked down a pair of elbow jumpers as the advantage grew to 37-46, which was the score at the break. Neither team scored in the first three minutes of the second half until Marius Grigonis's three-pointer for a 37-49 lead. Carroll stopped Madrid's drought 4 minutes into the third quarter, but Wolters and Davies converted three-point plays and the cushion swelled to 43-57. Tavares made it 47-61, but Madrid rebounded his missed bonus free throw and Klemen Prepelic nailed a three-pointer after the hosts had started 1 for 13 from long range. Aaron White responded with a triple of his own only to see Randolph punch back with a three. Carroll made all 3 of his free throws to cut the deficit to 6. The score was 60-66 after 30 minutes. Milaknis's free throws started the final quarter for a 60-68 advantage, but Madrid continued to play off its momentum with Tavares and Prepelic trimming the gap to 68-70. Tavares added two more baskets before Randolph's free throws knotted the game at 74-74 with 5 minutes left. Randolph put the hosts up 77-76 with a three-pointer, but Davies took over the game for Zalgiris with 12 straight points as he countered every punch from Tavares and Randolph. His steal led to Westermann's layup for an 83-88 advantage with 36 seconds left. Zalgiris finished strong with Edgaras Ulanovas making 4 free throws in the final 20 seconds.
Game changing sequence
Real Madrid had erased Zalgiris's 16-point lead, but Brandon Davies put his team on his shoulders and scored 12 straight points to guide the Lithuanian champs into the playoffs.
Brandon Davies did everything for Zalgiris with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting and 7-of-7 free throws, 10 rebounds – including 5 off the offensive glass, 2 assists, 2 steals and 5 fouls drawn for performance index rating of 34.
Madrid made just 4 of 21 three-pointers (19.1%), while Zalgiris turned the ball over only 9 times and made 22 of 26 free throws (84.6%).
Real Madrid was set up in third place and will now take on Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in the playoffs. Zalgiris now has a date with Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in the best-of-five quarterfinals.
Thursday, April 4, 2019