2020-21Regular SeasonRound 34
April 08, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Zalgiris finishes season with home win

Zalgiris Kaunas never trailed in taking care of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 93-78 on Thursday night at Zalgirio Arena. A 14-0 run early in the second half helped the Lithuanian champs pull away for good and the lead reached 24 in the fourth quarter as Zalgiris cruised to victory. The result gave Zalgiris a 17-17 record at the end of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. Panathinaikos dropped to 11-21 and still has two games remaining. Lukas Lekavicius paced the Zalgiris scorers with 20 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting, Thomas Walkup tallied 18 points and 5 assists and Rokas Jokubaitis added 10 points. Nemanja Nedovic scored 17 points and Ben Bentil 13 for Panathinaikos in defeat.

Marius Grigonis came out firing with the game's first 5 points before Nedovic opened the scoring with a three for the Greens. Georgios Papagiannis's alley-oop slam tied it at 7-7. The hosts reeled off the next 12 points to take a commanding lead. Dinos Mitoglou ended a 4-minute Panathinaikos drought with a dunk, but a triple by Patricio Garino kept the hosts cruising. Garino remained hot with 5 more points to make it 27-14 after 10 minutes. The lead reached 15 early in the second quarter before Mario Hezonja stepped up with back-to-back threes to narrow the gap. A Zalgiris timeout did little to cool the visitors; Nedovic drained a triple and fed Hezonja for a fastbreak slam in a 0-10 charge that made it 33-30. Lekavicius revived the hosts with a pair of triples and a shot in the lane to raise the difference to 41-33 midway through the second quarter. Ioannis Papapetrou and Mitouglou helped get Panathinaikos within 52-47 at the break.

A jumper by Mitoglou got the Greens within one possession at the start of the second half, but back-to-back threes by Karolis Lukosiunas triggered a 14-0 Zalgiris run as the hosts pulled away again. A three by Eleftherios Bochoridis change little for Panathinaikos. A layup by Marek Blazevic made it 71-52 midway through the three quarter. Nedovic helped rally the Greens to 74-60 through three quarters. A three by Nedovic gave the Greens hope at the start of the fourth quarter, but baskets by Walkup and Geben kept Zalgiris in total control. A pair of threes by Jokubaitis took the margin into the 20s. Lekavicius also hit from downtown to make it 88-64 with 5 minutes to play. Panathinaikos battled to reduce the deficit in the remaining minutes, but the outcome was already clear and Zalgiris finished its season on a winning note.

Telling numbers

The two teams were very close in many team stats, but the two-point accuracy told a lot of the story. After making its first 8 two-pointers of the game, Zalgiris finished at 61.1% (22 of 36). Panathinaikos made just 13 of 31 twos (41.9%). Considering that both teams made 13 threes and Panathinaikos committed just 1 more turnover (16) than Zalgiris, that two-point accuracy was all the difference.

One more year for Jankunas?

The immortal Paulius Jankunas will turn 37 years of age later this month and there had been some local speculation about whether this would be the final EuroLeague game for the competition's career rebounding king. In the post-game interview, he was asked if it was his last EuroLeague game or not. After providing 7 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists to aid Zalgiris, he hinted that he is not done yet by replying: "I don't know. I guess not."

A EuroLeague debut

With 2:09 remaining, 18-year-old Mantas Rubstavicius came on for Zalgiris to make his EuroLeague debut. The first time he got the ball, Rubstavicius drew a foul from Zach Auguste with 25.1 seconds remaining and the Zalgiris bench erupted in joy as he calmly sank both shots for his first EuroLeague points.

What's next?

Panathinaikos will conclude its EuroLeague season next week with a pair of road games in Russia. The Greens visit Zenit St Petersburg on Monday, April 12 in a makeup game from Round 6 and then they head to Moscow to meet CSKA on Wednesday. Zalgiris's EuroLeague campaign has concluded and it will move its focus to domestic competition.

Lukas Lekavicius - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB20
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: HIERREZUELO, DANIEL; HORDOV, TOMISLAV ; LAVRUKHIN, ARTEM
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas27252219
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens14331318
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas27527493
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens14476078
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 25:31 18 6/6 2/5     4 4 5 2 2     1 6 29
1 BLAZEVIC, MAREK 17:54 7 3/7   1/2 2 2 4 1   1 1   2 3 8
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 20:38 20 5/5 3/5 1/1   3 3 2 1 3     3 1 19
7 GARINO, PATRICIO 13:48 8 1/3 2/4     1 1 2   1 1 1 4 1 3
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 29:06 7 2/4 1/1   1 6 7 3   1 1       15
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS 19:22 6   2/5         1 1 1     4 1 1
17 RUBSTAVICIUS, MANTAS 2:09 2     2/2                   1 3
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 22:06 8 3/3   2/2   5 5 1 1 1 2   2 3 17
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 20:20 10 1/5 2/3 2/2 2 1 3     1       2 9
32 VASTURIA, STEVE 10:18 1 0/2   1/2   2 2 1 2 1       1 3
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 18:48 6 1/1 1/5 1/1 1   1 5 3 2     2 1 8
Team           3 1 4     1         3
Totals 200:00 93 22/36 13/28 10/12 9 25 34 21 10 15 5 1 18 20 118
        61.1% 46.4% 83.3%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN
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
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 MACK, SHELVIN 17:39 4 2/3 0/1         6 2       1 1 10
6 PAPAGIANNIS, GEORGIOS 12:33 2 1/3       1 1   1           2
7 BOCHORIDIS, ELEFTHERIOS 17:21 6 1/3 1/3 1/2   2 2 3 2 1 1 1 3 4 8
8 AUGUSTE, ZACH 12:52 9 1/1 1/1 4/6 2 2 4 1   1     1 3 13
10 PAPAPETROU, IOANNIS 23:38 9 3/4 1/7   1 3 4 1 1 1     2 1 6
11 HEZONJA, MARIO 14:52 8 1/5 2/5     1 1 2 2 1     2   3
14 KASELAKIS, LEONIDAS 3:12   0/1     1 1 2 1       1     1
26 NEDOVIC, NEMANJA 20:18 17 1/1 4/5 3/3   2 2 3 2 5     1 4 21
30 WHITE, AARON 20:26 3 0/2 1/3   1   1 1 1     1 1    
44 MITOGLOU, KONSTANTINOS 20:30 6 3/7     3 4 7 1   3   2 3   2
50 BENTIL, BEN 20:00 13 0/1 3/3 4/4 1   1 1   1     3 3 13
74 SANT-ROOS, HOWARD 16:39 1   0/2 1/2   2 2 3   2     4 2 -1
Team           1 1 2     1         1
Totals 200:00 78 13/31 13/30 13/17 10 19 29 23 11 16 1 5 21 18 79
        41.9% 43.3% 76.5%
Head coach: KATTASH, ODED

Head Coaches

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Overall, very happy. I thought one could see that we were pushing the pace on both ends of the floor, defensively and offensively. And then the main thing for us to win the game was winning the rebounding battle. To win the rebounding battle against a team like that that is the second-best offensive rebounding team in the league is a very difficult thing. The guys really fought hard and so credit to the guys. Extremely proud [of the young guys' efforts]. Really extremely proud. This win cannot be underestimated playing with guys who just haven’t had so much run in EuroLeague, all my respect. Really proud."
KATTASH, ODED
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
"That was a very bad game for us. Not only the result, it's the way we played. 40 minutes we missed energy, we were not concentrated defensively. We didn’t really bother anything that they tried to do, I am very disappointed with the way we played, hopefully, my players feel the same way because we cannot show up like that, it is not only one single player or one or two players. It’s a team. Starting from defense basically. Then when we were down, we tried to come back in the game by individual plays. That’s not the way we want to play, not offensively, not defensively."

Players

WALKUP, THOMAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"These games… sometimes you can let them slip. But to play this game is an honor. It means a lot to us, the club, everybody. There is still a lot of pride. So even though technically the game wasn't for a playoff race or a spot or anything, still to come out here and wear this uniform means a lot. So we came out here with intensity and focus and treated the game with respect. Guys stepped up [tonight]. Everybody chipped in on the rebounding, which was huge. The big guys really fought down there. I don't know if they had big rebounding numbers, but them just getting their own on the boxouts and letting everybody else come clean them up is part of the game plan. Helluva job by our bigs."
JANKUNAS, PAULIUS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"I think we were more aggressive. We played more aggressive defense. We controlled the boards because they are second in rebounds in the EuroLeague. I think we wanted to win more."
NEDOVIC, NEMANJA
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens
"We did not have the right body language. I am disappointed. We had no energy and that is the main reason we lost. We conceded 52 points at halftime, something that should not happen with any team. We needed to be more focused. We look tired, but we are not, I do not know why this happens. We did not prepare well individually for this game. If we think there was no motivation or we are looking to find motivation, then we are wrong. We have to watch each game separately because we are entering the part of the season where the titles we are claiming will be [decided]."