Valencia ends Zalgiris's unbeaten run
Valencia Basket erupted for 57 second-half points in an 82-94 come-from-behind victory over Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday evening at Zalgirio Arena. The result handed Zalgiris its first loss of the season as it fell to 4-0, while Valencia improved to 3-1. After trailing by 10 in the second quarter, Valencia used a 2-17 third-quarter run to turn the game on its head and never let up. Bojan Dubljevic and Vanja Marinkovic scored 16 points apiece for the winners, Nikola Kalinic added 14 points, Klemen Prepelic 13, Louis Labeyrie 12 and Sam Van Rossom dished 8 assists. For Zalgiris, Marius Grigonis and Augustine Rubit each scored 12 and Nigel Hayes and Joffrey Lauvergne had 11 points apiece.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Steve Vasturia and Grigonis helped the hosts race out to an 8-2 start. Marinkovic and Kalinic both connected from deep for Valencia to get within 11-10 before a Marinkovic layup gave the visitors their first lead, 14-16, midway through the first quarter. Lukas Lekavicius and Rokas Jokubaitis came off the bench to restore a Zalgiris advantage and Arturas Milaknis, with the team's 7th triple of the opening quarter, gave the hosts a 27-22 lead after 10 minutes. Hayes joined the three-point shootout to push the Zalgiris to 32-24, however, Derrick Williams got involved and quickly halved that Valencia deficit. Hayes heated up with a pair of jumpers and Rubit's bucket in the paint created a double-figure advantage, 43-33. Dubljevic's put-back cut into the deficit, but free throws from Grigonis left Zalgiris ahead 45-37 at the break.
Like in the first quarter, Kalinic and Marinkovic made early threes and this time Dubljevic joined them to draw Valencia to 49-48, which prompted a Zalgiris timeout. The stop changed little as a Dubljevic triple put Valencia ahead. Sam Van Rossom stepped up with a floater and Prepelic added 5 quick points to further extend the margin. Kalinic's basket-plus-foul completed a 2-17 run that made it 51-60. Rubit stepped up for Zalgiris, but Guillem Vives ended the third quarter with a jumper that made it 57-67. A deep three-pointer by Marinkovic 4 minutes into the fourth quarter gave Valencia its biggest lead, 59-75. Threes by Lekavicius and Milaknis gave Zalgiris hope at 70-80 with 3 minutes remaining, but Valencia, led by Labeyrie, continued to score with ease and marched to an impressive road win.
Dominating the paint
The visitors played better in the paint by outrebounding Zalgiris 24-34. They also had 16 second-chance points, which were half as many as the hosts. Valencia made 22 of 30 two-pointers (73.3%), too. Those numbered combined with 14-for-32 three-point shooting (43.8%) and committing only 10 turnovers on the road were recipes for success.
To live and die by the three
Zalgiris took charge early when it made its first 4 three-pointers and was shooting 7 for 9 from downtown after 10 minutes. However, the Lithuanian champs never found that stroke again and were 4 for 19 (21.0%) the rest of the way.
Valencia record book
Valencia set a club record for assists in a road game with 25, which was 3 more than the club's previous best set last season at Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. The team's 22-of-30 two-point shooting was the third most accurate. Of its two better games was a 73.9% effort last season in Kaunas.
Both teams will be on the road in Round 6. Joffrey Lauvergne will take his teammates to his native country when Zalgiris visits LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Thursday, October 29. Valencia will visit CSKA Moscow the same evening.
Thursday, October 22, 2020