Zalgiris edges Milan, breaks home-court jinx
Zalgiris Kaunas finally pulled out a close game at home to register its first win at the packed Zalgirio Arena this season by edging visiting AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 83-78 on Thursday night. Led by big man Brandon Davies, Zalgiris snapped its three-game losing streak and moved to 4-6 for the season, while Milan dropped to 6-4. Davies scored a career-high 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with 4 assists. Nate Wolters also shined with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Mike James scored 17 points to go with 7 assists for Milan, while Arturas Gudaitis collected 16 points and 7 rebounds against his former team.
In the early going, Jeff Brooks and James had a three-pointer each for Milan, but Davies and Wolters had two close-range baskets apiece before a three-point play from Marius Grigonis made it 13-11. Milan answered through Andrea Cinciarini and Gudaitis in using a 2-10 run bridging first and second quarter to take an 18-25 lead. Mindaugas Kuzminskas drove for a reverse dunk that made it 22-29, but Edgaras Ulanovas, Davies and Aaron White fueled a big run for the hosts, who scored 18 consecutive points. The hosts went into the break up 40-31. Gudaitis scored repeatedly in the third quarter to get the visitors within 6 before back-to-back triples from Dairis Bertans got Milan all the way back, 53-52. Davies gave the hosts some breathing room with 5 consecutive points, but Kuzminskas hit a three-pointer in the waning seconds of the third to make it 60-58 after 30 minutes. Zalgiris extended the margin again with the play of Antanas Kavaliauskas inside and Milaknis knocking down one from outside for a 69-61 cushion. Kuzminskas had a three-pointer and a dunk in a 0-7 run as the visitors were back within a single point. But Zalgiris never relinquished the lead. Wolters and Ulanovas made it 73-68 and after a pair of baskets from Micov that kept the visitors close, Wolters and Davies scored in the final 40 seconds to seal the deal.
Brandon Davies improved his career-high in scoring for the second game in a row. After scoring 23 points against Khimki in Round 9, he bettered it with 27 points on a career-best 11-for-15 two-point shooting against Milan.
The big run
Zalgiris took control of the game with an 18-0 run in the second quarter which turned a 22-29 deficit into 40-29 lead. The hosts never relinquished the lead, even though Milan came within a single point twice in the second half.
Zalgiris had lost all five games at home before this victory and was on a losing streak after losing three consecutive games by a combined margin of 6 points.
Free throw woes
Milan made just 8 of 16 free throws in the game. Seven different Milan players attempted at least one free throw, and every single one of them missed at least once.
Both teams will be at home next Thursday in Round 11. Zalgiris will welcome Olympiacos Piraeus in a rematch of their EuroLeague Playoff series from last season, while Milan will host Herbalife Gran Canaria.
Thursday, November 29, 2018