ALBA Berlin got an up-close and personal reminder of just how good Marius Grigonis is as the Lithuanian star provided another display of his big-game heroics for Zalgiris Kaunas in beating his former team. Grigonis, who played for ALBA in the 2017-18 season, scored 8 of his 12 points in the final 3 minutes to carry Zalgiris to a 71-74 victory in Germany and extend the team’s winning streak to five games.
With ALBA answering every punch, Grigonis downed back-to-back baskets for a 63-67 lead. He then assisted on Arturas Milaknis's three-pointer to make it 65-70. And to finish off his former team, the 26-year-old calmly hit 2 free throws with 13 seconds left and added 2 more foul shots with 3.5 ticks on the clock.
It was the second time in a week that Grigonis trounced the dreams of a German club. In Round 16, Grigonis scored the game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left as Zalgiris survived a 74-73 battle with visiting FC Bayern Munich.
After the Bayern game, Zalgiris's first-year head coach Martin Schiller told the post-game press conference: "When I took the job here, that was the first thing they said: 'At the end of the game, the ball has to go to Marius Grigonis.' So, that's what we planned."
The reserved Schiller fought off a smile and as it turns out, rightfully so as Grigonis has now shown in two straight games that he is the man to provide the late-game heroics.
Grigonis has stepped up his game in the winning streak. After being held to just 5 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist in the Round 12 loss to FC Barcelona, he has averaged 16.2 points on 66.7% two-point shooting and 46.2% shooting on three-pointers to go with 3.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists. All of those numbers, except for the three-point shooting, are over Grigonis's season averages.
Also included is a game-winning jumper and 2 game-deciding free throws - as to which ALBA all too well can attest.