In Kaunas, the land of the coach of the Barça Sarunas Jasikevicius, the Barça team found themselves with the victory after two defeats in a row by winning by 62-73
Brandon Davies and Kyle Kuric have been the two leaders of the Barça in Lithuania, with 16 and 15 points each, in a special match for Jasikevicius, who faced his hometown team, the same one he trained until last season. In fact, this Thursday the club’s leaders presented him with the Lithuanian league champion medal.
The Barca raised his voice from the start 0-6 to start and left Zalgiris scoreless until minute 5, when Thomas Walkup scored the first two points of the match for Kaunas.
That play woke up the attack of Zalgiris, who thanks to a 7-0 run managed to get ahead on the scoreboard with 11-10 (min. 7).
Since then the two teams alternated in the leadership of the party, until Barça made a final arreón with a final basket from Rolands Smits to end the quarter 14-17.
A triple by Kuric again extended the distance for Barça to six points with 16-22 (min. 22). From there, Barça ran aground in attack and Zalgiris took advantage of it to move positions closer. Kuric himself, who stood with 10 points before the end of the first quarter, was in charge of ending the drought on the next play with a two-shot that made it 20-24 (min. 24).
The two sets moved during the first half in percentages of 50% on shots of two which caused the score to advance slowly. For example, thanks to two free throws by Mirotic that put the maximum provisional advantage for Barça with 22-29 (min.25).
But every time the Catalans tried to escape, the locals responded with small 4-0 sets to adjust the give and take again. Although their lack of success from the line of three (0 hits of 7 attempts in the first half) prevented them from finishing turning the result, which at halftime reflected a 33-39.
Barça started the second half in the same way as the first: with a resounding partial. In this case, from 0 to 7. And the Barça advantage was projected until 33-46 (min.22).
From then on, Jasikevicius’s team made the most of the advantage with a good stretch of the game from Brandon Davies and prevented Zalgiris from reducing the advantage below 10 points.
But Rokas Jokubaitis ‘scoring contribution managed to overcome this barrier despite Zalgiris’ inability to score from the three line. At the end of the third quarter, which ended with an open 48-55, the local quarter in triples was already 0 of 11.
The locals had found a way to short-circuit Barça’s ideas and, suddenly, they found the formula to score from the line of three with two triples in a row that put an alarming 54-57 for Barça (min. 33).
Jasikevicius began to make waves in the air in a clear sign of discontent with what was happening on the track.
But then two triples in a row by Hanga and Abrines hit the final table with 56-65 (min.37). The Zalgiris was already unable to react.
62— Zalgiris Kaunas (14 + 19 + 15 + 14): Nigel Hayes (10), Joffrey Lauvergne (10), Marius Grigonis (5), Thomas Walkup (5), Steve Vasturia (2) -starting five-; Rokas Jokubaitis (10), Arturas Milaknis (2), Augustine Rubit (6), Paulius Jankunas (-), Lukas Lekavicius (5), Martinas Geben (2).
73— Barça (17 + 22 + 16 + 18): Cory Higgins (7), Nikola Mirotic (9), Calathes (6), Álex Abrines (6), Pierre Oriola (6) -starting five-; Rolands Smits (3), Kyle Kuric (15), Sergi Martínez (-) Thomas Heurtel (-), Adam Hanga (5), Brandon Davies (16).
Referees: Sasa Pukl, Tomislav Hordov, Michele Rossi.
Incidents: match of the twelfth day of the Euroleague contested without an audience at the Zalgiris Arena due to sanitary restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.