Zalgiris (6-14) comes off a narrow road loss against Panathinaikos but has been doing better. After a recent nine-game losing streak, Zalgiris went on to win three of its next five games. ALBA (7-13) comes off a triumphant double-round week, with road wins against Olympiacos and Zvezda, and now looks for another one. Zach LeDay (10.9 ppg.), Lukas Lekavicius (10.8) and Jock Landale (10.5) are leading Zalgiris right now. Rokas Giedraitis (13.5) is ALBA's top scorer, followed by Marcus Eriksson (10.9) and Martin Hermannsson (10.7).
As expected, Zalgiris Kaunas head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius is bringing out the best in Lekavicius. In the last four games, Lekavicius has averaged 19.3 points on 65.4% two-pointers, 66.6% three-pointers and 100% free throws, good for a PIR average of 20.3. He will not have it easy against Peyton Siva, a pass-first playmaker and a solid scorer with unlimited range who is ready for a big challenge now that he is injury-free.
Earlier this season
In Round 11, ALBA topped Zalgiris 69-62 in front of over 10,000 fans at Mercedes-Benz Arena. Neils Giffey led the winners with 13 points. Hermannsson added 11 while Luke Sikma and Landy Nnoko each had 10 for ALBA. LeDay led Zalgiris with 15 points. ALBA limited Zalgiris to just 2-of-23 three-point shots, its second-worst percentage (8.7%) in 408 EuroLeague games played this century.
Keys to victory: Zalgiris
Zalgiris is hitting just a third of its three-point shots (78-of-234, 33.3%) at home and is also struggling (49.0%) inside the arc. Feeding off its crowd's energy will be very important for Zalgiris, as well as sharing the ball better, considering that it ranks 17th assists at 15.7 per game. Lekavicius has been on fire lately, but he will need help, especially from his frontcourt teammates, to make Zalgiris as competitive as it can be.
Keys to victory: ALBA
ALBA leads the EuroLeague in turnovers (14.5 per game), a critical issue to make the most out of its run-and-gun offense. ALBA is also first in assists (19.8 apg.) despite not having the best shooting percentages (50.3% 2FG, 38.8% 3FG). Overcoming the strong basketball atmosphere at Zalgirio Arena will be important for ALBA, as well as getting its most experienced players – Sikma, Siva and Giedraitis – involved on offense.