2020-21Regular SeasonRound 24
February 23, 2021 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Zalgiris downs undermanned Zvezda

In a replay of their rescheduled Round 24 game, Zalgiris Kaunas saved an essential home win by outlasting undermanned Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 75-62 on Tuesday. Zalgiris lifted its record to 14-11 as it straddles the eighth and final playoff spot while Zvezda fell to 7-17 with its sixth consecutive defeat, ever further from the same goal. It was a tale of two halves. A 0-12 run bridging the first two quarters gave Zvezda control of the scoreboard and an eventual 22-35 lead. Zalgiris inched its way back until a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter put the hosts up 55-50, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way. The Zalgiris defense held Zvezda to 18 second-half points, just 4 in the final quarter. Marius Grigonis led the winners with 17 points, while Nigel Hayes added 16 and Augustine Rubit 15. Zvezda got 16 apiece from Jordan Loyd and Marko Simonovic.



With a triple each, Hayes and Lloyd scored all the points in an early 5-5 tie. Aleksa Uskokovic put Zvezda ahead briefly before Lauvergne and Hayes made it 10-7 for the hosts. Marko Jagoric-Kuridza kept Zvezda close and Marko Simonovic's 5 points in a row shot the visitors in front, 16-18. Hayes and Ognjen Dobric traded baskets before Simonovic measured off 2 more triples as Zvezda held a 22-26 advantage after 10 minutes. Simonovic hit 3 free throws to open the second quarter and Dejan Davidovac buried from long distance for a sudden 22-32 advantage. Zvezda's scrambling defense kept blanking Zalgiris as Dobric joined the visitors' three-point party. Lauvergne ended the hosts' four-minute drought but Jagoric-Kuridza answered with a put-back. Hayes reappeared from the arc and Grigonis copied him for his first points to make it 30-39. Rubit kept it going for Zalgiris and Grigonis buried another triple to complete a 13-4 run to within 35-39. Simonovic restarted Zvezda's offense and Uskokovic hit from deep as the visitors took a 40-44 advantage into halftime.

Uskokovic and Branko Lazic boosted the difference to 50-45 after halftime before Rubit and Grigonis, with a step-back three, took it all back. Grigonis stole and hit free throws for Zalgiris's first lead, 52-50, since 16-15 of the first quarter. Hayes then buried a triple to make it 55-50. Dobric ended Zalgiris's 20-0 run from deep and Lauvergne replied with a hook shot. Loyd took a feed from Davidovac for a layup and then beat the buzzer from deep to keep Zvezda within 60-58 after 30 minutes. Rubit broke 2 scoreless minutes to start the fourth quarter and then Paulius Jankunas tipped in a miss at 64-58, prompting a Zvezda timeout. Rubit and Jankunas kept it going to 68-58 before Loyd stole and finished to break a long drought for the visitors. But Thomas Walkup converted a three-point play next, and with just 3 minutes left, that was too much for Zvezda to recoup.

Zvezda's pride showed

Despite missing five players due to injury and COVID-19 cases, Zvezda came out firing, went ahead by double digits in the second quarter and hit nearly its average with 7 three-pointers before the half. Fatigue and lack of extra help paid a price after that, however, as Zalgiris was able to turn up the intensity such that Zvezda could not match it without missing players Langston Hall, Duop Reath, Landry Nnoko and Quino Colom. Recently recovered guard Corey Walden was with the team but didn't get off the bench. And this week Zvezda parted ways with its second-best scorer and top rebounder, Johnny O'Bryant.

Key contribution

It was still a close 60-58 game early in the fourth quarter when Augustine Rubit broke 2 scoreless minutes with an inside basket, just missed another that Paulius Jankunas tipped in, then scored again, lighting the fuse for what would become an easy finish for Zalgiris. Rubit would have 6 of his 15 points, 4 of his 8 rebounds and a block in that final quarter to finish with a PIR of 16 and help decide the game.

Did you know?

A home win is rare in this 10-game series. Road teams had a 6-3 record coming into Tuesday, and neither team had beaten the other on its own court in their last three meetings. The last home win before Tuesday's by Zalgiris was on January 5, 2018, when Zvezda prevailed 77-65 in Belgrade.

Next Games

Both these teams get right back at it later this week in Round 26. Zalgiris travels to face Real Madrid on Thursday, while Zvezda stays on the road and goes to Spain, as well, facing off with TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Friday.

Marius Grigonis - Zalgiris Kaunas - EB20
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Euroleague.net
Referees: DIFALLAH, MEHDI; PEREZ, EMILIO; PEERANDI, RAIN
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas22182015
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade2618144
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas22406075
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade26445862
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 WALKUP, THOMAS 29:11 6 1/3 1/5 1/1   2 2 7 1       2 5 13
4 LEKAVICIUS, LUKAS 15:32 6 2/2   2/2 1 1 2 1   2     2 1 6
10 HAYES, NIGEL 27:52 16 3/3 3/5 1/2   5 5 3   3       2 20
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 9:32 4 2/2     2 4 6   1 2     2 1 8
16 LUKOSIUNAS, KAROLIS 0:06                              
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 8:23     0/2         2         1   -1
23 GEBEN, MARTINAS 6:17 2 1/1                     1   1
24 RUBIT, AUGUSTINE 25:23 15 7/11   1/2 2 6 8     1 1   3 1 16
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 26:48   0/1     1   1 1   1     3 3  
32 VASTURIA, STEVE 0:06                         1   -1
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 36:18 17 2/2 3/6 4/4 1 2 3 6 1 3     2 5 24
77 LAUVERGNE, JOFFREY 14:32 9 3/8   3/6 2 3 5   3 1       4 12
Team                                
Totals 200:00 75 21/33 7/18 12/17 9 23 32 20 6 13 1 0 17 22 98
        63.6% 38.9% 70.6%
Head coach: SCHILLER, MARTIN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
2 WALDEN, COREY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3 LOYD, JORDAN 28:38 16 3/9 2/5 4/4   3 3 4 1 3   1 3 9 17
4 USKOKOVIC, ALEKSA 19:53 9 3/3 1/2     1 1 2   2     2 2 9
7 DAVIDOVAC, DEJAN 20:47 5 1/3 1/4     1 1 5 3 2     4   3
10 LAZIC, BRANKO 25:15 2 1/1     1 1 2 2         1 1 6
12 RADANOV, ALEKSA 8:09   0/4     2   2 1   1     1 1 -2
13 DOBRIC, OGNJEN 22:31 8 1/3 2/3   2 3 5 1 1 3     2 1 8
19 SIMONOVIC, MARKO 31:37 16 2/2 3/8 3/3 1 2 3           2 2 14
21 JAGODIC-KURIDZA, MARKO 20:32 4 2/6     2 1 3 1   2     4 1 -1
22 SIMANIC, BORISA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
32 KUZMIC, OGNJEN 22:38 2 1/4     1 4 5   2       3   3
Team             2 2               2
Totals 200:00 62 14/35 9/22 7/7 9 18 27 16 7 13 0 1 22 17 59
        40% 40.9% 100%
Head coach: RADONJIC, DEJAN

Head Coaches

SCHILLER, MARTIN
Zalgiris Kaunas
"First of all, I have to compliment the guys on the win, and then on the defensive performance in the second half. Red Star scored 18 points and 4 points in the last quarter. So that was really good. I thought the guys locked in and were very focused in the second half, tactically. And then also, I want to say that obviously Red Star ran out of gas. One can't forget that. They're hit badly [with injury and sickness]. Walden was here but didn't play. So, with all the respect, we have to give them that. They fought hard but we also wore them down in the end."
RADONJIC, DEJAN
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
“Congratulation to Zalgiris for the win. In our circumstances right now, without so many players, not only today but the last 20 days, I can say we played a very solid game, with good things and mistakes. In the end, our offense in the second half was not good enough to play a tight game and have a chance for the win. But I don't have too much to say to my players, because I know what we've had to deal with in the last 20 days without so many players, and I hope we'll have some of them back in practice in a few days."

Players

HAYES, NIGEL
Zalgiris Kaunas
"We did a much better job [in the second half]. That's one of the things that a lot of guys were talking about in the locker room, matching the intensity that they were playing with. They're in an unfortunate situation; they don't have their full roster, playing with seven or eight guys. So, we used that to our advantage. We did a good job of wearing them down, and I think you saw it in the fourth quarter. They were a little gassed. It's unfortunate the situation they are in, but in EuroLeague you have to take every win you can."
GRIGONIS, MARIUS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"We were sloppy on defense [in the first half]. We didn't make any contact on the defensive end. So that was the key. I don't know how many points we allowed in the second half, but for sure it was not a lot. They didn't have some players, and we used that situation. Winning streak or losing streak, I am trying to never overthink that."
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