By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
In a battle between a playoff-chasing team and a side that has already qualified for the postseason, Zalgiris played one of the best games of their season against Monaco at Zalgirio Arena, the venue of this season’s Final Four. The home team won 79-70.
The Lithuanian team came into this game on the back of a successive defeat, but now played incredible basketball from the tip-off and stays alive in the playoff race. Zalgiris is now tied with Baskonia with 16 wins and 15 losses between the 8th and the 9th position. The Spanish team is occupying the eighth spot at the moment, while Partizan is ahead with 17 wins.
“We are happy. We won against a great team. We will continue to fight, basketball without fighting is nothing“, said Zalgiris coach Kazys Maksvytis.
Ignas Brazdeikis was on fire scoring 22 points and hitting four three-pointers while missing just one attempt. Laurynas Birutis and Arnas Butkevicius followed with 10 points.
“We executed the game plan. It’s do or die for us. We are coming out hard every game. As for my game, I just wanted to be aggressive“, said Brazdeikis.
For Monaco Jordan Loyd and Donatas Motiejunas had 13 points. Mike James came back after the suspension only to score six points.
Zalgiris had a comfortable lead after the first quarter (28-19). The home side played better and had a 12-point advantage heading into the final 10 minutes (65-53). Monaco tried to make a push, but good team defense on Mike James and the rest got the job done in the end.
“We did not try enough. We will learn from this game. Our attitude will have to change if we want to win big“, said Sasa Obradovic, Monaco coach.
Last push for the playoffs
Zalgiris stayed alive in the playoffs race, but still is ninth in the tie with Baskonia and needs to do more.
As Brazdeikis admitted: “It’s damned near do-or-die for us, so every single game is whether we make the playoffs or not. We’re coming out as best as we can every single game, we’re going hard in practice, so we’ve just got to keep this momentum going”.
Zalgiris center Laurynas Birutis agreed and waits for the next game against Valencia: “From the start, we kept fighting, being aggressive at both ends; defensive and offensive. We struggled a bit with offensive rebounds, but they missed a lot of shots. We kept on fighting and got the result. I felt good, I just try to bring as much energy as I can. We are just looking at each game as a final. We are now thinking about three games left, we are just looking to the next game, which is against Valencia.”