By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a new record in the latest Turkish Airlines EuroLeague format and also a repeat of Real Madrid’s record of 13 straight wins from the 2013-14 season.
Fernandez set the tone early, finishing the game with 15 points on five made threes, while Trey Thompkins added 20 points on four threes.
“We played tough tonight. We know Zalgiris is a tough team, they defend well, but we controlled the rebounds. I’ll do whatever team needs, whether it’s playing at 3, 4 or 5″, said Thompkins.
The hosts got the lead from the first quarter, they had a six-point advantage at halftime (47-41), which reached almost double-digits by the end of the third (68-59), and they closed the night the right way.
Zalgiris cut the final point difference to six thanks to a 4-0 run in the closing seconds, when the outcome of the game couldn’t change.
Lukas Lekavicius scored 21 points for Zalgiris, and Thomas Walkup added 19. They tried their best, but the Lithuanians couldn’t contain Madrid, either capitalize on the fact that they had six fewer turnovers compared to the Spanish side (15-9).
“Let’s go step by step”
After one more demonstration of power, coach Pablo Laso tried with his statements to keep his team grounded: “The team rankings of 107 to 76 means we had control of the game during the 40 minutes, but Zalgiris fought and showed it to the last play. You give them a lot of credit for that fight, but we were solid enough to get the victory. Let’s go step by step. Now we have 13 wins in a row, but that doesn’t matter. We’ve got to start to think about the double-header next week, we know how difficult it is to play at CSKA on their floor, and we also go to Khimki, so it will be a tough week. I hope Llull and Deck can be back; we need to recover our best players and keep working. I’m happy, of course, but there is still a lot of EuroLeague to go.”
On the other side, Zalgiris coach Saras Jasikevicius pretty much agreed: “We fought well, but in the end our tactical errors left us behind. Generally, I’m not unhappy with the game, but we gifted them too much and if you do that to Real Madrid it’s very difficult to win here. Seventeen fouls by us aren’t enough. We have to make more fouls and be a lot harder. He made a lot of mistakes – if you let players like Rudy shoot without contact…we weren’t tough enough with him. We allowed too many triples today with a lot of errors by ourselves.”