Zalgiris edges out Rytas to win Lithuania’s league

2023-06-10T18:27:22+00:00 2023-06-10T21:07:26+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

10/Jun/23 18:27

Isaiah Taylor carries Zalgiris to the Betsafe LKL championship

By Eurohoops Team/

Prevailing in the exciting do-or-die Game 5, Zalgiris used a strong finish to prevail, 97-87, versus Rytas and win Lithuania’s top-flight division Saturday.

Earning the homecourt advantage through finishing first in the Betsafe LKL Regular Season, Zalgiris got a third win in Kaunas, thus the 24th LKL championship in league history, despite losing twice in Vilnius. The attendance announced was 14,077 with visiting Rytas supporters adding to the total.

The first two Finals showings in Zalgirio Arena saw the hosts getting separation in the third quarter. In contrast, the last part of the best-of-five championship series went down the wire with an 11-0 finishing run deciding the winner. The defending champions led 87-86 before the 11 unanswered points down the stretch.

Complementing a hot finish to the 2022-23 campaign with yet another season-high, Isaiah Taylor stood out with 32 points, including 13 in the last ten minutes. Facing his former team, Arnas Butkevicius followed with 16 points. Rolands Smits and Ignas Brazdeikis threw in 11 points each. Keenan Evans (Achilles) and Achille Polonara (thigh) expectedly stayed on the injury list for the team coached by Kazys Maksvytis to end the season.

Silencing the soldout crowd for large chunks of the back-and-forth affair, the team coached by Giedrius Zibenas fell narrowly shy of a back-to-back domestic league championship. Kendale McCullum produced a team-high 20 points and Marcus Foster had 17 points. Sidelined for over two months, Martynas Echodas (shoulder) was the lone unavailable player.

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