Kaunas Zalgiris Euroleague's fight began with a particularly painful score of only 43 points, with the club's record and a 33-point loss to Istanbul's Fenerbahche.
The start of the match seems to have confirmed all predictions that it will be a chess game and a very cool game. It was what happened – fouls, interruptions, errors and 13: 9 greyhounds were beaten for little more than 7 minutes. However, this was the last time the game was in front of the guests.
In the second quarter, after 40 seconds, Nate Wolters drew the scoreboard (15.15), but in the remaining 9 minutes, Kaunas's team rebuked only 6 points. Fenerbahce started to pull away and the division 8: 0 allowed him to score 12 points – 31:19. Zalgiris finally managed to score points (21:31), but another 2 minutes of silence led to a break with a deficit of 17 points – 21:38. Considered the great significance of what was happening in the second part of the meeting, because the Fenerbahče simply dominated and got a sure win.
In order to find the reasons for such a defeat, it is first necessary to distinguish only 7 successful and poorly performing transmissions. Leo Westermann, Thomas Walkup and Nate Wolters were very poorly organized and completely out of their rhythm. This trio made 4 successful transmissions and made 6 errors.
The organizers of the attack repeatedly and twice lost situations when Brandon Davies, Don Thompson or Antanas Kavaliauskas, under the baskets, had an advantage over a smaller player, but were late with the decisions or accepted them wrong. Zalgiris could hit rivals in the front row, with Ahmet Duverioglu having 5 fouls in 18 minutes, and Jan Vesely was caught in just 10 minutes. However, Fenerbahce also managed to make a major contribution to his basic human cases. A lot of invisible work was done by Nicolo Melli, who in just 24 minutes fell into the basket almost twice and hit both, but he did a great job when he could trade safely with the defenders in the parquet "Fenerbahchen". It is no coincidence that the Italian "more / less" indicator was the best of the team – plus 22.
It should be noted that the form was not only after the injury was returned to J.Velyely, but also to Kostas Sloukas. In 16 minutes, the Greek hit a 4-pointer, recovered 2 balls and made the same number of successful transfers. Normally, after defending 14-15 points, Žalgiris' basketball defender was not aggressive and did not make a big difference in the result, as shown by "only" plus 4. "Only" because the team won 33 points and the "plus" only two players is less than 10.
After a pause Marius Grigonis attempted to rescue the game Žalgiris static, who was the best player with 10 points and 10 points in the protocol. The defender attempted to defeat his opponents 'defenses and inflicted 6 opponents' fouls, but all games were illustrated by an episode when Grigon lost both of those fines, despite reaching 79 out of 82 before. It was not Grunwald's day.
Did Žalgiris return to the second match?
Becoming a leader in this 6th winning section of the game, B. Davies seemed on fire – a dirty attack, many conversations with the judges and "less" utility. The American had many senior men. the reproach of the coach when he went to the bank. It was David Davies that we could expect the maximum, but at the first meeting there was no leader who could grab the team and distinguish only Grigon and Aaron White, who scored 8 points.
There was a big change in the episodes when, after a minute of interval, Žalgiris returned to the wrong point and lost the ball. One such episode was recorded when A. Whitney attempted to throw the ball underneath the bag with B.Davies but did so inaccurately, so that the game tool fell into the first line of viewers. We are well aware that Zalgiris is one of the best attacks on the Euroleague teams after the meetings, but nothing worked on Tuesday. Even in the third quarter, the bad shots that emerged were fleeing. I do not want to believe that the greyhounds quickly broke and lowered their hands, because emotional training will be very important on Thursday.
The players of both teams must be in good condition and ready for the second in the second series, since Edgaras Ulanovas was the biggest basketball player on the ground – 25 min. It's 11 sec. Even in Žalgiris, only 2 players exceeded the 20-minute limit, and in Fenerbahche four players played more than 20 minutes.
Zalgiris has no "X Factor" in its composition – it's naïve to expect Paul Jankūnas to go to the parquet and change the flow of the series. Probably even a small chance he might show up in the quarterfinals. But without surprises, the Greeks have guns, but above all it demands a much better performance by the players. We have seen what Žalgiris can attack when the ball moves well when decisions are made on time and on the spot, attacking the places you want to attack. It all starts with creativity and the meaning of the creators of Zalgiris is enormous.
Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe's reservations are as obvious as KSloukas and J.Vesely. The Greek certainly would play better in important moments and in a difficult match, and here is some hesitation about the "center" because he just went after the trauma and is seen as out of the game. In a few days, the situation should not change drastically, but we should not expect Mr. Velyely to play so badly again.
The Fenerbahce team can fall into a bunch of bananas that fell to win so easily. Željko Obradovičius will have to spend 48 hours not for some tactical changes, but to keep his students in maximum concentration, as players can begin to think after this easy walk that everything in this series has been made and decided. No need to look for examples: 211 m. The walls of Montepaschi lost 41:89 in Piraeus, but they reached another game (82:65), then won two more home games and went to the four finalists. The same Panathinaika team from Athens knocked out Real Madrid last year at 95:67 but lost three straight games and the Spanish team won the Euroleague. Let him be an example to the Greeks.
It can be said that, currently, Fenerbahče are the team that shows the strongest basketball of the Euroleague, but it is not 33 points better than the Zalgiris in the match. Zalgiris can, and should, play better than we should see on Thursday night.