Dentmon sets Euroleague record in Zalgiris’s big win 0

Zalgiris Kaunas finished its 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague in outstanding fashion by downing Real Madrid 87-80 at home in Group F on Friday. Zalgiris finished Group F with a 2-12 record. Real Madrid was second at 9-3 and will face defending champion Olympiacos Piraeus in the playoffs – a rematch of last season’s final.

Justin Dentmon paced the winners with 36 points on 7-of-11 three-point shooting. Dentmon broke an all-time Euroleague record for most three-pointers in a season with 74. The previous record belonged to Terrell McIntyre, who fired in 71 three-point shots with Montepaschi Siena in 2007-08. It was this season’s second-best scoring night – Andres Nocioni had 37 against FC Barcelona the night before and a new club record for Zalgiris.

Sergio Llull led Madrid with 23 points, while Ioannis Bourousis and Sergio Rodriguez each added 13.

Madrid had a strong start and consecutive baskets by Llull gave the guests a 7-14 lead. Dentmon and Mindaugas Kupsas helped Zalgiris tie the game at 18-18 after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Dentmon gave Zalgiris a 31-26 edge, but Dani Diez and Sergio Rodriguez led Madrid to regain the lead, 36-38, at halftime. Madrid still led 57-59 at the end of the third quarter, but Dentmon had 13 points in the final seven minutes to ensure Zalgiris grabbed a big home win.

First quarter: Dentmon shines, keeps Zalgiris in the game

Paulius Jankunas got Zalgiris going with a turnaround jumper, which Ioannis Bourousis matched with a jump hook. Dentmon sank a six-meter jumper that Rudy Fernandez bettered with a rainbow triple for a 4-5 Madrid lead. Nikola Mirotic shined with a wild fast break layup, before Dentmon and Bourousis struck from downtown. An off-balance jumper by Sergio Llull caused Zalgiris to call timeout at 7-12. A block by Mirotic allowed Llull to score again, as Zalgiris kept missing open shots. The hosts missed 4 shots and committed 3 turnovers until Marty Pocius stepped up with a layup. Dentmon found Mindaugas Kupsas for a two-handed slam that ignited the crowd at 11-14. Llull kept pacing Madrid with a driving layup that Dentmon erased with a mid-range jumper. Marcus Slaughter shined with an alley-oop layup, but an off-balance basket by Kupsas and a triple by Dentmon tied it at 18-18 after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Diez helps Los Blancos to slim lead

Arturas Gudaitis and Slaughter traded layups early in the second quarter and Tomas Dimsa soon restored a 22-20 Zalgiris lead. Felipe Reyes took over with a three-point play, as Madrid tried twin point guards with Sergio Rodriguez and Dontaye Draper together on court. Arturas Milaknis downed a three-pointer, but Rodriguez quickly answered from downtown for a 25-26 Madrid edge. Robertas Javtokas shined with a layup-plus-foul and Dentmon downed a triple in transition to boost Zalgiris’s lead to 31-26. Rodriguez scored in penetration and followed Dani Diez’s free throw with his second three-pointer to put Madrid back ahead, 31-32. Pocius rescued Zalgiris with a fast break layu,p but Diez followed a triple with a backdoor layup for a 33-37 Madrid lead. Pocius downed a three-pointer, but and a free throw by Draper gave Madrid a 36-38 edge at halftime.

Third quarter: Dentmon breaks Euroleague record!

Dentmon struck from downtown to put Zalgiris back ahead, 39-38, right after the break. Llull stepped up with a fast break layup and an off-balance three-point play by Bourousis gave Madrid a 39-43 margin. Pocius finished a two-chance Zalgiris offense with a driving layup and a fade-away jumper by Jankunas tied it at 43-43. Bourousis took over with a dunk-and-foul that Milaknis erased with a corner triple. Dentmon scored again, but Llull answered with another driving layup. Tadas Klimavicius beat the shot-clock buzzer with a turnaround jumper to put Zalgiris back ahead, 50-48. Bourousis made free throws and Rodriguez found Llull for a three-pointer which gave Madrid a 3-point edge. Kupsas banked in a jump hook, but Fernandez made free throws and Llull dunked off a steal before Zalgiris called timeout at 52-57. Dentmon hit his fifth three from downtown, breaking the all-time record for most three-pointers in a Euroleague season. Free throws by Reyes and Dentmon fixed the score at 57-59 through three quarters.

Fourth quarter: Dentmon stays on fire, Zalgiris wins!

Vytenis Lipkevicius shined with a wild reverse layup early in the fourth quarter. Madrid kept struggling to score and a three-pointer by Dimsa sent the crowd to their feet at 62-59. The guests were held scoreless for more than three minutes and another triple by Dentmon forced head coach Pablo Laso to call timeout at 65-59. Javtokas ignited the crowd with a slam, Draper connected from downtown and Pocius gave Zalgiris a 6-point lead with under six minutes left. Llull hit a step-back jumper that Dentmon bettered with 3 free throws. Reyes made foul shots, but he didn’t find much help around. Meanwhile, a three-point play by Javtokas seemed to seal the outcome, 74-66, with three minutes left. Dentmon took over with a driving layup and soon added free throws that allowed Zalgiris to start celebrating at 78-68. Madrid kept trying, but Zalgiris had finished its Euroleague season in the best way possible.