Fourth-quarter heroics give Zalgiris vital victory 0
Zalgiris Kaunas bounced back from a 14-point deficit to keep its playoff challenge alive with a 64:58 victory over Panathinaikos Athens. The Lithuanian champs improved to 11-14, while the Greens dropped to 14-11.
The win came courtesy of a 30-point fourth quarter by the home team, nearly doubling its output from the opening three periods thanks to a burst of three-pointers. Leo Westermann was the outstanding individual performer with a game-high 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, while backcourt partner Kevin Pangos dished a career-high 9 assists. Arturas Milaknis scored 13 points and big men Paulius Jankunas and Brock Motum netted 11 apiece.
Panathinaikos center Ioannis Bourousis grabbed 5 boards to overtake Felipe Reyes as the league’s all-time leading rebounder. The visitors’ attack was led by Nikos Pappas with 13 points and Chris Singleton with 11, but they were ultimately undone by failing to sufficiently extend their lead during the long periods when Zalgiris’s offense was faltering.
After a low scoring start, Singleton’s triple sparked a 0:9 run for the visitors to give Panathinaikos a 3:11 lead, before Westermann scored 4 to narrow the gap. The defenses were held strong during the early stages of the second quarter, with the two teams combining for only 6 points in the first five minutes. A close-range bucket from Bourousis and a fastbreak slam by James Feldeine made it 11:25, before Zalgiris stopped the rot with triples from Milaknis and Westermann, and a ferocious dunk by Edgaras Ulanovas. Pappas responded to give Panathinaikos a 19:31 half-time lead.
The start of the second half was also low scoring, with Panathinaikos netting just 2 points in the first five minutes. Zalgiris narrowed the gap with triples from Pangos and Motum to bridge the third and fourth quarters, before Motum tied it with seven minutes remaining, and another downtown strike from Westermann gave Zalgiris its first lead since the third minute. Pappas converted a basket-plus-foul to make it 56:54 with two minutes left, but Jankunas scored 5 consecutive points and there was no way back for the visitors.