Zalgiris defeats Maccabi in style 24
Zalgiris Kaunas got back to its winnings ways, defeating visiting Maccabi Tel Aviv 99-84 in Zalgirio Arena on Thursday night. With the win Zalgiris improved to 13-8 for a share of at least fifth place in the standings, while Maccabi dropped to 11-10 in eighth place.
Zalgiris led for the majority of the night, but pulled away for good with a 16-4 third-quarter run that opened a 16-point margin and the Lithuanian champs never looked back. Kevin Pangos led the way with 16 points and 11 assists and Paulius Jankunas eturned from injury to post 17 points and 7 rebounds. Axel Toupane added 15 points and Arturas Milaknis and Vasilije Micic scored 12 apiece in victory. Zalgiris set a club record with 29 assists and tied a record with 14 three-pointers.
Michael Roll scored 17 for Maccabi, Artsiom Parakhousi collected 14 points and 7 rebounds and DeShaun Thomas, Jonah Bolden and Pierre Jackson each got 12 points in defeat.
After a pair of put-backs by Bolden, Toupane scored from long and close range to give Zalgiris an early lead. Roll and Jankunas traded baseline jumpers, before another corner three from Toupane opened a 14-8 margin. Maccabi went to the foul line often and Thomas and Norris Cole scored from close range, but Aaron White hit a corner triple, Toupane added a three-point play and Micic had a three-pointer that helped the hosts stay in front. Milaknis finished the first quarter with a fastbreak layup to make it 26-20 after 10 minutes.
Milaknis hit three triples in as many attempts in a span of less than two minutes to start the second quarter, extending the margin to 37-23. Maccabi got back into it behind 6 points from Parakhouski, and with Jackson, Roll, Bolden and John DiBartolomeo making 12 of 13 free throws and cutting the deficit to 47-41. But Pangos made a transition triple and Zalgiris led 53-46 at halftime.
Maccabi missed all 8 three-point attempts in the first half, but Bolden and Jackson hit back-to-back threes in the early going of the third quarter to close the deficit to 55-54. Zalgiris bettered that with Edgaras Ulanovas, Pangos and Jankunas hitting triples on three consecutive possessions for a 64-58 advantage. A pair of baskets from Antanas Kavaliauskas continued the run before a runner from Pangos helped re-open a double-digit lead, 71-58. Pangos continued orchestrating things, finding Micic for an open corner three, and Brandon Davies dished to White, whose big dunk extended the lead to 76-60 with one minute left in the third.
The hosts led 76-62 going into the fourth quarter and Toupane with a driving layup and Jankunas with a jumper helped keep Zalgiris in control. After Parakhouski made an alley-oop layup, Pangos replied with a runner. After Roll hit a triple to cut it to 87-75, Micic answered right back with a three of his own and Zalgiris cruised the rest of the way.