Zalgiris ends Zvezda streak in Belgrade 19
Zalgiris Kaunas put on a master class in intensity to steal a 70-76 road win over Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, breaking the latter’s four-game winning streak.
Lukas Lekavicius led the winners with 17 points, while Zach LeDay added 10.
Lorenzo Brown had 14 for Zvezda, which had led by 45-38 right after halftime. That’s when Zalgiris responded with a 0-11 run to take control of the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Ognjen Kuzmic with a put-back and Branko Lazic on the break got Zvezda on the board before Arturas Milaknis hit 3 triples in an 0-11 response by Zalgiris. Kuzmic kept racking up offensive rebounds as Brown drained a triple, dunked off a steal and fed Borisa Simanic for a slam as Zvezda went ahead 14-13. They traded baskets and free throws until a driving layup by K.C. Rivers gave the visitors a 20-22 edge after 10 minutes.
James Gist detonated a game-tying dunk before Rivers and Kevin Punter hit dueling triples and Ognjen Dobric copied them for a new Zvezda lead, 32-31. Again, a series of ties ensued. Thomas Walkup broke two of them for Zalgiris, but Vladimir Stimac evened the score 38-38 at the break.
Simanic and Billy Baron drilled triples in a 7-0 Zvezda start to the third quarter for Zvezda before Jock Landale, Lekavicius and LeDay started and Edgaras Ulanovas completed an 0-11 run to a 45-49 Zalgiris lead. At that time, Zalgiris was using a full-court press that Brown finally broke with a corner triple at 50-50. Ulanovas broke the next tie from downtown and Lekavicius added free throws for a 53-57 Zalgiris advantage after 30 minutes.
Zalgiris veteran Paulius Jankunas broke the all-time EuroLeague record with his 1,783rd rebound to start the final quarter, sending Nigel Hayes the other way for triple to which he added a layup for the game’s high lead, 53-62. Gist’s super slam was soon answered by Lekavicius from deep. Baron hit a long jumper that Walkup answered, but Baron was soon back with a fallaway triple to make it 61-66 with under 4 minutes left. Gist spiked an offensive rebound at 63-68, but Landale’s three-point play gave Zalgiris breathing room. Zvezda got as close as 70-75 on a dunk by Brown with 33 second left, but Zalgiris made sure to take a good-as-gold road win.