Žalgiris has played its first friendly game of the season and should be happy to have started with a win, not a perfectly convincing one, but it’s still a victory. The Lithuanian league runners-up managed to beat Azovmash Mariupol 85:81 (19:18, 23:23, 21:15, 22:25).
Žalgiris started the game with Žygimantas Janavičius, Martynas Pocius, Dainius Šalenga, Tadas Klimavičius and Travis Watson on the court, with Marcus Brown still to arrive at the team later and the newly-signed center Mirza Begič on the bench as he had not trained with the team. Though Žalgiris started slowly at 0:6, they managed to come back as impressively as they had fallen behind with 7 straight points, with Travis Watson and Dainius Šalenga scoring. The Ukrainians went ahead once again only to let in 5 in a row points from Artūras Milaknis, the first quarter ended with Žalgiris leading by one point – 19:18.
The story of a cat and a mouse continues as Azovmash was ahead most of the time, but three pointers from Martynas Pocius and Tadas Klimavičius kept the visitors in sight. A buzzer beater from downtown in the dying seconds meant that Žalgiris had once again caught their opponents, with the same lead as after the first period – 42:41.
The game continued going back and forth, but dunks from Šalenga and Klimavičius inspired the team from Kaunas and they finished the third part of the game strongly, with Mirza Begič making a debut, the score was 63:56.
The guests didn’t let Žalgiris increase their lead as a Lithuanian sharpshooter, former Žalgiris player was on fire for Azovmash sending one three point bomb after another, but the greens had their own hero – Dainius šalenga, who answered with two of his own. The game ended with 85:81 on the scoreboard.
„Žalgiris“: T.Klimavičius 17 (10 reb., 25 eff. rating), T.Watson 17 (9 reb., 22 eff. rating), D.Šalenga 16 (17 eff. rating), A.Milaknis 8 (2/4 3PT), Š.Vasiliauskas 7, M.Pocius 7, Ž.Janavičius 4, P.Butkevičius 4, S.Vene 3, M.Begič 2, A.Juškevičius 0.
„Azovmash“: S.Serapinas 27, H.Rizvič 23.
And just that you know, Žalgiris did sign Povilas Čukinas, former Lietuvos rytas center as their back up in the middle, who has played in Ukraine, Latvia and Germany recently.