Both Euroleague teams winnnnnnn… :)

Hey there, sorry for not writing for so long, but I’ve got a good explanation – I’ll keep it as a surprise for now though you’ll get to know it very very soon. Let’s talk about Euroleague, shall we? A great week for Lithuanian basketball – both Žalgiris and Rytas won comfortably against their rivals at home and made many of their fans start the European season with wide smiles on their faces.

Žalgiris 71-52 Asvel Basket

 Many people here in Lithuania made predictions how only one team is going to win the opener – that was Žalgiris in their minds, who had a weaker opponent ASVEL Basket standing in the way. Žalgiris won in a very comfortable fashion, not taking any risks and ASVEL, with Lithuanian Mindaugas Lukauskis didn’t even have any chances to cling onto something.  

3 things that I liked:

1. Martynas Pocius’ game – coming of the bench, he had a wonderful start draining one long shot after the other and making his dad – also a basketball player, who played for Statyba (what is now known as Lietuvos rytas) – proud.

2. Travis Watson – his rebounds and physical presence in the paint. The guy had at least 6 rebound in the first quarter alone and finished with 14. Bravo!

3.  The decision to foul Curtis Borchardt wisely, this saved a lot of points, as the player made 6/11 free throws and wasn’t given the chance to dominate under Žalgiris’ basket. This one is for the coaches.

3 things I didn’t like:

1. Mirza Begič and Povilas Čukinas sucked and sucked bad. I’ll repeat my words once again, but they’re hopeless.

2.  Žalgiris defense on the perimeter – ASVEL had lots of wide-open chances from downtown and even though the shots didn’t go down, that’s a big minus for Žalgiris.

3. Mantas Kalnietis as a shooter – 3/11 from 3 point range is not very good and I believe, that Kalnietis shouldn’t have taken half of those shots, maybe even more.

Lietuvos Rytas 77-70 Efes Pilsen

Lietuvos rytas had a tougher team to play against in Vilnius – the star-filled Efes Pilsen from Turkey was to show the power and strength they had gained during the summer. Rakočevič, Nachbar, Santiago, Smith, Thorthon, Kasun, Tunceri and others showed that the main factor isn’t money. Igor Rakočevič on his own gets 2 million EUR, whilst the entire budget of Lietuvos Rytas is even under this sum. Amazing, wouldn’t you say so? A wild guess from me would be that Rytas’ budget might be over 5 times smaller than Efes Pilsen’s.

3 things that I liked:

1. Good team defense, everyone was giving a helping hand to one that was in trouble and the only reason for the victory was that the Rytas was playing as a team, while Efes players were trying to win the game on their own. I guess it’s the coaching staff Rytas fans have to be thankful to, no other explanation.

2. Martynas Gecevičius – the visible evidence of his improvement finally. The youngster has been waiting for his chance to shine for a while now and his amazing shooting performance was incredible to watch. Martynas might still prove to be a magic name as Gecevičius together with Pocius were truly amazing on the first game day.

3. Aron Baynes and Bojan Popovič. I just had to find a place to mention them both. Baynes had a great game, despite many doubters and Popo had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists holding the team tight in his hands for most of the game.

3 things I didn’t like:

1. Early foul trouble for the big-men. This is surely in part related to a very physical and aggressive play style that Kurtinaitis has offered, but some of the fouls were really stupid and could be avoided next time.

2. Donatas Zavackas holding the ball to the final buzzer instead of shooting it – point difference might prove to be vital in this group and in my opinion, he should have swung it up in all cases. 

3. Artūras Jomantas finishing the game with a ZERO by his name, he must find a place for himself on the court as playing defense and leaving your team to play 4 on 5 at the other end is actually useful.

Both Euroleague teams winnnnnnn… :)

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