No idea behind Zalgiris’ game. That’s what I saw. And yes, you can point at the fact that Zalgiris played with two big men and one of them, Mario Delas, was making his Euroleague debut (well done, Mario). It makes no difference, none at all. I’ll create a theorem of my own – the game wasn’t decided down low, the guards didn’t play good enough to give Zalgiris the slightest of chances at the victory. Have a look, Aleksandar Capin – 2/13 field goal attempts, 0/6 from downtown. He did get 6 assists, but the unprepared, clownish and empty-headed shots, which not only didn’t go in, but also knocked the rhythm out of the whole team, interrupted the concentration on the defensive end.
It’s easy to make a tragedy out of this loss, but one has to admit that Zalgiris never looked good this season, not in Euroleague. Managing to scrape through the regular season cut at the last moment, Zalgiris avoided an early disappointment, but kept climbing a cliff, which was bound to fall one day. With no safety kit on.
Making an argument that Butautas improved Zalgiris’ game and guided the team to a Top 16 would be logical and hard to argue against. But the two victories came against the most mediocre sides you could find in the European top flight – Cibona is in no hurry to pay their players, who have shown a lot of heart and devotion in still managing to qualify and Fenerbahce have more money than brain to say the least. Everyone seemed to have forgotten the fact that Zalgiris had lost seven straight Euroleague games before the two last regular season clashes. I don’t want to promise anything bad for the club from Kaunas, but I suspect there’s a high possibility in seeing yet another failure in the Top 16. In the easiest possible group of Top 16, that is.
There are a lot of individually talented players in Asseco Prokom, next week CSKA will have a well operating system behind the players of an even bigger caliber. Another upset looming? Maybe, but maybe not – Zalgiris have proved many times that Kaunas is the place where wonders happen. Even Capin might make a few shots.