Want an advice on how to screw up your summer? Probably not, but I had a possibility to experience a fairly serious injury on my knee, so I’d know… Sure, I’m making too much of a fuss out of this, but, hey, at least I’ve got some spare time now.
The season has just flown by for me – the ups and downs of Lithuanian basketball are slowly gathering to a straighter finish as the climax of the season is just a day away. When I post this piece it will surely be less than 24 hours away and by the time you’re reading it, it might already have begun. That is of course the Lithuanian League finals – the pearl of Lithuanian club basketball.
No surprises here – Lietuvos Rytas and Zalgiris meet here once again. The sides met in six official games this season, including two finals – the Lithuanian Cup and the Baltic League. One each in the title race.
- November 11, Kaunas. Žalgiris 67-64 Lietuvos Rytas
- December 12, Vilnius. Lietuvos Rytas 91:74 Žalgiris
- February 20, Vilnius. Lietuvos Rytas 77:65 Žalgiris
- March 13, Kaunas. Žalgiris 85:82 Lietuvos Rytas
- April 3, Vilnius. Lietuvos Rytas 90:81 Žalgiris
- April 24, Vilnius. Lietuvos Rytas 66:73 Žalgiris
As it stands, the season series are even at 3-3, if you include the preseason game in the Baltic Cup – Žalgiris takes it 4-3. Might this happen in the LKL finals? Maybe, I would guess for a seven games series, but I wouldn’t be brave enough to make the call. You might as well just flip a coin. Rytas has home court advantage, but you could make a case for Žalgiris as they won the Baltic League in Vilnius. But here, once again, it’s not as clear as it seems. Rytas played with 8 players on their rotation, two of whom spent less than ten minutes on average in the semis and the final… And they had a good lead after halftime. Three possible starters made their returns and an average role player in Sinica, who can give some resting time for the main players.
There has been a war inside me, my hearts says it’s going to take Rytas in six, but my brain answers back with a more sensible ‘Hell no, gonna take 7. No clear winner’… And my leg in a cast frankly doesn’t care. If Rytas’ key players aren’t waaaay out of form after those injuries, they’ll win because defense wins you championships and Rytas seems committed to playing defense, while I wouldn’t say the exact about Žalgiris. You might leave it as a cliche or cliché as Microsoft Word would suggest. Hope to write soon!