Let the players play!

Luck was wearing a green jersey on Wednesday as Žalgiris just barely edged Polish champs Asseco Prokom in overtime. A very, very low scoring game in Kaunas ended 74-68 despite the fact that both sides had to play five extra minutes. Take away 27 points from Žalgiris, which they scored in the first quarter and that leaves the team with a kinda poor 47-point effort in thirty-five minutes.

This story wouldn’t have had a happy ending if not for Tomas Delininkaitis’ three-pointer to tie it at 61-61 with about half a minute remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter. But the guard’s last play in regular time was just a reflection of his great performance against the yellow-and-blue from Gdynia.

However, I saw one thing that I didn’t really like in his stat-line… Despite being clearly the best player on the court, Delininkaitis didn’t get enough of playing time – that’s a rock to be thrown at coach Aco Petrović. Having a deep rotation is a good thing – you can keep a high-paced tempo, play intensive defense, but you need a good coordinator to allot the minutes wisely.

That clearly wasn’t the case in Žalgiris game – massive hockey-like substitutions just brought chaos on the court and coach Petrović seemed to be making the subs just for the sake of changing players, not for improving the game. Such was the case with Delininkaitis – despite playing extremely well the Serbian coach took him in and out of the game. Ended the night with 24:29 and I couldn’t see an obvious reason why he didn’t play more. Shots were falling, he played with energy and was positive throughout his time on the court. Maybe you noticed something – if so, let me know…

Nine players spent more than 15 minutes on the court… I don’t think that’s necessarily good, especially with the strange in-and-out subs. Anyway, that’s only my opinion. In the long-run a deep bench should help Žalgiris, but the coach should give players, who are having a good night the chance to shine.

This win was big for Žalgiris. However after home wins against Partizan and Asseco Prokom, probably the two easiest wins for Kaunas in Euroleague, it’s all just going to get tougher – Žalgiris is very poor team on the road and beating Maccabi and Caja Laboral at home won’t be an easy task. Up to now, Žalgiris has taken what was given to them on a plate. And good for them, good for us Lithuanians in general as at least one team is performing on the European stage. Oh well, I might add here, but that’s another topic…

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Let the players play!

3 thoughts on “Let the players play!

  1. you can check out substitutions in the fourth quarter and overtime. Kalnietis and Jankunas played without any rest, Watson and Begic were in and out just because of foul trouble, Salenga was out with 8 minutes to play in the 4th and Pocius played the last 13 minutes. Milaknis gave Delininkaitis a brief rest. Thats 8 players in the last 15 minutes. Too much? Coach had his players then it mattered the most and it wasnt hockey like substitutions WHEN it mattered the most.

    then I remeber first half. the rotation there was superb. 10 players played, starting five was changed by the end of 1st quarter and second unit made a run in 2nd quarter. there was clear fives – starting unit, and second unit. and once again, I didnt see any hockey like substitutions in first 2 quarters.

    the only stupid quarter was third, when there played a mix of players – neither first unit, nor second. and we all saw the result in third.

  2. Why does everyone think that the fourth quarter matters the most? Double points, mhh? If Zalgiris hadn’t allowed the lead to slip in the third, they wouldn’t have needed to sweat their bums in the fourth and overtime. I think the coach lost it in the third. That’s my messege. Thanks for the comment anyway.

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