In its 700th game in Europe, Baskonia could not celebrate its party in Kaunas, because Zalgiris was more serene in the final moments of a game that was dedicated to details, which were cruel to the people of Vitoria in the final seconds (79-75 ). For the people of Vitoria, the danger lies in having revived their rival, who had five consecutive defeats, and now equals the Basque team in victories.
In the midst of the passionate fans of the Zalgirio Arena, the match between Zalgiris and Baskonia was competitive from start to finish. The two teams were committed to the task and neither could put land in the middle at any time. The tie was the natural habitat of the clash in which the alternation on the scoreboard was the usual tonic. Neither the Lithuanians nor the people from Vitoria managed to get away from the rival by more than six points.
Baskonia started playing well, especially Giedraitis, motivated by playing for his country. The Lithuanian was the best of his team in the first half, which was tarnished for Baskonia due to the lack of success in the triple shot. The people from Vitoria went into the break with a four-point difference (38-42), simply because of a couple of details in which they improved Zalgiris, in which Birutis stood out from the others.
The percentages and the final data say it all. There was equality in rebounds (33-34), in turnovers (7-6) and in shots. When the game entered its last minute, the score was tied at 75 and no one could predict the outcome. With 40 seconds to spare, Butkevicius scored and on the next play, with only 23 seconds remaining, the Lithuanians fouled Howard. Peñarroya’s men were unable to score on the next play, in which Howard himself played toss or toss, and the rebound went to Smits, the best of the game, who ran the counterattack, interrupted by Sedekerskis’ foul . Dimsa made both free throws to make the score 79-75. That’s how the game ended.
Panathinaikos 91 Valencia 92
At the OAKA Arena in Athens, the American-born Armenian Chris Jones was the star of Valencia Basket’s victory against Panathinaikos, which tightens the standings in the places that give access to the next phase. There were seventeen seconds left, Mumbrú’s team trailed by two points (91-89) after Thomas missed one of the free throws available to him, and the Valencia coach called a timeout to prepare the play. Jones started the attack, Paris Lee, the best of the Greek team during the game, came out to pass him. Alexander attempted a faulty block and Jones had to step back to, with two seconds remaining, find space with a feint, and already in the countdown of tenths of a second, launch to add the triple and give Valencia the victory.
It didn’t seem like it was going to be the day for the Valencian team, after losing the first two quarters, but they turned the tables in the third (19-27) and used a tight ending, with many alternatives on the scoreboard, which the magic of Jones worked out, an unpredictable player, capable of actions like the one that silenced the OAKA.
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