Zalgiris beats Bayern at home
Zalgiris Kaunas remained in the playoff race by beating FC Bayern Munich 85-79 in front of almost 15,000 fans at Zalgirio Arena on Thursday. Zalgiris improved to 11-15 and 12th in the regular season standings, while Bayern dropped to 12-16 and 11th overall. Marius Grigonis led the winners with 18 points, Brandon Davies added 16, Leo Westermann had 12 while Edgaras Ulanovas and Thomas Walkup each scored 10 for Zalgiris. Nihad Dedovic led Bayern with 17 points and Derrick Williams, Devin Booker and Vladimir Lucic each scored 10 for the visitors. Zalgiris shook off a slow start through Davies and Grigonis, who led the hosts to a 22-20 lead after 10 minutes. Davies kept pacing Zalgiris in the second quarter and boosted his team's margin to 48-35 at halftime. Zalgiris kept full control after that, leading 69-53 after 30 minutes and never looking back.
Leon Radosevic got Bayern going with a jump hook, as the visitors' defense held Zalgiris scoreless in the opening 3 minutes. Zalgiris finally got Davies involved, but a jumper by Booker and a three-pointer by Maodo Lo restored a 4-7 Bayern lead. Davies scored down low to ignite a 7-0 run in which Aaron White and Grigonis dunked to give the hosts an 11-7 edge. Booker stepped up with an alley-oop slam, Lucic and Westermann exchanged triples and a floater by Grigonis gave Zalgiris a 16-12 edge. Williams and Braydon Hobbs each struck from downtown, but Arturas Milaknis and Walkup kept the hosts ahead, 22-20, after 10 minutes. Deon Thompson scored down low early in the second quarter and Milaknis added a three-pointer for a 27-22 Zalgiris lead. Dedovic answered from beyond the arc, but White erased it with a layup-plus-foul and Grigonis added a floater that caused Bayern to stop the game at 32-25. Milaknis insisted from downtown and Bayern found answers on offense through Booker and Dedovic. Davies stepped up with a jumper, a dunk and an acrobatic layup that made it a double-digit margin, 41-31. Grigonis hit a triple and consecutive dunks by an unstoppable Davies gave Zalgiris a 48-35 advantage at halftime. Westermann sank his second three-pointer soon after the break and Grigonis added a layup to break the game open at 53-37. Ulanovas took over with consecutive baskets and a tip-in by Davies kept the hosts fully in charge, 59-42. Lo followed a jumper with a backdoor layup, but Walkup did better with 5 quick points. Dedovic tried to change things for Bayern and a layup by Booker brought the visitors within 69-53 after 30 minutes. Dedovic kept pacing the Bayern early in the fourth quarter and got help from Lucic to give Bayern hope at 72-59 with 7 minutes to go. Grigonis and Westermann quickly stepped up for Zalgiris, but Dedovic, Petteri Koponen and Nemanja Dangubic fueled a 0-9 run that brought Bayern within single digits, 77-68, with 4 minutes left. Ulanovas rescued Zalgiris with consecutive triples only for Koponen and Williams to answer from downtown. Dangubic brought Bayern even closer, 83-76. Lucic added a layup with 17.7 seconds left, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.
Marius Grigonis set a new career-high with a performance index rating of 22. He finished the game with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 6 fouls drawn. He shot 5 for 5 from the foul line to keep his streak going; Grigonis is 69 of 72 from the foul line (95.8%) this season and has hit his last 45 attempts.
Zalgiris led 35-29 midway through the second quarter and found a mismatch on offense. It started to run its offense through Brandon Davies, who dunked three times and added a mid-range jumper and a put-back layup. Davies got help from Marius Grigonis to give Zalgiris a 48-35 margin at the break and Zalgiris went on to dominate the game.
Both teams hit 11 three-point shots, but Bayern needed 31 attempts to reach that number and Zalgiris took just 23 shot from downtown. That allowed Zalgiris to take more two-point shots. Bayern had a better percentage (60%, Zalgiris 56.8%), but Zalgiris hit 21 of 37 and the visitors downed just 15 of 25.
Did you notice?
Zalgiris captured the potential head-to-head tie-break advantage if both teams finish the regular season with the same record. Bayern had registered an 88-84 home win on December 14 behind a career-high 27 points by Derrick Williams. Zalgiris, however, is 0-2 against Khimki Moscow Region and KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and has a tie-break disadvantage (1-1, -5) against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action early next week. Bayern travels to Greece to face Olympiacos Piraeus on Tuesday, March 19. Zalgiris visits Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv the following evening.
Thursday, March 14, 2019