After winning two victories in a row, the team “Žalgiris” saw Barcelona on the evening of November 26 as a city where the real capacity of the current team can be tested. However Jure Zdovcas In the capital of Catalonia, they received such basketball lessons, which showed how far the Lithuanian champions are from the top teams of the Euroleague.
It was not only like a test, but also like a basketball seminar, where the ideal attack and defense solutions were demonstrated to Žalgiris using textbook examples. And it doesn’t matter that the Catalans didn’t help for different reasons Alexas Abrinesas, Nickas Calathesas, Brandonas Daviesas and Corry Higginsas. It’s such a huge loss that, by comparison, these four Barcos players have been very frequent in the team’s starting season last season.
But also with the tools you have Šarūnas Jasikevičius could operate in this match without any problems. Žalgiris still had the advantage of several points in the first half, but he made a couple of bad decisions and attacked in the defense. Nicolą Laprovittolą changed Roku Jokubaitis, Barca began to control the match without major problems, and did not feel that it could be released at all.
Š. Jasikevičius was patiently looking for advantage situations with long positional attacks and found them easily. Want it or not, Žalgiris is still the best-known team in the Euroleague after the Catalans he trains, so the strengths and weaknesses of all the players are well known to the strategist.
As is the known fact that Marekas Blaževičius and Joshas Nebo has trouble defending in two-on-two situations or rotating in team defense. Not surprisingly, the microdueling with J. Nebo felt ideally more mobile Pierre’as Oriola, who hit 5 shots out of 7 and scored 13 points. He would not be able to push in physical duels, but the Catalan was not caught in the second half due to the disruption of the team defense of “Žalgiris”.
The situation was similar with Sertacha Shanli after the break, which Š. On the instructions of Jasikevičius, M. Blaževičius was constantly beaten through a weak spot. Although the young man had solid passes in the attack, the defense still remains an aspect that needs to be improved. Marek was often late in rotating or reacting in the defense until his direct opponent from Turkey either threw three-pointers or, misleading the Lithuanian, shook the basket with his ghost screen maneuvers.
“Žalgiris” was also hurt by Nigelo Hayeso factor. The American scored 12 points and played the most productive match of the season with a Catalan shirt, but it was far from the elementary worn-out case that players play best against their former teams. It was a case where the coach knows exactly where his student needs to be. Edgar Ulanov the match started from the bench rather than Zoranas Dragičius, and even more so Janis Strelniekas has no physical data to withstand the microduels against N. Hayes. And the latter constantly used his physicality, playing his back to the basket in situations, and the same versatility, hitting two three-pointers.
Slowly, patiently and disciplinedly, even with such huge losses, Žalgiris threw a colon with 61 percent. accuracy, and long-distance throws – as much as 54 percent. accuracy, and overall accuracy is even the second best this season. By the way, in the 14th long throw in the Euroleague, Barca are only hitting this season for the second time, and this number remains the club’s best achievement this season.
“It simply came to our notice then. We didn’t fight and weren’t physical enough. I have repeated many times that in order to play with such an opponent, you have to give up on the pitch extra. We didn’t do it and the rivals picked up easy points, “Zdovts said after the defeat in Barcelona.
True, some of those three-pointers were actually ones you won’t see every day. The same young man Sergi Martinezas hit two despite having dropped a total of twice in the first 11 games so far overall. R. Jokubaitis hit three three-pointers, thus repeating the record of such throws hit by his career. On the other hand, Barca made those throws without leaving a chance for Žalgiris’ defense.
“It simply came to our notice then. Looks like we’re getting ready, the fines thrown show we’re upset. We were also upset against the defense of the exchange. This is not the face we want to show in the Euroleague, ”said M. Blaževičius.
After a short recovery, Žalgiris, who was tired of the defense of the exchange again, played the most fruitless match of the month. This is perfectly illustrated by the number of successful passes, which Žalgiris performed in just 12. Barcelona had scored five more in the first two halves alone, and finished the match with as many as 27. Only two assists were missed by the absolute record for the season.
And the work of Žalgiris was frozen. Mantas Kalnietis, although he scored his own points, was cut off from the team, Lukas Lekavičius, like, said Paulius Motiejūnas, in fact, a break is needed to rest after the defender worked for three during the first third of the regular season, and Shara paid considerable attention to restraining J. Strelniek, and made the Latvian invisible.
It is a language of numbers, but they are hardly needed to understand that Žalgiris is now light years away from the first four teams. As Mr Zdovc says, all that remains is to close the hall and continue working.
And later, the home period awaits Žalgiris – Kaunas residents will compete in the Euroleague only in their arena for half a month. All three teams with Lithuanians in their ranks – Vitorija “Baskonia”, Moscow’s CSKA and “Monaco” – will come to the guests.