Many of the leagues around Europe are getting underway, but the action in the Lithuanian LKL is already in its fourth round of play. During this round reigning champions Zalgiris Kaunas bounced back from defeat in Game 3, while Neptunas Klaipeda continued their unbeaten start to the campaign to top the league. Elsewhere Juventus and Lietuvos rytas both collected victories.
Nevezis Kedainiai vs. Lietuvos rytas Vilnius, 59-95
Lietuvos rytas continued its unblemished start to the Lithuanian LKL by heading out on the road and taking apart Nevezis Kedainiai. The visitors built their success in the paint, sinking 54 points in the key area and controlling the defensive side by allowing just 28 points from Nevezis in the paint.
A narrow first quarter saw the teams match each other and at some points trade buckets and the lead. However, after the opening 10 minutes, it was the Vilnius club in charge, holding a 21-22 lead at the first split. It was any teams’ game after the first quarter but the second proved decisive as Lietuvos Rytas exploded in a game winning hot streak that saw them pour in 35 points and concede just 7 points. At half time the visitors were in charge and sitting on a 28-57 lead. The away team cemented its dominance in the third quarter to win the stanza 11-20 to lead 39-77 after 30 minutes on the court. All hope had gone for the Kedainiai team, but the hosts did restore a little pride by winning the fourth quarter 20-18, but it was nowhere near enough to win the game.
Siauliai vs. Neptunas Klaipeda, 80-90
Neptunas have gone four and zero so far this season to remain unbeaten and top the Lithuanian LKL standings. The club visited Siauliai in round 4 and came away with a victory.
Neptunas Klaipeda started the game brilliantly and looked hot in attack, streaming in 30 points during the opening frame of the contest. Just as impressive was the defending from the team, with only 13 points conceded the visitors led 13-30 at the first split. Siauliai picked up their own scoring in the second quarter and more consistency made it a closer game, the hosts winning the stanza 21-18 to put the scoreboard on 34-48 during halftime. The teams went basket for basket through a high scoring third quarter, but Neptunas managed to extend the deficit to 57-72 after a 23-24 run. Through 30 minutes the away team looked comfortable and went into the final period with a 15 point lead. Siauliai responded in the fourth with a 23-18 frame, but Neptunas lasted the pace to pick up an easy win.
Juventus LKSK Utenos vs. Tonybet Prienai, 82-74
Both these teams headed into this game level with a 1-1 record in the LKL standings, but Juventus used home court advantage to seal a win. The hosts were formidable down low, sinking a massive 60 points in the paint while the team also picked up 24 defensive rebounds (34 off the glass in total).
Visiting outfit Prienai looked the better team as the players got a feel for the hardwood, with the away team outpacing Juventus to lead 14-20 after 10 minutes. That was a solid lead after the first stanza and the team built on it in the second quarter, outlasting the home contingent once again (17-19) to head into the long break with a healthy 31-39 lead. Juventus was on the ropes, but the hosts put together a blockbuster third quarter to turn the game around, sending down 27 points while taking just 16 points in reply. That huge third frame was enough to give Juventus a 30 minute advantage of 58-55 to protect after the last interval. The momentum was now with the home team as they used the fourth quarter to pull further ahead, putting together a 24-19 frame to win the game.
Panevezys Lietkabelis vs, Zalgiris Kaunas, 70-88
Defending Lithuania LKL champions Zalgiris Kaunas got back on track after a recent loss to Juventus by defeating Lietkabelis on the road and consigning the team to the foot of the table with a 0-3 record. Zalgiris shot 89.5% from the charity strip, picking up 17 free points from 19 attempts, a nice scoring foundation to build the victory upon.
A gulf in class was on display in the first quarter as Zalgiris barely had to move out of first gear, scoring 16 points while shutting out a poor Lietkabelis attack and restricting them to just 6 points (6-16). The hosts got much better in the second quarter and started to go bucket for bucket with their illustrious opponents, matching Kaunas through the frame (20-20) to put the score at 26-36 as the teams headed into the locker room. Lietkabelis continued to improve through the third quarter, but the visitors were also consistent at the basket. The home team won the frame 24-23, but after thirty minutes still had plenty to do from nine points behind, the score 50-59. The LKL bottom club managed to maintain good scoring in the fourth quarter, but Zalgiris found those extra gears to put together a game winning 20-29 run.