Zalgiris Building Steam in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague

Turkish Airlines EuroLeague

B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas has become a team to watch in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague recently. In Round 13 they bounced back nicely after falling to F.C. Bayern Muenchen in Round 12, with a solid win over Darussafaka Istanbul, 71-75. The win improves them to a 6-7 record and are at the doorstep of a spot in the top-8. Unfortunately for Darussafaka, the loss sends them down into a deeper hole at the bottom of the standings with a 1-12 slate.

Darussafaka played like they were on a mission to defend their home court in this one but in the end we get the takeaway that Zalgiris stayed strong, held onto their wits and managed to prevail via a turnaround in the fourth quarter. They persevered and were rewarded handsomely for their patience. Brandon Davies led their effort with a 17-point performance that was just a high point in an overall well-rounded effort by the team. 

Yes, they defeated a bottom-dwelling team, however they’ve also shown that they are able to find success outside of the domestic Lithuanian LKL, where they reign supreme. Now the question will be whether or not they can compete against the top-tier teams in the league on a consistent basis. That, will be their next goal and challenge as we turn the page to 2019.

Speaking of teams to watch and F.C. Bayern Muenchen, they managed to secure an important road win over Italian club AX Armani Exchange Milano, 78-80. Derrick Williams was nigh unstoppable for Bayern Muenchen as he dropped 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting to power his team to victory. Armani had to resort to fouling him to slow him down but he made them pay in the end by going 6-for-7 from the line. It was an exciting game that ended up going to the dying seconds to find its resolution.

In other games in the round, Real Madrid came away with a commanding blowout win over Panathinaikos Athens to the tune of 89-68. A win that was sealed via a massive 4th-quarter surge by the former champs. The win was did not come as easy as the box score reflected, as the club from Madrid had to overcome a game-high 20-point performance by Panathinaikos’ Keith Langford. They improve to 11-2, just one game behind league leaders Fenerbahce (12-1).

Maccabi Tel Aviv found their stride on Wednesday and downed Khimki Moscow Region, 79-63. They’re still a ways away from the top-8 with a 4-9 record but the season is still young and at least they get to bid goodbye to 2018 on a high note.

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