Credit: BNS
Credit BNS

Zalgiris Kaunas equaled their worst start to a Euroleague campaign with yet another loss to Anadolu Efes in Istanbul and remain winless after 7 games. After the game, Jure Zdovc found it hard to explain the heavy defeat.

Player of the Game
Tibor  Pleiss
Tibor Pleiss
Points 17
Accuracy 7-10
Rebounds 7
Assists 0

“We know it was difficult to win here. We were playing against Efes, and we know that after they lost to Panathinaikos, they would react,” Zdovc said. “We knew that they would start hard, and we just need to survive this first attack.

“I must say I’m sorry to the fans. This is not Zalgiris. This is not me. As a coach, I always take responsibility. But today, Efes was on another planet,” he added. 

“This is frustrating for me, but this is how it is. I don’t get tired. We will work hard no matter what to improve. Otherwise, we would not improve,” Zdovc continued.  

At the tail end of the double game week, vulnerabilities related to fatigue and injuries were even more heavily felt on the Zalgiris side. Zdovc admits to having a tough time with roster management on the court. 

“We are playing without Joffrey Lauvergne, without Emmanuel Mudiay. Janis was injured on his sprained ankle, and also Ulanovas is not in the rhythm. We didn’t find any good enough players to be good enough today. 

We miss 40-50 points offensively, and it is very difficult to find these points. But 2-3 better decisions in offense and 2-3 better decisions in defense can make a 5-15 points difference. On this, we need to work.” 

Zdovc lamented the lack of defensive intensity and concentration that his team has shown.

“We needed to make some stops in defense to capitalize on offense. We looked like we rest in defense to play offense. You will not win with this mentality. Everything was wrong about the defense.

Points this season

Points made: 66,3
Accuracy: 39,8%
Place in standings: 18
Record max: 76
Record min: 60
Best scorer: Josh Nebo

They beat us too easily. They scored some tough shots, but we were late. We did not react how we were supposed to react, we did not help each other, we did not go and close out, we did not rotate, starting from the first 3 points that they scored. When they get to find their rhythm, they have a lot of offensive players,” Zalgiris coach said.

Regarding defensive problems, Josh Nebo is not also convinced with the team’s performance.

“Today, we had no effort. We didn’t play physical, if we don’t do that, we don’t have a chance. For a possible improvement, the first thing to address is to guard teams, guard pick and rolls, guard shooters.

The biggest thing is that we should start to guard opponents. It starts with defense. I’m becoming more comfortable with the team, but now my biggest focus is getting a win,” said the American forward.

On the offensive side of the matters, Zalgiris struggled too. Arturas Milaknis and Lukas Lekavicius gave some intermittent contributions with 14 points each, scoring seven three-pointers of the teams’ 9 buckets behind the arc.

Milaknis, however, does not complain about offensive overload and still believes that his teammates will catch up with their shooting accuracy.

“We have good shooters. Maybe they are not hitting well right now, but we have a lot of good shooters. I don’t feel that everything is on my shoulders. We need to fight, and we need to put an extra effort on every offense and every defense as individually and as a team,” said Zalgiris’ sharpshooter. 

Regarding offense, Zdovc was also worried about not being able to implement their offensive game plan, which was to use Josh Nebo’s advantage in the paint.

“They don’t have a super-aggressive defense, but they are smart. We had a lot of open shots, but we hesitated. If you miss the timing on offense, it is very difficult to punish them.”

“We must trust our bigs since, especially Josh Nebo. He usually had a good position on the low post. They cannot trap him. He had very good positions against Petrusev, who is not physically that big. We put one system we just did not even try to pass to him.  But we could not pass the ball to him. If you cannot pass the ball, what can we talk about?”

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Stambulo Anadolu Efes
Kauno Žalgiris
Field goals

Best players

Tibor  Pleiss
17 PTS
7/10 FG
2/2 FT
Artūras  Milaknis
14 PTS
4/11 FG
2/2 FT
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Few players
Zalgiris Kaunas
Few players
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Few players
4 As
Mantas  Kalnietis
5 As
1 TO
16 MIN
Tibor  Pleiss
22 EFF
67% 2P%
100% 3P%
Artūras  Milaknis
12 EFF
0% 2P%
50% 3P%