Zalgiris and ALBA Berlin meet in a EuroLeague game at the Zalgirio Arena on Friday evening (6 pm, UK time).
The sides are tied, 5-5, in EuroLeague games between them across the last 22 years. ALBA swept their series last season, including a 71-79 win in Kaunas for their only road win over Zalgiris. The last time they face each other, ALBA beat Zalgiris in Berlin 82-74. Johannes Thiemann led ALBA with a career-high 17 points and Luke Sikma produced a career-high four steals.
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Both teams are looking to bounce back from last week’s losses. Zalgiris Kaunas (2-3) fell to an 87-76 loss at Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade; ending a two-game winning streak, that being said they’ve won their last two home games. This will be a special game for Zalgiris forward Tyler Cavanaugh, who made his EuroLeague debut with ALBA a few years ago. As for ALBA (3-2), they’re on a two-game losing streak after a 3-0 start.
The hosts come into this game having allowed 79.7 points in losses and just 68.5 in wins, which says a lot about their defensive-minded approach. In attack, Zalgiris depends on their best scorers Keenan Evans (14.8 ppg.), Ignas Brazdeikis (11.8 ppg.) and Rolands Smits (11.6 ppg.) to make the difference, playing with great physicality. Smits in this showdown has a critical matchup against star forward Luke Sikma, as ALBA runs its attack through him due to his passing skills and stellar basketball IQ.