Despite CSKA Moscow’s outstanding come-back, Zalgiris Kaunas stood tall and beat the Muscovites (77-79) to earn the third place in the Euroleague and end the season in the best way possible.
Although they were in front by 21 points in the third quarter (48-69), the Lithuanians saw CSKA score consecutive three-pointers that let them cut the deficit to just two points (77-79). Yet, they came up short and Zalgiris sealed the deal, despite making many turnovers in the end.
For the winners, Paulius Jankunas and Vasilije Micic scored 15 points each, with Edgaras Ulanovas adding 14. On the other hand, for the Russians, who failed go all the way for a second straight season, Mikhail Kulagin and Othello Hunter had 14 points each and Cory Higgins scored 12.
CSKA made a better start to the match (11-6), but Zalgiris reacted and tied the game (12-12). No team could take a significant advantage (16-16) and the first quarter ended with the Lithuanians in front by three (19-22).
Later, things didn’t change much (24-24, 29-29), but Zalgiris went on a 3-9 run to take a six-point lead (32-38), which retained it until the end of the first half, thanks to a three-pointer by Arturas Milaknis (35-41).
Zalgiris were unstoppable in the beginning of the second half and extended their lead to 19 points, thanks to a 15-2 run (37-56).
CSKA were playing very badly on both ends of the floor, scored just 13 points and saw their opponents outscore them 13-28 to end the third quarter in front by 21 points (48-69).
In the fourth quarter, CSKA scored consecutive three-pointers and turned things around, having the opportunity to steal the victory (77-79), but Zalgiris stood tall and won the game, ending the season in a very successful way.