Zalgiris Kaunas have clinched their third straight Lithuanian league title after beating rivals Lietuvos Rytas 83-65 in Vilnius thus completing a 4-0 series sweep.
Oliver Lafayette led the victors with 18 points and seven assists as the Kaunas outfit proved that they’re the dominant force in Lithuanian basketball.
Both teams have been the cause of much rule changing in the LKL this season, with them both playing away games only just so they could give other teams a chance – such is the gulf in class between the two sides from Lithuania’s main cities.
Zalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas finished sixth and seventh respectively in the league this season with Rudupis finishing top of the pile. It wasn’t long though before the inevitable happened. And when it came down to the post-season, the other teams stood no chance, and the now traditional finals series took place.
With Zalgiris 3-0 up and one win away from another league crown, they started strongly but were pegged back by the hosts in the first period. The visitors though held firm and led 21-19 after one. The Vilnius side came back, restricting the team in green to just eight points in the second, as they led 32-29 at the break, much to the delight of the home fans.
It didn’t last though; Zalgiris regrouped and came back in the third quarter to take the lead heading to the final quarter. From there, a 17-2 burst, fronted by Rimantas Kaukenas steered the visitors to the win.
Kaukenas added 16 points for the winners. Elmantas Benzius led Lietuvos Rytas with 15 points.