Could Barça beat Zalgiris this time?

The 26th round of the Euroleague is opened by a classic of the competition, at the Palau Blaugrana on March 2, Barcelona will receive the visit of Zalgiris. Probably the word that defines Barcelona’s game this season is inconsistency. With a stellar team, built with reserves of the value of the starters, Sarunas’ team have already missed the second goal (the first was the ACB Supercup) of the season, the national cup, where they were turned from an 11-point lead in the last quarter by Málaga.

In the Euroleague, they have 17 wins and 8 defeats, one defeat more than Olympiakos and Real Madrid. They come after 4 consecutive victories for Monaco, Virtus, Bayern and Maccabi. The atmosphere in the team is not really great and Sarunas’ position is not very secure: “I take full responsibility as a coach. I could not make our players understand that this game was a final. It is clear that we are not doing something right”. The team leaders are Nikola Mirotic with 14 ppg and 4.5 reb, and Nicolas Laprovittola with 11.5 ppg and 4.6 ast.

Zalgiris is part of the group of teams with 12 defeats, places 6-11 and hopes to still catch the playoff. They come into this match after a stinging defeat to Real Madrid in Spain, 96-69. After this double in Spain, 2 matches will follow for them with the latest 2 ranked, Lyon and Alba Berlin. Unfortunately, they will not be able to rely on the best scorer from the game won in October 73-72, Keenan Evans. In his absence, the team leaders are Brazdeikis with 11.3 ppg and 3 reb, Ulanovas with 11.1 ppg and 3.6 reb and Roland Smits with 10 ppg and 5.2 reb, a player who will meet his former club.

Sarunas was defeated in the last 2 matches by his former club, will he be able to break Zalgiris’ streak? Or will the Lithuanians continue the race to the Euroleague’s playoffs?

Valentin Petruta

Photo credit: EuroLeague