Zalgiris with a difficult mission vs. Olympiacos

Zalgiris Kaunas will host Olympiacos Piraeus on Thursday evening in the Zalgirio Arena in a game that counts for Round 29 of the EuroLeague.

Zalgiris won both games in last week’s double-round week in the EuroLeague: first a very close win in Berlin against Alba on Tuesday and then a comfortable victory against Asvel Lyon. These wins keep the team of Kazys Maksvytis in the playoffs race. With just six rounds left to play, the Lithuanian team is tied for the 6th place with three other teams (Baskonia, Partizan and Maccabi) and also powerhouses like the back-to-back champions Efes or red-hot Milan are behind them and are looking to reach the playoffs. The good news for Zalgiris is that they will play four of the remaining six games at home and the Greens are a tough team to beat in front of their fanatic fans.

Not everything was great for Zalgiris last week though: on Sunday they lost at home against rivals Rytas Vilnius in the Lithuanian LKL and Isaiah Taylor suffered an injury in the first half of the game and did not return. However, it seems that Taylor’s injury is not that serious and he might play tomorrow.

On the other side, Olympiacos is also on a two-game winning streak in the EuroLeague and the team from the Red side of Athens continues to be in first place in the standings. The Greeks played both their games last week at home, in the Peace and Friendship Stadium and while the win against Bayern was expected, the victory over Barcelona was a statement win. The 1st place in the regular season does not guarantee anything as it offers home-court advantage only in the quarterfinals, but for sure Olympiacos will no longer be considered an underdog in the Final Four if it gets there. Olympiacos played great basketball so far this season and Sasha Vezenkov elevated his status from a great player to a EuroLeague superstar, probably the main candidate to receive the season MVP award for his performance this season.

Imre Halasz

Image credit: EuroLeague