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“Neptūnas” was not able to create an intrigue in Thessaloniki (comment)

The players of Klaipėda, “Neptūnas” were not able to start the Eurocup tournament’s “Last 32” stage with joyful accents – the players of Dainius Adomaitis succumbed to the local team “Aris” in Thessaloniki with a result of 58:84.

The club Thessaloniki, “Aris” has deep basketball traditions (established 94 years ago, in 1922) and allowed the players of “Neptūnas” to play equally only at the start of the match, but then they played a very successful run – 21:0 and pulled away significantly – 27:5.

In the third quarter, after three successful 3-pointers (twice by Donatas Zavackas, once – Daniel Ewing), the players of “Neptūnas” reduced the difference to 15 points – 35:50, but they were unable to do anything else. This time “Neptūnas” had to acknowledge the advantage of a powerful opponent.

“Aris” – “Neptūnas” – 84:58 (25:5, 21:17, 17:22, and 21:14)

“Aris”: Okaro White 19, Jerel McNeal 18, Dominic Waters and Theodoros Zaras 9 pts each.

“Neptūnas”: Daniel Ewing 13, Martynas Mažeika and Gilvydas Biruta 11 each, Jerai Grant – 8 (5 rebounds), Donatas Zavackas and Mindaugas Girdžiūnas – 6 each, Vytautas Šarakauskas – 3, Arvydas Šikšnius, Travis Bader and Arnas Butkevičius did not score any points.

“Neptūnas” lost the fight for rebounds – 23:35 and attacked much poorer from all positions (41 per cent for 2-pointers for “Neptunas”, opponents – 58 per cent; free throws – 50 and 100 per cent accuracy; 3-pointers – 36 and 55 per cent).

Dainius Adomaitis (Head Coach of “Neptūnas”): “We knew that “Aris” is one of the best teams in the Eurocup regarding defense. We prepared and analyzed how to play against them. But we were unable to accomplish our tasks, goals. The reality was not how we expected. “Aris” fights really powerfully in their home court. After all, in this season they stumbled at home only once and to the mighty team “Panathinaikos”. To play in Thessaloniki against the basketball players of “Aris” who are supported by a group of fans is very difficult. In the first quarter we were constrained due to their aggressive defense that was almost to the point of making fouls; when we were behind by 20 points, it was difficult to come back into the game. It is a very difficult task to eliminate that kind of a difference on a road game”.

The team “Aris” is truly titled: during its long history the club has won 21 titles: 10 times the Champions of Greece, 8 times The Greece Cup and 3 times Europe’s trophies (The Winners’ Cup in 1993, the Korać Cup in 1997, and the FIBA Champions‘ Cup in 2003). An interesting fact that “Aris” became the Champions of Greece 7 years in a row, from 1985 to 1991. “Aris” was elected the best team in Greece of the 20th century.

We would like to remind you that in the first stage of the Eurocup championship “Neptūnas” won 6 games, and “Aris” got into the next stage with 7 victories.

On January 13th at 19:00 the players of “Neptūnas” will meet the team Berlin, “ALBA” in Klaipėda in a Eurocup match, and a week after that they will travel to Milan where they will meet “Emporio Armani” (Italy).

These teams will play each other twice (home and road game). Two best teams in the group will advance to the next stage in the Eurocup championship.

The next LKL match “Neptūnas” will play on January 10th (Sunday) at 19:00 against the local team Alytus, “Dzūkija”.
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