On Sunday, the Neptunas basketball players from Klaipeda could not resist the basketball team Khimki from the Moscow region coached by Rimas Kurtinaitis at the “Svyturio arena” during the VTB United League match. The players from Klaipeda lost this battle with the score of 74:92.
The players from Klaipeda started the match well - the hosts burst into the lead with the score of 8:3 after the five points in a row scored by Edgaras Ulanovas (2-pointer) and a triple by Valdas Vasylius.
A few moments later the basketball fans who crowded the “Svyturio arena” cheered a Mindaugas Girdziunas triple, increasing Neptunas' advantage to 6 points - 13:7.
Soon however, Khimki played a good interval scoring eleven points without reply and took the lead with the score of 13:18.
Later on Marko Popovic and Sergey Monya, who flowed into the Khimki game, contributed to the double digit advantage of their team with the score of 34:48 before the half-time break.
In the second half, the Neptunas players could not reduce the lag in the score to a single digit in any way and they had to settle with a loss.
Neptunas - Khimki - 74:92 (16:20, 18:28, 20:23, 20:21).
Neptunas: Marius Runkauskas - 13 points, Edgaras Ulanovas - 12, Simas Galdikas - 12, Valdas Vasylius - 11 (7 rebounds), Arvydas Eitutavicius - 8, Rolandas Jakstas - 6, Vytautas Sarakauskas - 5 points.
Khimki Sergey Monya - 19, Kresimir Loncar - 18 (11 rebounds), Marko Popovic - 17 (9 assists), Petter Koponen - 10.
Neptunas will play another away game with Liubercy Triumf in the VTB United League on 2nd of February.
The Neptunas players lost the first game between these teams played in Russia with the score of 73:56 on 23rd October 2013.
Neptunas played without the two very important players in Klaipeda - Martynas Mazeika (complaints of knee pains) and Justas Sinica (his tarsus injury is being treated).
We remind you that Neptunas bid a farewell to the legionnaire from the USA, Andrew Smith, a few days ago. This player left the team because of his health problems.
In fact, the club from Klaipeda managed to strengthen their team - a forward, 21 years of age, 202 cm tall, Rolandas Jakstas has joined the team. Heis one of the golden Lithuanian youth national team's members, reaping the laurels in the European and World championship together with Jonas Valanciunas, Arnas Butkevicius, Edgaras Ulanovas and other basketball players from this generation.
Kazys Maksvytis (Neptunas head coach): “Before this match I told my players that it was one of the most serious and capable teams that we had to collide with this season. It is very hard to combat against such teams, but we had some expectations to battle for a win. I must admit we played against one of the best coaches in Europe. All our strengths and weaknesses are well seen by playing with such teams. We managed to stir intrigue, but Khimki is not a team that would tolerate such a big gap in the score. A few days ago they crushed Maccabi Haifa basketball players during their match in the Eurocup. Khimki is a very powerful team. It is too complicated for us to beat them. We congratulate the opponents on the victory.
I hope that Justas Sinica and Martynas Mazeika will be able to help us in our away game with LSU-Atletas next Wednesday.”
Rimas Kurtinaitis (Khimki head coach): "I am glad we have won. We follow the Neptunas results and we know that the players from Klaipeda have played excellently at home and away this season. We saw the Neptunas players battle head to head with such good teams as CSKA and Besiktas. We knew that it would not be easy and prepared for this in advance. I am glad that my men did the job and we controlled the game for nearly the whole match. We won by a bigger score than expected. The match was interesting for both the spectators and the players. I rejoice that we won again.”
Neptunas will play its next game with the LSU-Atletas from Kaunas district in Garliava on 22nd January (Wednesday). This will be a LKL match.
KKneptunas.lt information, Sarunas Duzinas photos