The Lithuanian vice-champions, Neptunas from Klaipeda, had one more victory in the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) championship. The basketball players, who have been playing well recently, are coached by Kazys Maksvytis, and won against the Pasvalys Pieno Zvaigzdes on the road with the score 70:86: (20:22, 18:24, 15:22, 17:18).
After this victory (13 wins, 2 losses), Neptunas have raisen to position 2 in the LKL championship table.
On 10 December (on Wednesday) at 6:45 pm, Neptunas will be able to play with their conscience clear, in the Euroleague match against the Istanbul Galatasaray Liv Hospital team (Turkey) at the Svyturys arena.
The Turkish team won the first match between these two teams, held in Istanbul on 7 November, with the score of 94:68.
Vytautas Sarakauskas has come back
In the match in Pasvalys, Neptunas took the initiative in the middle of the first quarter after the Arnas Butkevicius slam dunk and Martynas Mazeika triple (9:17) and they were always in the lead.
Before the middle of the second quarter, Neptunas had a double digit advantage with the score of 25:36, and it reached 22 points in the fourth quarter with the score of 57:79. The initiator of this record advantage was the Neptunas center, Vytautas Sarakauskas, who stepped into the court after the half-time break - he scored his downtown shot and had 2 rebounds. V. Sarakauskas has stepped out onto the court for the first time this season. He worked in accordance to his personal schedule for a long time, because of the knee operation that was performed on this basketball player last summer.
Pieno Zvaigzdes - Neptunas - 70:86 (20:22, 18:24, 15:22, 17:18).
Pieno Zvaigzdes: Laimonas Kisielius - 18 points, Alexander Oriakhi 13 points (8 rebounds), Evaldas Kairys - 10 points (10 rebounds).
Neptunas: Valdas Vasylius - 17 points, Justas Sinica - 11 points, Mustafa Shakur - 11 points (6 assists), Arnas Butkevicius 10 points (8 rebounds), Keith Benson - 8 (6 rebounds), Deividas Gailius - 6, Simas Galdikas (7 rebounds) and Mindaugas Girdziunas - 4, Vytautas Sarakauskas - 3, Egidijus Dimsa - 2 points.
Kazys Maksvytis (Neptunas head coach): "I am glad about the victory, but I am a bit concerned that Donatas Zavackas bumped his knee during this match. We must hope that it is nothing serious and he will recover before the Euroleague match. It is good we managed to save our leaders' strength. We will really need it on the Wednesday match against the Galatasaray team. We must fight to the end, we should do our best, we can defeat our opponents and enter the Euroleague Top 16 stage. Everything is possible, when playing at home. There is nowhere to retreat, we just have to do everything, it all depends on us."
Euroleague in Klaipeda is on Wednesday
This week's Neptunas opponent in the Euroleague Galatasaray is one of the oldest Turkish clubs, founded in 1904. They have become the Turkish champions 11 times. Galatasaray have won the Turkish Basketball Championship, held since 1966, five times - in 1969, 1985, 1986, 1990 and 2013. They have won the Turkish Cup three times - in 1970, 1972 and 1995. Galatasaray have participated in the Euroleague competitions for the third time during the last four seasons. This Istanbul team entered the TOP-16 stage in the 2011-2012 season. During the last season (2013-2014) Galatasaray managed to enter the TOP-8 stage.
We would like to remind you that Neptunas have won three victories in the most prestigious European basketball tournament - the Euroleague: the basketball players, coached by Kazys Maksvytis, defeated the Serbian Cup Winners of the last two years, Belgrade Crvena Zvezda, at the Svyturys arena with the score of 83:81 on 23 October, they defeated last season's European Cup Winners, Valencia Basket from Valencia (Spain), with the score of 94:87 on 13 November and Vitoria Laboral Kutxa (Spain) with the score of 80:79 on 20 November.
"BasketNews.lt" notices that Neptunas has a historic chance to play in the Euroleague Top 16 round. However, first of all, they must defeat the Istanbul Galatasaray team at home.
This match will be the most important for Neptunas this season. If Neptunas wins, this victory may be enough to enter the next stage for them.
This would happen under the two conditions:
1) if Galatasaray lost to Olympiakos in the last match;
2) and if Valencia Basket lost to Laboral Kutxa in round 9.
Neptunas would not need a victory in the last match in Valencia under these two conditions.
In this case, two wins (against Galatasaray and Valencia Basket) would guarantee a place for Neptunas in the next stage.
If Neptunas lose to Galatasaray, the expectations of the basketball players from Klaipeda to play in the Top 16 stage will collapse.
Tickets to the Neptunas and Galatasaray match may be bought here: http://www.bilietai.lt/lt/buy/23088#plan
You are welcome to support the Neptunas basketball players