With D.Sabonis and J. Valančiūnas leading the scoreboard Lithuania cruises past Russia

Fotografas: Ž. Vingelis

The Lithuanian national team continues to prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournament. The national team faced Russia in Kaunas on June 22nd and defeated the opponents with the result 78:61 (20:16, 17:19, 21:11, 20:15).

Coaches made a decision to sit out Arnas Butkevičius and Regimantas Miniotas for this game.

In the first preparation game last las Friday (June 18th), Lithuanians had no major problems with the Dominican Republic (95:62).

On the June 24th Lithuanian national team will play Dominican Republic once again.

Lithuania has started the game with the following starting five: Mantas Kalnietis, Marius Grigonis, Robertas Giedraitis, Gytis Masiulis and Domantas Sabonis. The Russians responded well to D. Sabonis hook shot and G. Masiulis’ dunk with points of their own (4:4). Game was well balanced for a bit (8:8). Andrej Voroncevic’s three-pointer and Anton Astapkovic’s layup from under the basket were somewhat neutralized by Jonas Valančiūnas’ two powerful dunks in a row (12:13). After M. Grigonis’ mid-range shot and another J. Valančiūnas’ dunk Lithuania regained the lead (18:14). After J. Valančiūnas’ free throws, the lead increased to 6 points (20:14). After the first 10 minutes of the game, the Lithuanian national team was in the lead – 20:16.

The second quarter has started with a three-pointer by the Russian team and Mindaugas Kuzminskas’ two-pointer (22:19). Persistent fighting continued, where Lithuanians had frequent serious turnovers (22:21, 22:23, 24:23). For a moment Tomas Dimša and D. Sabonis with a few free throws gave home court a little lead (27:23). After, M. Kuzminskas and T. Mozgov exchanged a three-point for a Russian dunk (32:30). After M. Grigonis’ shot from downtown, Lithuanian national team increased its lead to 5 points (37:32). However, Russia finished the half with the a three-pointer from Mikhail Kulagin and after 20 minutes of play Lithuania had only slight advantage – 37:35.

In the third quarter, D. Sabonis and J. Valančiūnas appeared together on the court for the first time. Home team has started the second half with a 6:0 run (43:35). After good defensive plays and successful finishes in offence by D. Sabonis and M. Kuzminskas lead increased to the double digit (49:39). The Russians did not intent to give up and came back to reduce the difference to 4 points (50:46). However, with a few fast-break finished by M. Kuzminskas and G. Masiulis, Lithuania had its biggest lead after 3rd quarter – 12 points (58:46).

The decisive quarter started with three pointers by Russian player Artiom Komolov and M. Kalnietis (61:49). After a few moments, Lukas Lekavičius and J. Valančiūnas increased Lithuania’s lead to 16 points (65:49). Opponents were not intending to raise a white flag and had an 8:0 run (57:65). However, M. Grigonis made a three-pointer in transition and T. Dimša cut the defence with the drive inside the paint to stop the dry run by Lithuanians (70:57, 2:45 minutes left). After another three-pointer from M. Grigonis, the winner of the game was obvious (+16, 73:57, 2:20 minutes left). M. Grigonis’ sealed the win with his fourth three-pointer – 78:61.

Lithuania: Jonas Valančiūnas 16 (10reb), Marius Grigonis 14 (5as), Domantas Sabonis 12 (8reb), Mindaugas Kuzminskas 10 (4 reb), Gytis Masiulis 8, Mantas Kalnietis and Rokas Jokubaitis 5, Tomas Dimša 4, Lukas Lekavičius and Rokas Giedraitis 2 points. Eimantas Bendžius (12:33 min.) and Tadas Sedekerskis (24 sec.) did not score.

Russia: Anton Astapkovic 13, Michail Kulagin and Antonas Kardanachishvili 8, Timofej Mozgov and Andrej Voroncevic 6, Ivan Uchov 5, Grigorij Motovilov 4, Artiom Komolov 3, Jevgenij Baburin, Ivan Strebkov, Vladimir Ivlev and Semion Antonov 2 points each. Anton Kvitkovskich did not play.

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