Kalev/Cramo get the better of Vytautas at home

TALLINN – The first leg of the series between Kalev/Cramo and Vytautas never turned into a nail-biter we’d hoped for, but it was surely a very competitive game. The Estonians led end-to-end but only managed to amass a 6-point advantage before the return match, as they won 94-88.

 

Kalev/Cramo waited for nobody once the game started. They got the first bucket and held on to the lead until the very end. However, it was a very intense battle nevertheless, as the Estonians had a very slippery, 24-20 lead after the opening period.

Mid-way through the second quarter, the Estonians had already managed to triple the 4-point advantage, as they got ahead by 12 points with impressive play on the offensive and a couple of big blocks on the other end.

Immediately, a time-out was called, and despite the big lead, Kalev/Cramo Head Coach Alar Varrak stressed the importance of shutting down Tomas Delininkaitis, who already had 12 points on four three-pointers. The veteran was the only thing keeping Vytautas’ engine running at that point and keeping Vytautas in the game. Two quarters in, the score was 51-37, in favor of the hosts.

The Lithuanians managed to regain some momentum after the break, as Delininkaitis’ sixth three got them back within seven. The margin jumped back and forth but before the buzzer, signaling the end of the third quarter, sounded, the Lithuanians had trimmed the deficit to six points.

At the start of the final fourth, another long-range bomb cut the deficit in half and left just three points of breathing space for the struggling Kalev/Cramo. However, the hosts weren’t very welcoming and quickly regained composure and a double-digit advantage. However, sloppy play in the final minutes cost Kalev/Cramo a lot, as Vytautas managed to trim the deficit to just six.

Kalev/Cramo Head Coach Alar Varrak: "The key moment was when Erik Keedus started to defend Delininkaitis and since then we kept building the lead. But as he collected fouls and had to return to the bench, they came back. Of course, the worst moment was the technical foul of Martin but that was not the reason why we didn't win as much as we deserved. The problem was a certain imbalance between two-pointers and three-pointers - we shot a bit too few triples today. Of course, six points means nothing and the real semifinal will be played on Wednesday."

Vytautas Head Coach Virginijus Seskus: "Certain lack of preparation was a big trouble during the first half - we only had 6 rebounds in the first half. Imagine that - six! They made 7 fast-breaks and dominated the game inside. We really missed Saulius Kulvietis today. Things changed in the second half - they only had 2 fast-breaks and our veterans did a good job bringing us back - I think we have good chances in the home game. I also have to say that playing in VTB has really helped Kalev - the level of their defense is very high."