Zalgiris at Zenit
Time: 6:00 pm CET
Surging Zalgiris, currently sitting in a four-way tie for the final playoff spot, travels to Russia to take on Zenit, who is in the midst of a tough season and presently occupies the cellar of the standings with a 7-19 record.
The Lithuanian club is headed by a deep rotation that includes seven healthy players averaging at least 7.6 points per contest. Zach LeDay and Jock Landale hold down the frontcourt and are averaging 11.8 and 10.4 points per game, respectively. Lukas Lekavicius, Edgaras Ulanovas, K.C. Rivers, and Arturas Milaknis have all picked up their scoring pace in the absence of top guard Marius Grigonis. Last, but certainly not least, Thomas Walkup has come into his own this season and contributes across the board. Zalgiris owned a woeful 3-12 record after 15 Rounds, but they have gone 9-3 since, and should get even better when Grigonis returns.
Zenit showed some signs of life around midseason, but they are currently mired in their second six-game losing streak. They have gotten good production from Gustavo Ayon, Austin Hollins, and Will Thomas, but just haven't been able to make all the pieces function efficiently in their first season in the EuroLeague. They are at least back at full strength for the first time in a while, having welcomed back Mateusz Ponitka – their fourth-leading scorer – last week.
Zenit did pick up a rare win last time they faced Zalgiris, notching an 82-70 victory in Round 5. That said, they'll be facing a different Zalgiris team this time around, and the away team should have the upper hand.
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Sergei Balashov - OUT - Undisclosed
3/3 9:51 PM IST - Balashov is not expected to play Tuesday against CSKA, according to euroleague.net. It's not clear why Balashov will likely sit out, but he has not appeared in a game for Zenit since Feb. 7.
Marius Grigonis - OUT - Ankle
3/5 4:31 AM IST - Grigonis (ankle) has resumed working out but is not yet practicing with his teammates, according to basketnews.lt. Grigonis is at the end of the three-month recovery timetable he was given after undergoing surgery in December, but he is not ready to resume playing just yet. His return should not be far off, though, and when he does get back into the swing of things he will make a streaking Zalgiris squad even more potent.
Zalgiris Probable Starters
Zenit Saint Petersburg Probable Starters
Gustavo Ayon, DYR - Zenit's rough season aside, Ayon, who's in his age-34 season, has played well. Overall, he's posting 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per contest.
Thomas Walkup, ZAL - The 27-year-old has been Zalgiris' best all-around player. He is averaging 9.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.0 steal per game while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 47.5 percent from behind the arc.
Zach LeDay, ZAL - LeDay has been on a tear lately, averaging 18.8 points over the last four Rounds. He is Zalgiris' leading scorer and will continue getting ample opportunities to score the ball.
Austin Hollins, DYR - Hollins has gone on a scoring binge of his own of late, and he had his best scoring day of the season in Round 27, putting up 28 points.
Grand League Combination
Ayon, Walkup, LeDay, Hollins
Small League Combination
Ayon, Walkup, LeDay, Hollins