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Wolves Twinsbet drops Game 1 against 7bet-Lietkabelis in the match’s waning moments

The battle for the bronze series in the Lithuanian Basketball League (Betsafe-LKL) started off with 7bet-Lietkabelis of Panevėžys stealing Game 1 from Wolves Twinsbet (84-86), persevering throughout the match, and eventually going up 1:0. The second faceoff of the best-of-three series will take place in Panevėžys on June 6 (Thursday).

Jeffery Taylor and Christian Mekowulu did not play for the Vilnius-based club, while Nikola Popovic wasn’t able to suit up for Panevėžys. The game began evenly, but Vytenis Lipkevičius heated up to give the lead to 7bet-Lietkabelis – 9:5. Eigirdas Žukauskas and Tre’Shawn Thurman responded with three-pointers, but Dovis Bičkauskis wrestled back the advantage for the visitors – 17:13. Both teams exchanged long-distance buckets, and by the end of the first quarter, Vilnius led 27:21.

Vaidas Kariniauskas padded the lead for Wolves Twinsbet (32:23), but the hosts had problems dealing with Gabrielius Maldūnas and D. Bičkauskis as they trimmed the deficit down to 29:32. Deividas Sirvydis kept the offense going for Panevėžys, but it was not enough as the Wolves ended the second quarter with a ten-point advantage – 48:38.

In the third quarter, Dž. Gagič and D. Bičkauskis tried to chip away at the difference (43:50), followed by D. Sirvydis and Gediminas Orelikas nailing a three-pointer each to claw right back – 49:52. Regimantas Miniotas and T. Thurman prevented the visitors from tying the score and re-established control (56:49), paving the way to a 9-point Wolves spread – 61:52. Wolves Twinsbet led 71:63 at the end of the period.

Early in the fourth quarter, Rasheed Sulaimon sank a three-pointer to give the Wolves a double-digit headstart (74:63), but Dž. Gagič and D. Sirvydis’ combined efforts brought 7bet-Lietkabelis right back – 68:76. The men of Panevėžys persevered to shrink the distance against Vilnius (74:79), and D. Bičkauskis sank free throws to make it 77:79. With less than 4 minutes remaining, E. Žukauskas scored clutch points for the Wolves, marking the score at 83:77. However, D. Sirvydis buried a three-pointer (80:84), and G. Maldūnas also scored to pull within 82:84.

In the game’s final sequences, both squads traded turnovers, but, eventually, D. Sirvydis made his free throws to forge a tie at 84-all. With 18 seconds left in the game, A. Žagars made a crucial error, and D. Bičkauskis converted both penalty shots to steal the lead, 86:84 – eventually giving his team the win. Wolves Twinsbet was led by T. Thurman – he scored 21 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and collected 27 EFF.

(Photo: Saulius Čirba)