The strategist of the Lithuanian team assured that all possible tasks were essentially fulfilled during those seven matches.
“We played match after match, sometimes it’s hard to get motivated, especially after the match against Spain when the arena was full. But the championship will have the same format – several matches in a few days, we tried it in training.
As for the duel with the Dutch, there was still a fight in the first half, then we finally managed to deal with the balls under the baskets, we made few mistakes, we covered the opponent’s three-pointers, the exchange of covers worked well.
We managed to introduce new people to the game, to keep the leaders – we have achieved our goals and from Monday we will start preparations for the selection and the championship,” said the coach.
– How do you rate Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who appeared on the field for the first time?
– We planned to keep him on the field less. We need a more mobile player in our lineup – if Mindaugas gets into the lineup, he would have a lot of work to do.
Especially since Eigirdas Žukauskas is out now. Before Mindaugas, we had fewer options in attack and defense. We thought that he would have to play less to get into the rhythm more calmly, but it is as it is.
– After the match with the Spaniards, there were talks about one or another player joining the game from the bench and the starting five. This time, Marius Grigonis came from the bench. How did he do?
– You don’t have to get attached to that bench and entering the game. There are 6-7 players around the starting five, maybe sometimes it will be M. Grigonis, and sometimes it will be A. Butkevičius, if we have a defensive task.
Ignas starts better, he is one of our main players, we will try to play him in the starting five more often. But this does not mean that the five will be tied to something – we will react.
– How do you assess Lukas Lekavicius’ preparation for the competition?
– In the last couple of games, he played worse than he can. I know what he can do, he will definitely come back. We need such a player, he can change the course of the match by going out in short periods – score points, defend. Maybe those few games were worse for him, but I believe in him that sometimes he will pull our games.
– Is L. Lekavicius’ worse form related to the end of the season and the summer? Do you find it difficult to find yourself in a game with tall people?
– I think we need to talk about summer. He also got married in the summer…
– What is the condition of Eigirdas Žukauskas?
– On Monday we will do tests and see if he will start training from Monday. If so, there’s little chance he’ll play in Wednesday’s World Qualifiers. We’ll kind of wait, he looked good, hopefully he’ll be back.
– 7 wins out of 7 possible in a series of control matches – how can you evaluate this?
– It is difficult to judge, we won, but against the Spaniards we played better away than at home. There was some nervousness in Vilnius.
It’s good to get point-to-point matches. We wanted to play against such strong opponents as the Spaniards, but the Macedonians refused, and we had to change opponents.
Preparation is good, winning is good, but a coach always wants to do better. Now all that’s left to do is cash out that twelve.
– Can it happen in the championship that the main centers of the national team – Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valančiūnas – will sit on the bench at the same time. Won’t it be too much of a luxury?
– Anything is possible. If we want to apply defense exchange, we will have to. There are all kinds of plans. But the fastest scenario is that they will start together in the starting five, and then change.
– now E. Žukauskas is still recovering from his injury. Can you imagine that you plan to keep 13 players until the last day of preparation?
– Probably. There is no silence about the need to have 14 players in the championship, the federation also asked for that. because so many injuries and now the COVID situations are taking their toll. .
For now, the rules are only 12 players. We will take our time, if we see that there is nothing to check, then we will choose twelve.