This Group B matchup between Zalgiris Kaunas and CSKA Moscow will be the first of 12 games in Round 1 of the Euroleague regular season. It'll be played at the brand new Zalgirio Arena and can be seen on ESPN3.com Monday at 2:45 ET.
Zalgiris Kaunas features Ty Lawson, who spent the last two seasons with the Denver Nuggets and Sonny Weems. Weems averaged 9.2 points in 59 appearances with the Toronto Raptors last season.
Weems had a huge showing when Zalgiris defeated Sakalai Vilnius, 84-59, in LKL play on Oct. 6, hitting eight of 12 field goals in scoring 19 points in 29 minutes.
Lawson scored 13 points for Zalgiris in a surprising 86-78 loss to Astana, a first-year club from Kazahkstan, on Oct. 9 in the VTB United League which is comprised of teams from Northern and Eastern Europe.
Zalgiris Kaunas has appeared in two Euroleague finals, winning the championship in 1999 and finishing second in 1986. Zalgiris were the champions of the Baltic league, the Lithuanian league and the Lithuanian Cup last year and advanced to the Top 16 of the Euroleague for the third time in four years. Seven players return from that squad.
Zalgiris Kaunas has won four of five outings this fall with a 2-0 record in the Lithuanian League (LKL) and a 2-1 record in the VTB United League after an 84-82 decision over Krasnie Krilya on Friday in its most recent outing.
Zalgiris will be honoring another former NBA player, Marcus Brown, who has retired and leaves as the Euroleague's all-time leading scorer with 2,715 career points. Brown, who also played with CSKA Moscow during his 11-year Euroleague career, scored a total of 92 points in 21 games with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1996-97 and six more with the Detroit Pistons in 1999-2000.
CSKA Moscow has Andrei Kirilenko who spent the last 10 seasons with the Utah Jazz. CSKA Moscow has a familiar cast of frontcourt players. Joining Kirilenko up front are Nenad Krstic, who played with Nets, Thunder and Celtics over the past seven seasons, Viktor Khryapa, who spent two years each with the Blazers and Bulls, and former Kansas center Sasha Kaun.
While CSKA has bolstered its frontcourt it will need to replace two veteran U.S. guards who retired: J.R. Holden, a Bucknell alum who manned the point, and former Duke star Trajan Langdon, who spent three seasons with Cleveland Cavaliers from 1999-2002.
Kirilenko displayed his unselfish ways in CSKA's last game, a 92-60 triumph over Enisey Friday. Kirilenko had more assists (five) than shots (4) and totaled five points and six boards in 22 minutes. Kaun added 10 points and six rebounds while Krstic scored eight points.
CSKA Moscow is one of the most successful clubs in the history of this championship, which began in 1958, with six titles and five runner-up finishes. Only Real Madrid, with eight titles, has won more championships, while defending champion Panathinaikos claimed its sixth title last year.
CSKA Moscow appeared in four consecutive championship games from 2006-2009, winning titles in 2006 and 2008. CSKA failed to advance beyond this round of play last year after reaching the Final Four or further in the previous eight campaigns.
CSKA has won 18 Russian league (PBL) titles and opened league play this season with a 79-62 victory over Nizhny Novgorod on Oct. 6. Darjus Lavrinovic led that effort with 20 points. That was before Kirilenko signed with the club.
CSKA lost its first game with the former NBA All-Star in the lineup to Spartak on Oct. 11 in VTB competition, 83-81, despite his 15 points. Eugeny Voronov led a balanced CSKA attack with 12 points in Friday's win over Enisey, its most-recent outing.