Ignas Brazdeikis (Orlando Magic) savior of Lithuania against Bulgaria

On his national team debut, Orlando Magic winger Ignas Brazdeikis (1.98m, 23) made his mark in Lithuania’s win over Bulgaria 72-70.

Ignas Brazdeikis was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, but moved to the United States with his family as a child. The Brazdeikis soon found their home in Ontario, Canada, and Ignas fell in love with basketball, which landed him training at the University of Michigan, just south of the border. He played one season in the NCAA before being selected in the 2019 draft, and he spent the last three years between the NBA and the G League.

Against Bulgaria, Brazdeikis accumulated 13 points, but 5/15 in shots, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in 23 minutes.

“He didn’t really convert his shots, but he stayed in the game and played good defence. It will be the most important, that he fought until the end. He’s a player we can trust in critical moments,” coach Kazys Maksvytis said after the win. “He is one of the most talented players in the team. He likes to play with the physical. Ignas played hard, handled contact very well and we had advantageous situations with him. »

It was a Brazdeikis dunk that gave Lithuania a two-point lead, 71-69, with just over a minute to play. Bulgaria had a chance to equalize but it was once again Brazdeikis who did the work for Lithuania, grabbing the game’s biggest rebound as Stanimir Marinov missed a potentially game-winning lay-up. The super production of Alexander Vezenkov (29 points and 11 rebounds) was not enough for Bulgaria.

“I just want to win. I want to win every game I can. That’s the goal, that’s what we all want to do,” Brazdeikis told BasketNews. “You’re not always going to play well. You just have to keep your confidence and believe in what you can do. My teammates believed in me, the coach believed in me. That’s all I need. »

Lithuania is a future opponent of France in the second phase of these qualifications for the 2023 World Cup. It is currently undefeated with 5 victories. Bulgaria are now in a difficult position (1-4), a victory behind the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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