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Malice at the Lithuanian Palace

Lithuanian basketball final goes off the rails as coach pushes opposing coach, nearly fights owner, then denies it all

While the eyes of the basketball world are on the NBA Finals this week, it’s not only the climatic hardcourt finale going down on God’s Jordan’s beautiful green earth. Over in the Betsafe LKL, Lithuania’s top-flight basketball association, Lietkabelis and Rytas are also squaring off for all the marbles. With the series knotted at a game a piece on Wednesday, Game 3 got underway and almost immediately lept the tracks. It was an absolute blowout from the first whistle, and with Rytas leading 51-25 with a minute remaining in the first half, Lietkabelis head coach Nened Canak lost his mind, pushing opposing coach Giedrius Zibenas while storming toward the tunnel, where he was met by an owner of Rytas, nearly coming to blows. Let the chaos reign.

Malice at the Lithuanian Palace it ain’t, at least not quite, but Canak’s meltdown, in concert with Zibenas’ flop and forehead vein-pulsating intervention from the stands, still goes down as the greatest basketball blow up we’ve seen this year. And best of all, Canak didn’t apologize or admit to any wrongdoing. After the game he simply doubled down, offering up the Lithuanian equivalent of “I’m walkin’ heeyah!”

Glorious stuff across the board. The series now swings back to Rytas on Saturday for Game 4. Get those VPNs and torrents ready. Hack an NSA satellite. Break out the ol’ rabbit ears if you have to. Stop at nothing. Do whatever it takes, because this is going to be must-see TV.