Luka Doncic and Slovenia moved to within two victories of a gold medal finish in their Olympic basketball debut as they obliterated Germany, 94-70, in the men’s quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Doncic continued his fine play in the tournament, recording 20 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds in another brilliant all-around performance in the quarterfinals. The Dallas Mavericks superstar entered Tuesday’s match against Germany as the tournament’s leading scorer, averaging 28.3 points per game in the group stage.
He was unstoppable yet again in the win against Germany as he finished just two rebounds shy of the first triple-double in the Olympics since LeBron James accomplished that feat for the United States back in 2012. Doncic now has three 20-point games in this year’s Olympics, including a 48-point explosion in Slovenia’s group opener against Argentina.
Doncic is still undefeated on the international stage
Doncic not only helped his country reach the semifinals in their first Olympic appearance in men’s basketball, but he also preserved his unbeaten slate when playing with the Slovenian national team. Slovenia is now a perfect 17-0 when Doncic is in the lineup.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for Slovenia, though, in the quarterfinals as Doncic and co. had to withstand a furious fightback by Germany in the second quarter. Slovenia started the game strongly, building a 25-14 lead after the first quarter. However, the Germans battled back in the second period, unleashing an 18-6 run to grab a shock 32-31 lead.
Slovenia finished the first half strong, though, delivering a 13-5 blast to take a 44-37 advantage at the half-time interval. The Slovenians piled on the pressure in the second half as they continued their magical win streak that stretches back to the 2017 European Championships, where they won an unlikely gold medal.
A bigger prize is at stake in Tokyo, with Slovenia in a prime position to win gold here as well. The good news for Slovenia is that other players are stepping up as well, aside from Doncic. Zoran Dragic was red-hot in the win against Germany, knocking down his first six shots to give Slovenia the early lead. He finished the game with 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field.
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Slovenia faces a tough test against France in the semifinals
Things are bound to get tougher for Doncic and the rest of Slovenia as they will next face France in the semifinals. Like Slovenia, France is still unbeaten in the tournament after defeating Italy in a thrilling quarterfinal clash on Tuesday. France needed a late 11-2 run to end Italy’s uprising and secure an 84-75 victory.
The Frenchmen have emerged as one of the main gold medal contenders after beating Team USA in their opening group match. Slovenia will need to find ways to stop Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, who are playing some excellent ball at the moment. Gobert scored 22 points against Italy, while Fournier had 21 on the same day that he agreed to a big-money deal with the New York Knicks.
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