Luka Doncic scored 48 points, including the game-winning shot with 26 seconds left, as Slovenia beat Argentina 108-107 in the first game of their Olympic debut.
Luka Doncic scores 48 points in Olympic debut as Slovenia wins opener over Argentina.
SAITAMA, JAPAN – SAITAMA, JAPAN – Luka Doncic is a 22-year-old Olympic rookie who may still be a few years away from reaching his full potential.
Sergio Hernandez doesn’t have to wait long to make his decision.
Argentina’s coach said, “For me, I said this two years ago: He is the greatest player in the world, including the NBA.” “And if there was any question in my mind before, it has now vanished. He is the world’s finest player.”
After Doncic’s performance at the Saitama Super Arena on Monday, it’s difficult to disagree.
Doncic led Slovenia to a 118-100 win in his Olympic debut, scoring 48 points, which matched for the second-highest total in men’s basketball history at the Games.
Doncic scored 31 points in the first half of Slovenia’s first Olympic game, putting him on track to surpass the Games’ scoring record of 55 points set by Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt in 1988.
Despite the fact that Slovenia’s large lead meant he didn’t have to do as much in the second half, the Dallas Mavericks guard remained on the court long into the fourth quarter, tying Eddie Palubinskas, who had 48 for Australia in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
When Doncic pulled out with a few minutes remaining, there was still enough time to break the record, but he wasn’t interested in seeking additional points.
He said, “I don’t care about records.” “We came here wanting a victory, and that’s exactly what we got.”
Both were desired by his teammates.
“On the bench, everyone was encouraging him, ‘OK, let’s grab the record,’” veteran Zoran Dragic recalled.
“But that’s not the issue; the case is to win the game, which he understands, and it’s incredible that he’s just 22.”
Slovenia didn’t even have a place in the Olympics until earlier this month, but due to Doncic, who had a historic first postseason in the NBA and may do the same in the Olympics, the country is a medal contender.
Argentina’s Luis Scola led the team with 23 points. The Denver Nuggets’ Facundo Campazzo contributed 21 points.
The first day of play in Group C pitted Luka against Luis, the prodigy against the veteran, who was starting his record-tying sixth Olympic appearance in men’s basketball.
Luka Doncic scored 31 points in the first half of Slovenia’s first Olympic game. He ended with 48 points, which is tied for the second most in men’s basketball history. Eric Gay/Associated Press
But it was apparent early on that Doncic would be the star of the show, as he scored 15 points in the first five minutes of the game.
“He was clearly too talented,” Scola remarked. “I mean, he was incredible,” says the narrator.
Doncic shot from areas where Argentina couldn’t run out to defend, hitting step-back 3-pointers from far beyond the international 3-point line — one came from well inside the Games logo at center court.
He just brought his game inside when they attempted, scoring consecutive points on follow shots in the second quarter on route to 11 rebounds.
Slovenia extended a 39-34 advantage to 62-42 at halftime with a 23-8 second-half performance.
Manu Ginobili, the Argentine legend, was thrilled, tweeting at halftime that Doncic was “a beast” with “tremendous command of the game.”
Even before going on to earn Rookie of the Year accolades in the NBA, Doncic had previously shown that ability while playing in Europe. He became the first NBA player to average 30 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in his first playoff series in his second season.
It’s possible that his first Olympics will be even better.
Slovenia has been on the upswing, winning the EuroBasket championship in 2017 and then qualifying for the Olympics earlier this month by winning one of the Olympic qualification tournaments. After the Mavericks were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, Doncic moved straight to playing for his nation, and the Slovenians defeated host Lithuania in the championship.
When Ginobili and other players from that period decided to end it a career, Argentina, the 2004 Olympic winners, were considered to be beyond their prime.
But Scola is still around, and the Argentines proved they’re not done when they made a surprising run to the gold medal game in the Basketball World Cup two years ago, losing to Spain only after securing their place in the Olympics.
Spain is also in Group C, along with host Japan, although both matches should be no more difficult than facing Doncic.
“We did everything we’d do against a regular guy,” Hernandez said, “but he’s not a typical player.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How many points did Luka doncic have tonight Slovenia?
Luka Doncic had 23 points in Slovenias game against Serbia.
What country is Luka doncic playing for in Olympics?
Luka Doncic is playing for the Slovenian national team.
Did Slovenia basketball win?
Yes, Slovenia basketball did win.
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