Luka Doncic puts up 30-point triple double as Slovenia beats Lithuania to earn its first-ever trip to the Olympics.
Doncic scored 31 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds and issuing 13 assists in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Lithuania.
Slovenia will now head to Tokyo as part of Group C along with Argentina, Japan, and Spain with the top two teams from each group and two overall wildcards advancing to the quarterfinals.
Luka Doncic mesmerized the NBA during the 2020-21season. After his Mavs got eliminated by the L.A. Clippers in the playoffs, Doncic went home to play for his country for the first time in four years.
The last time Doncic donned the national colors of Slovenia, he electrified Europe as an 18-year old who led his team to a historic EuroBasket title. On Sunday, he added yet another chapter to his young legend.
.@luka7doncic finishes the game with a triple double!🔥
Slovenia will compete in the Olympics for the first time in the nation’s history. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/XlFz7e1mBV
— theScore (@theScore) July 4, 2021
After missing a triple double in Slovenia’s semifinal win against Venezuela, Doncic stamped his class against host Lithuania in the finals of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, putting up a spectacular statline of 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists. The Dallas Mavericks superstar shot 57% from the field and had a 42 EFF.
Behind Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania gave a good fight in the first half despite Doncic already at 26-6-5. But from a 52-52 halftime tie, Slovenia pulled away in the third quarter by outscoing the hosts 28-17 in the decisive third quarter.
With the defeat, Lithuania will not qualify for the Olympics for the first time-ever. The European nation has been a perennial Olympic team and has appeared in the previous seven Olympic games with three bronze medals won during that stretch.
On the other hand, Slovenia will be heading to the Olympics for the first time ever.
First Olympics for Slovenia
Luka Doncic and Slovenia have qualified to compete in the Olympics for the first time in the nation’s history 👏 pic.twitter.com/5ZxJZ6xD7t
— ESPN (@espn) July 4, 2021
Slovenia entered the tournament as the third-highest ranked team in FIBA at 16th behind no. 8 Lithuania and no. 8 Poland. But without doubt, they had the best player in the tournament in Doncic and he led his team to victories over both squads during the tournament, including the 96-85 win over Lithuania in the final.
Doncic was spectacular throughout the tournament, averaging 21.3 points, 8 rebounds, 11.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while committing just 2.3 turnovers per contest. He had at least 10 assists in the last three games. Luka also shot 55% from the floor and 39.6% from deep to win the TISSOT MVP award of the tournament in runaway fashion.
With Doncic unstoppable, Slovenia was dominant throughout the tournament. They won all their games by a double-digit margin and had an average winning margin of 31 points.
Olympic Roster now Complete
The final four spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics have been filled.https://t.co/P8icXL8aKt
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 5, 2021
With the conclusion of the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers, the final four spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics have been filled by Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Slovenia. The teams are divided into three groups of four teams with the Top 2 placers per group and two wildcards will advance to the quarterfinals.
Italy and Germany will be joining Australia and Nigeria in Group B while the Czech Republic will be grouped with betting favorites USA and France. The best basketball betting sites have placed the Americans as the heavy betting favorites to win a third straight gold medal while France is third in the latest odds boards behind Spain.
Slovenia will part of Group C of the men’s basketball tournament. They will be facing Argentina on July 26, then hosts Japan on July 29, and then the defending World Cup champions Spain on August 1st. With two of FIBA’s top 4 teams in their group, the Slovenians have a tough task ahead. However, we know that nothing is impossible when you have Luka Magic.