The Dallas Mavericks are looking to improve the roster around Luka Doncic this offseason, but first, the 22-year-old superstar was trying to lead his native Slovenia to the Olympics. The country of just over 2 million has never played in the event. Doncic was determined to get them there.
They reached the finals of the Qualifying tournament by defeating Venezuela behind a masterful performance from Luka. Lithuania stood in the way of the championship and a spot in Tokyo. The hosts featured Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas and presented the toughest test yet for Slovenia.
Luka had a his best game on Sunday to lift his country to the Olympics. He was scoring, making plays, and quarterbacking the game beautifully. It was an incredible performance to defeat the host country and qualify for Tokyo. Here is a closer look at his performance and a brief look ahead to the Olympics.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic masterful as Slovenia tops Lithuania
Luka got rolling early in the must-win game. He played the first nine minutes on July 4. The Mavs superstar had six points, four assists, and three rebounds in the opening quarter as Slovenia led by four at the break. Doncic got up for a quick dunk in the crucial contest.
Slovenia was up by eight when Doncic went to the bench in the first quarter, but they trailed by one when he returned with just over 7.5 minutes remaining in the second. Luka had his entire arsenal on display in the final. He had 14 points in the period and was well on his way to a triple-double in the first half. The thrilling game was tied after 20 minutes. See Luka’s best plays from the second quarter below.
Slovenia dominated the third quarter with Doncic quarterbacking. They were up by 11 heading into the fourth as the 22-year-old superstar had 27 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds after 30 minutes.
Slovenia finished off the 96-85 win in the fourth quarter. Luka finished with 31 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in the pressure packed game. He was 13 of 23 from the field, and Slovenia outscored Lithuania by 15 in Doncic’s 33.7 minutes on the floor. It was an incredible performance from the Dallas Mavericks superstar.
Fouls were an interesting subplot in the game. Both teams struggled with them, and it forced multiple players to the bench early, including Domantas Sabonis and Mike Tobey. The Slovenian big man picked up his fourth foul midway through the third, which changed the game. Luka was just too good, though. He lifted his country to an impressive win and kept Lithuania out of the Olympics for the first time.
Luka Doncic and Slovenia advanced to Tokyo with the win. They will be in Olympic Group C against Spain, Japan, and Argentina. Luka and his countrymen qualified Slovenia for their first Olympic games, and they will be a tough out in Tokyo. Doncic plans on leading them to a medal. Stay tuned for plenty more on Luka and the Slovenian National Team this summer.