The Dallas Mavericks and their fans had to stay up late again to watch superstar Luka Doncic in the Olympic Games. He did not disappoint in the opener with a 48-point performance in a win over Argentina. Doncic was not going to let it happen against Japan either.
The hosts have a strong squad that plays hard. They lost to Spain in the opener, but Wizards forward Rui Hachimura produced 20 points. Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe also plays a key role for the Olympic hosts. Japan needed a win to improve its chances of advancing to the knockout stage.
Slovenia had a chance to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals with a victory, and Luka Doncic was not going to miss the opportunity. He controlled the game to lift his country to their second dominating Olympic win. Here is a closer look at the Mavs superstar’s performance against Japan.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic controls Slovenia’s win over Japan
Luka kept it locked in early. He played the entire first quarter and finished with 13 points, three assists, two rebounds, and one block. Doncic missed both of his 3-point attempts but was a perfect five of five from inside the arc. Japan competed hard with Rui Hachimura netting 13 points, but Slovenia was up by six after one.
The Mavs superstar started the second quarter on the floor. He finally took his first rest with just over six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Luka had 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block before heading to the bench. Japan was not going away, but they had few answers for stopping Doncic.
Luka returned with 2:10 left in the second. Slovenia ballooned the lead to 13 without their superstar. It was a quiet few minutes for the Mavericks superstar, but his country had a 53-41 lead over the hosts at halftime.
Slovenia came out and quickly pushed the advantage to 18 with Doncic controlling the tempo of the game. He was forced to sit midway through the quarter after picking up his third personal foul. Slovenia could not afford to take a chance with their superstar, especially when players foul out with five in FIBA play. Japan could not close the gap. Slovenia led by 16 at the end of the third, despite playing 5.5 minutes without their superstar.
Luka came back in early in the fourth and went right to work. He drilled his patented step-back 3-pointer to get him going. Doncic had eight points and controlled the tempo to push Slovenia out to an insurmountable lead. The 22-year-old rested the final four-plus minutes of the contest. He finished with 25 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocks in 25.8 minutes in the dominating 116-81 victory over Japan.
Luka Doncic and Slovenia advanced to the knockout stage with the victory. They face Spain in the final Group C game on Aug. 1. The winner takes the group and sets themselves up for an easier quarterfinal. Expect the Dallas Mavericks superstar to go off as they try to defeat Spain for the second straight time. Fans will certainly not want to miss it.