The Dallas Mavericks continue to gear up for free agency. They are looking for ways to improve their roster around Luka Doncic. The 22-year-old superstar is already a top-five player in the world, but Dallas has yet to advance past the first round of the playoffs with him leading their charge. Doncic needs more help to make that a reality, but his focus is currently elsewhere.
Luka is leading the Slovenian National Team in the Olympic Games. They impressively won their first two games, including dominating Japan last time out but faced their toughest test yet on Aug. 1. Spain was also undefeated coming in and the reigning World Cup winners. It was a true heavyweight showdown with the winner taking Group C.
Spain was aggressive in trying to stop Luka Doncic. He drew two and sometimes three defenders every time he touched the ball. The 22-year-old still managed to put on a show in a wild and entertaining game. Doncic narrowly missed a triple-double as Slovenia picked up the 95-87 victory. Here is more on Luka’s performance.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic leads Slovenia to win over Spain
Luka got off to a slow start on Aug. 1. He did not score his first point until 4:16 left in the first quarter as Spain was focusing a ton of defensive attention on the Mavericks superstar. They were double-teaming, using the box-and-one, and trying to force the rest of the Slovenian team to beat them.
Doncic picked up three fouls, including two offensive in the opening quarter that forced him to the bench. He had four points, five rebounds, three assists, and three turnovers after just over nine minutes on the court. Spain had a four-point advantage after one, but Luka’s foul trouble was the key storyline. Head coach Aleksander Sekulic left him in with two, and the 22-year-old picked up a third as he drove to the basket with under a minute remaining in the period.
Luka returned with 5:24 left in the second quarter and Slovenia trailing by five. It was a risky move that worked out. Doncic did not pick up another foul as his team cut the Spanish lead to three at the break. The 22-year-old superstar had eight points, nine rebounds, and five assists after 20 minutes of play.
Spain raced their lead out to double-digits early in the third, thanks to some hot shooting by Rudy Fernandez, but Slovenia refused to go away. The Spanish advantage was two at the end of the third quarter. Doncic had 12 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and one steal after 30 minutes. Spain was throwing everything at him, but his teammates were stepping up to keep Slovenia in the contest.
Luka quarterbacked the comeback win on Sunday. Slovenia scored 27 points in the final quarter and played stout defense to beat the reigning World Cup champions. Doncic finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, and one steal. Amazingly, he did not pick up another foul after three in the opening quarter. It was an impressive performance from both Luka and his team to win Group C and prove they should be medal favorites in Tokyo.
Luka Doncic and Slovenia advanced to the quarterfinals undefeated. They will need to win their next game to play in a medal contest. Slovenia is tough to defeat with Doncic running the show. No team is looking forward to facing them in the knockout stage. Stay tuned to The Smoking Cuban for all the latest on Luka’s Olympic run.