The Dallas Mavericks are still trying to finalize their roster around Luka Doncic for next season, while the 22-year-old superstar is playing in the Olympics. Luka led Slovenia to the semifinals where they lost in a heartbreaker to France, despite a historic performance from the Mavs star. He had just the third triple-double and second-most assists in a game in Olympic history.
France used a total team effort to top Slovenia, but it was Nicolas Batum that made the game-saving play. After doubling on Luka, Klemen Prepelic drove to the basket only to be blocked from behind by Batum to secure the 90-89 victory and put France into the gold medal game. It was heartbreaking loss for Doncic and Slovenia as the nation of just over 2 million people will play for the bronze on Saturday morning.
Batum has seen plenty of Luka in recent months. The Clippers defeated the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, despite an otherworldly performance from Doncic. Batum saw firsthand another historic night from the Mavs star on Aug. 5, and he had plenty of praise for Luka after the game.
Luka Doncic receives high praise from Nicolas Batum after Olympic tussle
Immediately following the final horn, Batum went over to Doncic on the bench. See the photo and what the French forward said to the Mavericks star below.
Batum was far from done there. In his postgame presser, Batum said this about Luka.
"“He’s the present. And he’s the next.”"
The 32-year-old veteran also shared this post on Instagram showing respect for the Mavs superstar.
Nicolas Batum has been playing in the NBA since 2008 and has been tasked with guarding the opposition’s best scorer for years. To hear him offering such massive praise for Luka is impressive, but should not be surprising. Doncic has been the best player in Tokyo and was only further staked his claim as a top-five player in the world right now. The 22-year-old’s game will only improve, so the rest of the world should be on notice.
Dallas Mavericks fans will not want to miss Saturday’s bronze medal game. Luka Doncic will be looking to lift his country to a medal, but a tough Australian squad stands in the way. The Mavs will have a medalist as Josh Green plays for the Aussies. Expect Luka to put on a show on Saturday morning local time in Dallas, so tune in.