The Dallas Mavericks and their fans got up early on Thursday to watch Luka Doncic take on France in the Olympic semifinals. Doncic was the event’s leading scorer coming in, but could he lead Slovenia into the gold medal game?
France presented the toughest task yet. They were also undefeated in their four games, including topping Team USA to kick off the event in Tokyo. Rudy Gobert is their anchor, but the French feature five NBA players. Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum were going to make it difficult for Doncic as they attempted to make their third Olympic basketball final. France won the silver medal in 1948 and 2000.
It was a historic performance from Luka in the Olympic semifinals in an entertaining and tight game. Doncic had the second-most assists in an Olympic contest and just the third triple-double in Olympic history, but it was not enough as France advanced to the gold medal game. Here is a look at how the Mavs superstar performed on Aug. 5 and what is next for Slovenia.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic makes history as Slovenia falls to France
Luka locked in early. He nailed two step-back 3-pointers and had his passing on full display in the opening quarter. Doncic had ten points, five assists, and three rebounds as Slovenia held a two-point advantage after one.
France was not going away. Rudy Gobert had two first-half blocks and was a force in the paint on both ends of the floor in the back-and-forth game. Luka almost had a triple-double after 20 minutes. He finished the half with 12 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds as Slovenia was up by two at the break.
France threw the first punch of the second half. Evan Fournier found his 3-point stroke and Gobert continued to dominate the paint as they raced out to a 10-point advantage. Nicolas Batum and his team were playing stout defense on Doncic as France’s depth shined. Luka was one rebound away from a historic triple-double at the end of the third, but Slovenia trailed by six after 30 minutes.
Things were hotly contested throughout the fourth quarter, but Slovenia failed to hit shots down the stretch as France took the victory. Luka and his country had a chance to win on the final possession, but Nicolas Batum blocked the layup. Doncic finished with 16 points, 18 assists, ten rebounds, one steal and one block.
Luka 18 assists were the second most in Olympic history. He also produced just the third triple-double in Olympic history. The 22-year-old struggled from the field, but it was an incredible performance. Luka went five of 18, including two of nine from 3-point range. The French defense made it tough on him, but the Mavericks star continued to make the proper play. Slovenia fell just short in a wild and entertaining contest.
Slovenia was plagued by poor free-throw shooting in the semifinal. They were 11 of 20 from the foul line. Those nine misses coupled with Luka’s poor shooting sunk them. It was an off night made more difficult by the tough French defense.
Luka Doncic and Slovenia will play Australia for the bronze medal in the 2020 Olympics on Aug. 7. The Dallas Mavericks superstar still has a chance to lead his country to a medal in Tokyo. One Maverick will walk away with one as Josh Green is playing for the Aussies. Bragging rights and Olympic bronze medal will be on the line, so do not miss it on Saturday morning.