Luka Doncic leads Slovenia to semi-final, closer to first Olympic basketball medal – .

Luka Doncic leads Slovenia to semi-final, closer to first Olympic basketball medal – .

SAITAMA, Japan – Luka Doncic and Slovenia need a victory for a medal in their Olympic basketball debut.
Victories are all Doncic gets when he wears his country’s uniform.

Doncic had 20 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and Slovenia beat Germany 94-70 on Tuesday in the opening game of the men’s quarter-finals.

Zoran Dragic gave Slovenia a quick start with his first six shots and finished 11 for 13 en route to his 27 points.

Doncic is the undisputed star of the Slovenes – perhaps of the entire basketball tournament. But all the attention he’s getting means opposing defenses have to leave the other players open, and Doncic is happy to give them the ball.

“He’s the team leader,” Dragic said. “We know that and we accept it, but we have so many weapons on our team and it’s easy to play with him because when he plays like three guys have to keep him. “

Doncic was not keen at the start of the local 10am start, but picked it up in the second half with his score and play to prevent Germany from making a serious dent in Slovenia’s lead.

The Slovenes will face unbeaten France in the semi-final on Thursday.

They are 17-0 competing with Doncic, now looking to add Olympic gold to the European Championship they won in 2017.

“Very good group of guys playing together. Excellent chemistry. There is no ego in the team, ”said Slovenian coach Aleksander Sekulic. “There is no selfishness and they really play hard in every game. “

Slovenia won their group by beating world champion Spain 95-87 on Sunday to claim one of the seeds, avoiding having to face the United States, France or Australia until the half -final.

But Germany were pretty tough for a while, coming back up after Slovenia’s early start, before Doncic and his team-mates moved away for good at the start of the second half.

“They obviously have one of the best players in the world, but he’s not alone,” said Germany coach Henrik Roedl.

“When everyone is hitting, it’s very difficult to play against this team. “

Maodo Lo scored 11 points as Germany wrapped up their first Olympic appearance since 2008, when they were coached by Dirk Nowitzki, Doncic’s teammate in his rookie season in Dallas.

Doncic was the tournament’s top scorer with 28.3 points per game during the group stage. For the second game in a row, he finished just ahead of the first triple-double at the Olympics since LeBron James for the United States in 2012.

Both teams took advantage of their last chances of qualifying for the Olympics by winning two of the four qualifying tournaments that took place last month.

Slovenia has more important goals than just getting here.

Slovenia took a 23-12 lead with nine of their first 12 shots, Dragic being 4-for-4. It was 25-14 after a quarter, but Lo scored three runs in just over a minute halfway through the second as Germany rallied to take the 32-31 advantage.

Slovenia quickly regained the advantage and took a 44-37 lead in the locker room when Dragic scored 3 points for the last basket of half-time.

Dragic made another 3 to open the second half and pushed the lead back to double digits, and it wasn’t close again.


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