While many of you were sleeping, Luka Doncic was putting on a show in Tokyo, lighting up the Games in his Olympics debut. Less than 24 hours after the stars of Team USA were made to look mortal, Doncic’s talent shined brighter than ever against Argentina. Putting up 48 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists in less than 40-minutes.
Luka Doncic Shines Bright in His Olympic Debut
Doncic shines bright and picks up where he left off
The last time we saw Doncic on a basketball court, he left it all on the floor with a heroic 46 point, 14 assist performance in Game 7 against the Clippers. Doncic and the Mavericks ultimately came up short in the series decider; however, for the second straight post-season, the 22-year-old could hold his head high. Almost singlehandedly carrying Dallas’s offense, Doncic averaged 36 and 10 in a grueling seven-game matchup against an opponent spear-headed by All-Defensive team regulars.
On Monday morning in Tokyo, Doncic picked up where he left off and wasted no time in his first-ever taste of Olympic basketball. The Slovenian erupted for 17 first-quarter points on his way to a 31 point, 8 rebound first-half masterclass. The rest of Slovenia’s starting five combined for a total of 19 first-half points.
— Overtime (@overtime) July 26, 2021
Olympic Gold Is A Priority for Doncic
Slovenia are genuine contenders for Gold in these Olympics, make no mistake about it. They’re a basketball nation on the rise after winning the EuroBasket title in 2017 and possess arguably the best player in the games. Whilst Team USA is stacked with superstars like Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard; no player is as valuable to their team, as Doncic is to Slovenia.
Eyebrows were raised earlier this month when Doncic boldly claimed an Olympic gold with Slovenia would mean more to him than an NBA Championship. If his opening game performance against Argentina is anything to go by, he meant every word. Olympic gold is a dream, and a priority for Doncic this summer.
What’s Next for Slovenia?
The Slovenian team made history earlier this month when they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Their encounter against Argentina was the country’s first-ever Olympic basketball game, a moment of much anticipation.
However, after Doncic swiftly put his stranglehold on the ballgame, attention quickly shifted towards the game within the game. Slovenia led 62-42 at the break, and half-time discussions revolved around whether Doncic could break the Olympics’ scoring record of 55 points put up by Oscar Schmidt in 1988.
Doncic stayed deep in his bag in the second half, knocking down step-back three-pointers from well beyond the arc; but ultimately finished seven points shy of the record. With three minutes remaining, the Slovenian superstar checked out the game with a casual 48 points on 29 shots.
Only hours after Team USA had struggled to handle the physicality of an international defense; the 22-year-old who once claimed it was “easier to score in the NBA than in Europe”, made it look effortless.
Doncic and Slovenia will now turn their attention to Thursday morning, where they’ll face host nation Japan. Luka-mania has officially arrived in Tokyo.