Luka Doncic showed his basketball magic once again to push the Slovenian national team (4-2) past a resilient Sweden (2-4) 84-81 (22-17, 19-24, 29-20, 14-20).
Sweden had several chances to take the win but missed both their chances. With 30 seconds left, Sweden had the ball with the ability to pull to the front as the team was only one point behind (81-82).
During a chaotic interception, the home team finally took the ball but Ludvig Hakanson’s shot was blocked by Zoran Dragic. With Doncic with the ball, he threw an unfortunate pass that was intercepted by Melwin Pantzar. A three-pointer from the corner by Pelle Larsson was not good, however, and Slovenia made a win.
Doncic finished the match with 31 points on 10-for-20 shots, took 10 rebounds, handed out 6 assists and stole 2 balls while making 5 turnovers to collect 32 PIR points.
The whole match was a fight back and forth between the teams with Slovenia who constantly tried to withdraw but Sweden kept pushing back.
With Dirk Nowitzki in place and good support from the Swedish fans, the home team was present throughout the match. Whenever Slovenia took a bigger lead, Sweden pushed back every time.
In addition to Doncic, Goran Dragic scored 20 points in his most recent match wearing the Slovenian national team uniform on 6-on-13 with 13 PIR to help the Dallas Mavericks superstar lead the team.
Ludwig Hakanson was the best goal scorer in Sweden’s team with 24 points on 7-for-18 shots, 4 rebounds and 9 assists for 24 PIR.
Slovenia will finish the first round of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers either in 2nd place or in 1st place in Group C depending on the result of the match between Finland and Croatia.
Sweden’s fate is still unclear as the team needs Croatia to lose to Finland in the last match of the round to qualify for the next round.
Sweden: Ludwig Hakanson 24 (4/8 2PT, 3/10 3PT, 7/7 FT, 4 REB, 9 AST, 3 TO, 24 PIR), Simon Birgander 15 (6/8 2PT, 7 REB, 21 PIR).
Slovenia: Luka Doncic 31 (6/9 2PT, 4/11 3PT, 7/9 FT, 10 REB, 6 AST, 5 TO, 32 PIR), Goran Dragic 20 (3/6 2PT, 3/7 3PT, 5 / 6 FT).