Slovenia entered the match with Sweden in the knowledge that a win would take them on to the second round of the World Cup qualifiers. Slovenia previously beat Croatia to place them in this position.
Doncic led Slovenia by 31 points, followed by Goran Dragic by 20. Luka also finished with 10 rebounds, six assists and five turnovers. It was not his best game in the sales department, but it was still a dominant achievement. Overall, Doncic ended the match with 50 percent from the field.
Slovenia continued to win by a narrow margin against Sweden, 84-81, when Doncic showed several of his usual tricks. He found Mike Tobey for an alley-oop early in the second quarter. Tobey and Doncic showed the chemistry they share on the floor at the Tokyo Olympics. Doncic also beat several of his signature step-back threes. He even took out the rare can on a driving test to the rim.
Sweden drew the match with four minutes left on an alley-oop dunk. There were some points back and forth. With 1:40 left in the match, Slovenia was behind 81-80 when Zoran Dragic drove and kicked the ball out to his brother Goran, who scored on a drive and gave Slovenia the lead with 82-81. Doncic then turned the ball to give Sweden a streak of hope, but they could not capitalize and missed an open 3 for the lead. Slovenia cooled it off from there with two clutch free throws from Goran Dragic.
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Before the match, Luka Doncic met Dirk Nowitzki and his family, who were on hand to witness some “Luka Magic”. Nowitzki was even seen on the sidelines, crocheting Doncic (jokingly) with the hostile crowd and chanting, “Overrated!”
Overall, it was a fascinating achievement for Doncic and Slovenia. Whether it’s playing for his national team or playing for the Dallas Mavericks, the pride, gravel and joy that Doncic plays has something to see.