Slovenia Falls Short As Luka Doncic Faces Ejection In FIBA Quarterfinals

Photo: Instagram/Luka Doncic

In a dramatic showdown at the FIBA World Cup Quarterfinals, Luka Doncic and his Slovenian team clashed with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's formidable Canadian squad.

The stakes were high, as the winner would secure a spot in the finals against Serbia. Despite a closely contested first half, with neither side holding a double-digit lead, Canada ultimately prevailed with a final score of 100-89.

Canada's defensive strategy against Doncic differed significantly from previous opponents. They opted for a more calculated approach, akin to Germany's, focusing on switching to force Doncic into one-on-one situations instead of Australia's aggressive double-teaming.

Photo: Instagram/Luka Doncic

Meanwhile, Slovenia's defensive tactic revolved around sagging off the weakest floor-spacing threat, often targeting Dillon Brooks to ease the defensive load on Doncic. Slovenia initially weathered the storm of Doncic's absence, but upon his return early in the second quarter, they found themselves in a tie game at the half.

Canada gained momentum in the third quarter, building a substantial lead through Slovenia's miscues, and they intensified their defensive pressure to limit Doncic's influence. Despite Slovenia's success with three-pointers, Canada responded with timely shots, preventing Doncic's team from making significant inroads on the deficit.

The tide briefly turned in Slovenia's favor towards the end of the third quarter, but Canada still led 80-71 heading into the final period. Slovenia's hopes dwindled in the fourth quarter, and with 7:06 left on the clock, they trailed by a daunting 92-76 margin.

Doncic's ejection after receiving a second technical foul further dimmed their chances. Despite a late surge to make it a single-digit game, Slovenia fell short. Doncic, the star of the Dallas Mavericks, posted 26 points, four rebounds, five assists, and two steals in his 29 minutes on the court.

However, he struggled with his two-point shooting, going 4-14, while performing well from beyond the arc and at the free-throw line. Slovenia's Klemen Prepelic contributed 22 points, but no other player reached double figures.

Canada, led by Gilgeous-Alexander's outstanding performance of 31 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists, secured the victory. R.J. Barrett chipped in with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Dillon Brooks and Nickeil Alexander-Walker also made significant contributions.

With this win, Canada advanced to face Serbia, while Slovenia's next challenge would be against Lithuania, as they sought to bounce back from their loss.

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Source: Sports Illustrated

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