Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo beats Slovenia’s Luka Doncic to advance to Olympic Qualifying Final

Giannis Antetokounmpo has yet to qualify for the Olympics during his career. He is now just one win away from changing that.

Thomas Walkup scored 19 points and Antetokounmpo added 13 in 21 minutes as Greece moved within one win of France at the Paris Olympics after eliminating Luka Doncic and Slovenia 96-68 on Saturday in the semifinals of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

“Since coach (Vassilis) Spanoulis took over, we have had one goal, which is to qualify for the Olympic Games. We are one match away from that. We have to be humble and focused,” Walkup said.

Doncic finished with 21 points in Piraeus, Greece, which saw the first meeting between the two NBA stars while representing their national teams.

“They played a lot better than us. They were a lot more aggressive. I think they have a great team. Obviously they have Giannis. But there are other pieces that are very important to them as well. And they are very well-coached… They outplayed us today,” Doncic said.

This game was one of eight semifinals played to determine the last four spots in the men’s basketball tournament at the Paris Olympics.

Vasileios Toliopoulos added 14 points for Greece, who will meet Croatia on Sunday in the Greek championship final, with a place at the Paris Olympics going to the winner.

The other semi-final matches in the tournaments of Spain, Latvia and Puerto Rico were held today, Saturday.

Doncic, who played through injury in the NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks in their five-game loss to the Boston Celtics, has averaged 31 points in Slovenia’s first two qualifying games but was lackluster Saturday against Greece’s potent offense.

Slovenia suffered an early defeat, as Greece scored the first 13 points of the game and led 32-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Greece’s lead increased to 23 points in the second quarter before Slovenia took advantage of a late surge to cut the deficit to 47-33 at halftime.

See also  NBA 2K23 Summer League Standouts: Wiseman ends Vegas play with a solid effort

Greece quickly took the lead again in the third quarter, using an 11-3 run to take a 16-point lead into the fourth.

Slovenia scored on just 43% (23 of 54) of their attempts in the match, compared to 54% (34 of 70) for Greece, who also had the advantage in rebounding (38-25).

Croatia 80, Dominican Republic 77

Ivica Zubac made 10 of 10 field points and finished with 25 points and nine rebounds to help Croatia edge the Dominican Republic in Greece’s second semifinal of the day.

Dario Saric and Jalen Smith added 14 points each to lead Croatia into Sunday’s final with Greece for a chance to return to the Olympics for the first time since 2016.

Christopher Duarte finished with 17 points to lead the Dominican Republic.

The match witnessed 13 draws and six changes in the lead, and doubts hovered over its outcome in the last seconds.

With the score at 78-74, Dominican Republic’s Jean Montero got a steal and was fouled on a three-point attempt with three seconds left by Croatian Smith.

Montero hit the next three free throws to cut the deficit to one point.

The Dominican Republic quickly fouled Mario Hezonja, who made his next two free throws.

Duarte had a good chance to get a 3-pointer as time expired, but his shot went wide.

Brazil 71, Philippines 60

In Riga, Latvia, Bruno Caboclo had 15 points and 11 rebounds as Brazil beat the Philippines 71-60 to advance to the finals of that tournament.

Marcelinho Huertas added 13 points to help Brazil keep alive their hopes of making their first Olympic appearance since 2016.

The Brazilians will meet Latvia on Sunday in the final of that tournament.

Justin Brownlee finished with 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the Philippines, which made just 38 percent of its field goals (24 of 64) throughout the game and committed 15 fouls.

See also  White Sox acquire Max Stassi from Braves

The Philippines led 33-27 at halftime before Brazil opened the third quarter with a 14-0 run. That was part of a fourth quarter that ended with Brazil leading 24-6, before they took a 51-39 lead into the fourth quarter.

The situation did not change in the last period, as the Philippines came close to the score 53-46, before Brazil responded with eight unanswered victories to help them decide the match.

Latvia 72, Cameroon 59

In the second semi-final in Riga, Richards Lomas scored 20 points and Latvia held off several late attempts to beat Cameroon 72-59.

Rolands Smets added 13 points to help Latvia advance to Sunday’s final against Brazil, where they will seek their first Olympic appearance since 1936.

Latvia led 53-50 in the fourth quarter and started the final period with 9 points without a loss.

Cameroon managed to cut the deficit to 65-59 with 2:14 left on a successful layup by Bryce Iga-Bedias, but Latvia managed to close the game at the free throw line.

Williams Narase topped the list of Cameroon players with 14 points.

Bahamas 89, Lebanon 72

In Valencia, Spain, DeAndre Ayton scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Bahamas to an 89-72 win over Lebanon.

Buddy Hield had 19 points and 10 assists to help the Bahamas move closer to their first Olympic qualification. They will face Spain in the final on Sunday.

The Bahamas led by as many as 20 points at halftime.

Lebanon managed to narrow the gap to 75-68 in the fourth quarter, but the Bahamas outscored them 14-4 in the last 3:50 minutes of the game.

Sergio Darwish was Lebanon’s top scorer with 22 points.

Spain 81, Finland 74

Willy Hernangomez scored 28 points as Spain rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Finland 81-74 in Valencia’s second semi-final today.

See also  Golazo 100 countdown: Ranking of the best men's footballers in the world for 2024

Lorenzo Brown and Santiago Aldama added 15 points each to lead Spain into Sunday’s final against the Bahamas, as Spain seeks to qualify for its seventh straight Olympics.

Andre Gustafsson scored 15 points for Finland, which has not qualified for the Olympics since 1964.

There were three changes to the team in the last ten minutes of the match.

Finland led 59-56 in the period before taking a 66-64 lead on a three-pointer from Elias Valtonen. But Spain outscored Finland 18-8 in the rest of the match.

Lithuania 88, Italy 64

Marius Grigonis scored 23 points, including six 3-pointers, to help Lithuania easily beat Italy 88-64 and advance to the finals of the San Juan tournament in Puerto Rico.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas added 14 points as Lithuania stayed on track to qualify for its first Olympic tournament since 2016. It will face Puerto Rico on Sunday.

Lithuania led 21-4 in the second quarter and continued into the third quarter to lead 59-40.

Danilo Gallinari led Italy with 15 points.

Puerto Rico 98, Mexico 78

Tremont Waters scored 24 points to help host Puerto Rico reach Sunday’s final with a 98-78 win over Mexico.

Jordan Howard finished with 20 points to give Puerto Rico a spot in Sunday’s final against Lithuania. Puerto Rico will be trying to qualify for its first Olympics since 2004.

Seven of the last eight games between the teams have been decided by 10 points or less. The game was close again Saturday before Puerto Rico took the lead in the second half, taking a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Fabian James led Mexico with 20 points.

___

AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/Paris-2024-Olympic-Games

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *