Greece eliminates Slovenia, Luka Doncic from Olympic Games

An Olympic berth has eluded Giannis Antetokounmpo so far in his basketball career, and he’s just one win away from changing that.

Thomas Walkup had 19 points, Antetokounmpo added 13 points in 21 minutes and Greece moved one win away from the Paris Games by knocking out Luka Doncic and Slovenia 96-68 in the semifinals of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

“Since coach [Vassilis] Spanoulis took over this whole deal, it was one goal and that’s to make it to the Olympics,” Walkup said. “We’re just one game away. We have to stay humble and focused.”

Doncic finished with 21 points in the game in Piraeus, Greece. It was the first time the two NBA megastars faced each other for their national team.

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

The game was one of eight semifinals held to determine the last four spots in the men’s basketball tournament for the Paris Olympics.

Vasileios Toliopoulos added 14 points for Greece, which will face the winner of the Dominican Republic and Croatia in the final of the tournament in Greece on Sunday. The winner will earn a ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris.

More semi-finals will take place on Saturday at tournaments in Spain, Latvia and Puerto Rico.

Doncic, who played in the NBA Finals for the Dallas Mavericks despite injuries in their five-game loss to the Boston Celtics, averaged 31 points in Slovenia’s first two qualifying games. But he came out flat against Greece’s big front line on Saturday.

Slovenia was quickly caught off guard as Greece scored the first 13 points of the game to take a 32-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Greece’s lead grew to 23 points in the second quarter, but Slovenia quickly reduced the halftime score to 47-33.

Greece came out of the blocks quickly again in the third quarter, using an 11-3 run to pull away and take a 16-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Slovenia shot 43% (23 of 54) from the field, compared to 54% (38 of 70) for Greece, which also had a 38-25 rebounding edge.

Brazil 71, Philippines 60

In Riga, Latvia, Bruno Caboclo scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Brazil defeated the Philippines 71-60 to advance to the final of that tournament.

Marcelinho Huertas added 13 points to help Brazil keep alive their hopes of reaching the Olympics since 2016.

The Brazilians will play the final of that tournament on Sunday against the winners of Cameroon and Latvia.

Justin Brownlee finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, leading the Philippines as they made 38% of their shots (24 of 64) and had 15 turnovers.

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

The final period was more of the same, with the Philippines coming as close as 53-46 before Brazil responded with an 8-0 run to decide the game.

Bahamas 89, Lebanon 72

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

Buddy Hield had 19 points and 10 assists to help the Bahamas move within a victory of its first Olympic team, which will face the winner of Finland and Spain in the final on Sunday.

The Bahamas led by as many as 20 points in the first half.

Sergio El Darwich led Lebanon with 22 points.

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