Luka Doncic’s 31 point double-double drives Slovenia past Sweden in Stockholm thriller
Dallas Mavs’ star Luka Doncic scored 31 points to secure a close 81-84 win against a Sweden team that fought till the very last play of the World Cup Qualifier.
Luka Doncic scored 31 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished 6 assists while playing 36 minutes of high level summer basketball, but Slovenia still had to sink a couple of free throws with 3.8 seconds left to ensure the win against a plucky Sweden. Even in a game that Slovenia controlled from the start with a scorching hot Doncic and a rejuvenated Goran Dragic making three after three, Sweden managed to claw their way back each time, getting to be ahead 81-80 with just two minutes left.
From that point on a couple of missed shots and an improved defense from Slovenia showed the experience of the 2017 EuroBasket champions and helped them finally notch the win. Doncic showed his ambition in coming to Europe to play with Slovenia when almost no one expected him to, but as his stats reflect, he always gives his best, both in the NBA and with his national team.
Doncic now on vacation after another spectacular performance
Slovenia got back Doncic and Dragic for these last two games of the Fiba 2023 WorldCup Qualifiers with a 2-2 record and the need to win at least one game of the next two to qualify for the next phase. They got that done by handling Croatia and their NBA neighbors Bogdanovic and Zubac a 96-67 trouncing, so their next game against a weak Sweden side seemed a piece of cake. No such thing, as Sweden’s best player, Ludwig Hakanson, who plays for Bilbao Basket in Spain’s Liga Endesa, kept his team around thanks to his 24 points and 9 assists.
A packed Hovet Stadium in Stockholm roared for their national team from the very start and propelled them to come back every time Slovenia pushed their lead past five points, trying to destabilize Doncic at the same time.
Not the chants nor the tension of the scoreboard got to Luka, who kept his cool and managed to get his team a final win in the standings at the same time he had fun, by dunking on Sweden defenders, joking with his friend Dirk Nowitzki in the stands or dancing to the unusual music choices of the Swedish stadium.