Greece worked their magic and dominated Slovenia 96-68, powering through to the Pre-Olympic final (updated)

One step, one victory, 40 minutes of play. That’s how close the Greek national team is to the Paris Olympic Games, as Luka Doncic’s Slovenia proved to be a low hurdle, with the 96-68 win giving Greece the opportunity to compete for the “magic” ticket in the Pre-Olympic final at SEF (7/7 – 21:00) against either Croatia or the Dominican Republic.

Spanoulis managed the rotation excellently, keeping Giannis Antetokounmpo on the court for just 20 minutes and 52 seconds as the score widened. The three guards of the national team played an outstanding game, with Calathes distributing the ball and Walkup and Toliopoulos executing.

Greece vs. Slovenia: The Match

The Greek national team aimed to capitalize early on their home advantage and the performances of Antetokounmpo and Calathes. Antetokounmpo started strong with 5 points, while Calathes orchestrated the game, contributing with scoring and playmaking to a 13-0 lead (3′). Doncic, initially guarded by Papanikolaou, interrupted the streak, and Slovenia found a reference point in Nimbo. However, once Doncic sat on the bench, the 22-14 lead expanded to 32-14, with Toliopoulos hitting a buzzer-beater and Greece having 7 assists and zero turnovers.

Aris’s guard, coming off the bench, quickly added 7 personal points, and Greece not only maintained the lead but extended it to 39-18 (12′). The relay on Doncic continued, with Spanoulis aiming to get the ball out of his hands, leading Greece to a +23 lead (42-19, 14′), just before the Mavericks’ superstar hit his first three-pointer. At that point, Greece’s offense stalled, allowing Slovenia to reduce the lead to 47-33 with a 0-5 run.

The third period started with three long-range shots from Walkup, restoring the +22 difference (58-36, 24′). Doncic realized he needed to take more initiatives, but Greece’s defense was relentless. During a two-minute scoring drought, Toliopoulos answered by coming off the bench again with a three-pointer (66-47, 30′), though Doncic responded immediately.

Lountzis sealed Greece’s victory. The -16 deficit was erased with two of his shots, and Giannis delivered the final blow, opening up Greece’s fast break (74-52, 32′). At that point, Slovenia waved their white flag, with Lountzis continuing to bombard the basket, igniting the crowd at SEF (82-53, 33′). The party was already underway in Faliro, with everyone just waiting for the final whistle, as Giannis rested towards the end, and the score settled at 96-68.

WHY THEY WON: From the first minute, Greece was fully focused on their game plan, trying to limit Doncic as much as possible. Beyond Giannis and the outstanding performances of Calathes and Walkup, the team received contributions from everyone on both offense and defense.

THE BEST OF ALL: An outstanding game from Thomas Walkup, who chased Luka Doncic whenever needed, scoring 19 points (4/6 2-pointers, 3/8 3-pointers), grabbing 6 rebounds, and dishing out 2 assists.

CO-STAR IN THE VICTORY: Giannis played as much as needed with 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Instant scoring from Toliopoulos, who finished with 14 points, was also crucial.

PERFORMANCE IN VAIN: Luka Doncic stopped at 21 points (2/5 2-pointers, 5/9 3-pointers), with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 10 turnovers.

STAT OF THE MATCH: Luka Doncic’s 10 turnovers. Despite his talent allowing him to make shots, he struggled against Greece’s defense.

Quarters: 32-14, 47-33, 66-50, 96-68

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