Cologne – Two days after his first-ever EuroBasket loss and a sloppy shooting night, Luka Doncic came back with his best performance in the competition. Ever.
Doncic shattered his single-game scoring record in EuroBasket with 36 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds as he and Slovenia bounced back from an upset vs. Bosnia by handing co-host Germany its first defeat in the tournament.
This 36-point output mark Doncic’s second-highest scoring display with his national team after the 48 points he dropped on Argentina last year in the Olympic Games. His offensive prowess was fully unleashed and displayed, with aggressive drives to the basket, slashes that lacerated the opposing defense, the trademark step-back jumpers and tough finishers over players absolutely dismantled every strategy the German side had to stop him.
The German national team players were saying that “Luka Doncic happened” when asked about the result, but the Dallas Mavericks player had a different way of seeing things.
“I don’t agree. I think Slovenia happened,” Doncic said in the post-game presser. He had previously praised his teammates for helping him leave behind his mostly underwhelming games in the first three EuroBasket rounds and recover his form in superb fashion.
“They pushed me,” Doncic mentioned. “I hadn’t had a good game since being here. So my teammates helped me a lot.”
“I think Slovenia happened.”
Asked if he finds any differences between the way players approach him defensively in the NBA and in Europe, Doncic admitted that while he’s facing superior individual defenders in the NBA, the group defenses that teams are throwing at him in Europe are stronger.
He explained that this is happening because of the international basketball rules that benefit the use of different tactics and strategies
“I think you have better defenders in the NBA obviously. But here in Europe, the team defense is more impressive obviously,” Doncic said in the post-game presser after Slovenia’s Eurobasket win over co-host Germany. “Because of the smaller court, you don’t have the three-second violation. So I think the team defense is very important.”
Luka had made similar comments during his rookie NBA season when he made headlines by saying that it’s “easier” to score in the NBA than in Europe, mainly because of the rules and the size of the floor.
A few hours before Doncic’s opus, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo went to work as well with 41 points in a win for Greece over Ukraine. When he was asked if he, Jokic or Giannis can break the all-time EuroBasket record,” the Slovenian player gave a clear answer.
“Giannis. Why? Because he’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.”