Greece eliminates Slovenia, Luka Doncic from Olympic contention

An Olympics berth has eluded Giannis Antetokounmpo so far during his basketball career. He is one victory away from changing that.

Thomas Walkup had 19 points, Antetokounmpo added 13 points in 21 minutes, and Greece moved one victory from the Paris Games, eliminating Luka Doncic and Slovenia 96-68 on Saturday from the semifinals of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

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

Doncic finished with 21 points in the game in Piraeus, Greece, which marked first time the two NBA megastars faced each other while representing their senior national teams.

“They played way better than us. They were way more aggressive,” Doncic said. “I think they have an amazing team. Obviously, they have Giannis. But other pieces are very important for them too. And they’re very well-coached. … They outplayed us today.”

The matchup was one of eight semifinals taking place to determine the last four berths in the men’s basketball field for the Paris Games.

Vasileios Toliopoulos added 14 points for Greece, which will meet the winner of the Dominican Republic and Croatia on Sunday in the final of the Greece tournament, with the Paris Olympics berth going to the winner.

Other semifinal games are taking place Saturday at tournaments in Spain, Latvia and Puerto Rico.

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

Slovenia was put on its heels early, as Greece scored the game’s first 13 points and took a 32-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Greece’s advantage grew as high as 23 points in the second quarter before Slovenia used a late flurry to cut it to 47-33 at the half.

Greece came out fast again in the third, using a 11-3 run to get some distance, and carried a 16-point edge into the fourth quarter.

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

Brazil 71, Philippines 60

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

Marcelinho Huertas added 13 points to help Brazil keep alive hopes of playing in its first Olympics since 2016.

The Brazilians will meet the winner of Cameroon and Latvia on Sunday in the finals of that tournament.

Justin Brownlee finished with 15 points and eight rebounds to lead the Philippines, which shot 38% from the field (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.

It was more the same in the final period. The Philippines got as close as 53-46 before Brazil responded with an 8-0 run to help put the game away.

Bahamas 89, Lebanon 72

In Valencia, Spain, Deandre Ayton had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Bahamas past Lebanon 89-72.

Buddy Hield chipped in 19 points and 10 assists to help the Bahamas move within a win of making its first Olympics field. It will meet the winner of Finland and Spain in Sunday’s final.

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

Sergio El Darwich led Lebanon with 22 points.

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