Luka Doncic Drops Triple-Double as Slovenia Beats Lithuania, Clinches Olympics Berth

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 4, 2021

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic celebrates after they scored during the second half in Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Luka Doncic helped Slovenia earn a spot in the Summer Olympics in men's basketball after producing a triple-double in Sunday's qualifying win over Lithuania.

Slovenia secured the 96-85 win in the finals of the six-team qualifying tournament in Kaunas, Lithuania, giving the country its first trip to the Olympics in the sport. Doncic starred with 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in the clinching game.

ESPN @espn

Luka Doncic and Slovenia have qualified to compete in the Olympics for the first time in the nation's history 👏 <a href="https://t.co/5ZxJZ6xD7t">pic.twitter.com/5ZxJZ6xD7t</a>

Lithuania featured NBA players like Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas, but the perennial international contender fell short of a trip to Tokyo.

The European squad had competed at the last seven Olympic Games, earning three bronze medals in that stretch.

Sunday's game was a close one early with the two teams tied 52-52 at halftime. Lithuania used a balanced attack offensively as five players reached double figures over the 40-minute battle, although Sabonis was held to just nine in the loss.

The difference came in a third quarter that saw Slovenia outscore its opponent 28-17. Doncic was nearly unstoppable offensively, shooting 13-of-23 from the field while his team finished 13-of-31 (42 percent) from three-point range.

With the Olympic bid, Slovenia builds on its 2017 EuroBasket title as the country becomes a legitimate power behind Doncic.

The Dallas Mavericks guard has already proved himself in the NBA with two All-Star selections and a Rookie of the Year award in his first three seasons. He continues to elevate his game as he looks to lead his home country to greater heights.