Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece advance to Olympic qualifying final

Greece and Giannis Antetokounmp are one win away from earning bid to the Paris Olympics. 

Thomas Walkup had 19 points, Antetokounmpo added 13 points in 21 minutes and Greece beat out Luka Dončić and Slovenia, 96-68, on Saturday in the semifinals of the Olympic qualifying tournament.

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

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 on 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 an 11-3 run to get some distance and carried a 16-point edge into the fourth quarter.

Slovenia shot just 43% (23 of 54) from the field for the game. That compared to 54% (34 of 70) for Greece, which also held a 38-25 rebounding edge.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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