Luka Dončić’s Slovenia, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greece one win away from Olympics

Luka Dončić and Giannis Antetokounmpo have faced off nine times in their NBA careers, and those games have never disappointed.

They go head-to-head again on Saturday — but like never before.

Dončić and Slovenia will play Antetokounmpo and Greece in one of the eight semifinal games of the Olympic qualifying tournaments that are taking place to determine the last four berths in the men’s basketball field for the Paris Games. The game in Piraeus, Greece, is the first time the two megastars will face one another while representing their senior national teams.

“We’re looking forward to this,” Slovenia coach Aleksander Sekulic said.

The last time Dončić and Antetokounmpo played head-to-head was Feb. 3, when Antetokounmpo scored 48 points for Milwaukee. Dončić finished with 40 for Dallas, and the Bucks prevailed, 129-117.

It was the seventh consecutive time in a Dončić vs. Antetokounmpo matchup that both played and finished with at least 27 points. Antetokounmpo has scored at least 28 in all nine of his outings against Dallas when Dončić plays.

“Both teams have the same goal,” Sekulic said. “Of course, the home team is the favorite. But I think we can also go into this game knowing we have chances to win. As I always say, you’ve got to show it on the court.”

The game is also a chance for Dončić to play against a team coached by one of his heroes. He has called Greece coach Vasilis Spanoulis one of his idols; Dončić wears jersey No. 77 now because Spanoulis wore No. 7 as a player.

“He just showed a lot of players how to play basketball,” Dončić said.

The winner of the Greece-Slovenia game takes on either Croatia or the Dominican Republic in Sunday’s tournament final, with the Paris Olympics berth going to the winner.

Reporting by The Associated Press. 

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