It’s Luka vs Giannis, with either Slovenia or Greece set to move one win from Paris Olympics

It’s Luka vs Giannis, with either Slovenia or Greece set to move one win from Paris Olympics

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

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

Doncic 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 Doncic and Antetokounmpo played head-to-head was February 3, when Antetokounmpo scored 48 points for Milwaukee, Doncic finished with 40 for Dallas, and the Bucks prevailed 129-117.

It was the seventh consecutive time in a Luka vs. Giannis 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 Doncic 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 Doncic to play against a team coached by one of his heroes. He has called Greece coach Vasilis Spanoulis one of his idols; Doncic wears jersey No 77 now because Spanoulis wore No 7 as a player.

“He just showed a lot of players how to play basketball,” Doncic 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. [AP]

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