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Friday, 15 September 2017

2017 EuroBasket: Slovenia Advance To The Final

Slovenia's Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic, right, react during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship semifinal match against Spain in Istanbul, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Slovenia's Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic, right, react during their Eurobasket European Basketball Championship semifinal match against Spain in Istanbul, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)


Spain entered EuroBasket 2017 as the heavy favorite and promptly rolled to the semifinals by winning every game by double figures. But the Spaniards ran into a Slovenian buzzsaw led by Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic and Anthony Randolph, and it will be Slovenia heading to the gold-medal game thanks to a stunning 92-72 beat down.


Dragic and Randolph led the way in scoring for Slovenia with 15 points apiece. Both players knocked in three triples as Slovenia shot a scorching hot 14-of-25 from long range. Spain, meanwhile, struggled to 7-of-27 shooting on 3-pointers and could never find a groove on either side of the floor.

Doncic didn’t shoot too well himself (3-of-10), but he made his impact felt with his all-around game. The youngster narrowly missed a triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and he also finished a game-best plus-20. He consistently picked Spain apart in the pick-and-roll by creating good looks for his teammates all over the floor, showing why some see him as the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Pau Gasol led Spain with 16 points, but he made only six of his 15 shot attempts as Spain shot 40 percent overall from the field. The Spaniards trailed by just four at halftime after a 26-point second quarter, but they were dominated in the third quarter and never threatened in the final frame.

Slovenia will look to make it a perfect tournament by winning Sunday’s final against either Serbia or Russia. At this point, the Slovenians have to be considered the favorite no matter the opponent.

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