Luka Doncic’s Olympic debut was one of the best in the history of the Summer Games.
During the contest, the 22-year-old Mavericks’ star put up a whopping 48 points for his native Slovenia, which is making its first Olympic appearance. That mark tied him for the second-most points in an Olympic game with Australian Ed Palubinskas, who scored 48 at the 1976 Montreal Games.
Doncic was on pace to break the record of 55 set by Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. However, he checked out with 4:35 remaining on the clock in Slovenia’s 118-100 win.
“I don’t care about records,” Doncic said of his performance. “We got a win and that’s what we came here for.”
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Indeed, Slovenia got an emphatic victory and recorded the highest point total of the 2021 Olympics to date. As Argentina’s coach Sergio Hernandez admitted, the Argentine squad was helpless to stop Doncic’s advances.
“We tried everything that we would have tried against a normal player,” Hernandez said, per ESPN. “But he’s not a normal player.”
Luis Scola also spoke well of Doncic, saying the 22-year-old was “unbelievable” and “too good” for Argentina to stop. And Scola would know. The 41-year-old is playing in his record-tying fifth Olympic Games with Argentina.
Hernandez agreed with Scola’s sentiments and took it a step further. He believes Doncic has already established himself as the top player in the world.
“For me, I said this two years ago: He is the best player in the world, including the NBA,” Hernandez said. “And if there was any doubt in my mind, there is no doubt anymore. He is the best player in the world.”
Doncic’s next chance to shine will come against the host nation, Japan, which possesses two NBA players, Rui Hachimura (Wizards) and Yuta Watanabe (Raptors). The two countries are scheduled for a 12:40 a.m. ET tilt on Thursday, July 29.