Nicolas Batum's late block stuns Luka Doncic, Slovenia as France advances to Olympic gold-medal recreation

The miraculous run by Luka Doncic and the Slovenian males’s nationwide basketball group on the Olympics will now should pivot for bronze. 

Slovenia was only one basket away from nearly definitely locking up a win in opposition to France when Klemen Prepelic, who had been on hearth with seven factors within the fourth quarter, went up for a layup with 4 seconds remaining within the Olympic semifinal recreation. 

However Nicolas Batum met him on the rim, swatting the ball in opposition to the glass, permitting it to rebound into the fingers of Rudy Gobert, who sealed the win for France on Thursday. 

France will now transfer on to face the US within the gold-medal recreation on Friday evening, whereas Slovenia will face Australia aiming to go away Tokyo with the bronze medal. 

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Doncic completed with a triple-double of 16 factors, 18 assists and 10 rebounds as he fell to 17-1 in his worldwide enjoying profession. He shot 5-for-18 from the sector.

It regarded for a second like Slovenia may need one final little bit of magic left of their Olympic males’s basketball event run. 

The Slovenians had been outscored 29-21 within the third quarter by France to fall down 71-65, however managed to tie the sport with 3:07 left on a layup from Mike Tobey. Simply over 10 seconds later, France’s Nando De Colo made a layup to provide France the lead once more and with 59 seconds remaining, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot made a 3-pointer to increase France’s lead out to 90-85. 

However Slovenia wasn’t performed. Prepelic made his second of two free throws to make it a 90-86 recreation 5 seconds later and made a 3-pointer with 34 seconds remaining within the recreation. Then, De Colo missed a layup that Doncic rebounded, setting Prepelic and Slovenia up for a closing offensive possession, throughout which the block passed off. 

It did not assist that Doncic injured his left wrist in the course of the third quarter when he chased down a unfastened ball out of bounds and crashed into plexiglass. The damage clearly deterred him from eager to shoot extra within the quarter as he tried solely two pictures within the fourth quarter and none within the closing 4 minutes of the sport.

This was a recreation the place Slovenia confirmed its depth as 5 gamers reached double-digit factors. Tobey led with 23, Prepelic had 17, Doncic had 16, Jaka Blazic had 14 and Vlatko Cancar had 11. 

However the defensive talents of Gobert and a pair of 20-plus-point performances from Evan Fournier (23) and De Colo (25) proved an excessive amount of to beat for Slovenia. 

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