October 4, 2022

Fresh off a win against Germany on Tuesday in which Luka Doncic finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, a reporter asked the Slovenian superstar who he thinks will score the most points in a single EuroBasket game between himself, Nikola Jokic or Giannis Antetokounmpo. Doncic thought about it for a second, and said he would put his money on Antetokounmpo.

“I’d bet on Giannis,” Doncic said. “Why? Because he’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.”

That’s a reasonable answer, especially since Giannis just put up 41 points hours before Doncic took on Germany, which turned out to be the most points in a EuroBasket game since Dirk Nowitzki scored 43 in 2001. However, just 20 hours after Slovenia knocked off the previously unbeaten Germany team, Doncic followed up his stellar performance from Tuesday with an absurd 47-point game in a win against France to help his team finish in first place in Group B. Not only did Doncic’s point total surpass Giannis’ mark, it was also the most points scored in a single EuroBasket game in the last 65 years and second-highest scoring tally in the tournament’s history.

It took a while for Doncic to get settled into the game, missing free-throw opportunities in the first quarter and trying to get his teammates involved with his passing. But when the second quarter began, he started off by knocking down back-to-back 3-point shots, a tell-tale sign the 23 year old is starting to heat up.

Then came this completely ridiculous play with four minutes left in the first half, in which Doncic shirks off the double-team pressure from France to pull off this circus-like 3-point shot:

Slovenian forward and member of the Denver Nuggets, Vlatko Cancar knew Doncic had it cooking when he made that shot.

“When I saw that, I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be a long night for France,'” Cancar said.

Doncic’s built up a reputation for knocking down wild shots like that dating back to his days playing with Real Madrid as a teenager, but it doesn’t make it any less shocking when he actually pulls it off. 

By the end of the first half Doncic already worked his way up to 27 points, and his dominance carried over into the second half as well. He worked in his increasingly dangerous mid-range game, picked apart mismatches to get his shots at the rim and his 3-ball was falling, something that has been a bit of a weakness of his over this tournament. 

What’s most impressive about Doncic’s performance was he only needed 23 shots to get to 47 points, shooting 65 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point territory. Every shot of Doncic’s was a necessity for Slovenia, who battled back and forth with France to the very end to claim the top spot in Group B before heading to the knockout stage.

The last two performances we’ve seen from Doncic in this tournament should be a scary sight for the rest of the NBA. Though there’s still over a month away from the 2022-23 NBA season, Doncic looks like he’s in the best shape of his NBA career while playing with Slovenia. He’s added some muscle, which has made him even stronger when he drives to the rim and posts-up smaller defenders, and he hasn’t looked like he’s skipped a beat since carrying the Dallas Mavericks to the Western Conference finals last season. 

Doncic is currently the favorite to win MVP next season, according to Caesars Sportsbook, and if this is the version we’re going to get of him, then it won’t be surprising to see him win that hardware at season’s end. 

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