The Dallas Mavericks’ superstar, Luka Doncic, has swiftly become one of the best players in the NBA. However, during the Slovenia vs Poland match in the Euro Basket 2022, Poland’s Mateusz Ponitka stole the show. Despite the shortcomings of his teammates, the injury-stricken Doncic delivered a valiant effort. Poland eventually made it to the semi-finals, where they will face France, led by Rudy Gobert.
Slovenia was eliminated after a surprising 90-87 loss despite being a 13.5-point favorite going into the quarter finals. Slovenia was unable to recover from an early deficit. Both sides played tight defense early on, with Poland only holding a three-point lead after the first quarter. In the second session, everything for Doncic’s team, though, rapidly fell apart.
When Doncic had possession of the ball, Poland frequently pre-rotated help and overloaded the strong side as part of an aggressive defensive strategy. Whether it was open jump shots or making a choice after placing the ball on the floor, players were frequently relied upon to create a play but ultimately failed to do so.
One is going to #EuroBasket2022 semi-final.
The other is Luka Doncić.
— Tomek Kordylewski (@Timi_093) September 14, 2022
Facing the immense pressure from the opposition team, Doncic didn’t do particularly well in the game, at least by his own standards. His 6-of-15 field goal shooting and 1-of-4 long-range shooting resulted in 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists. After 35 minutes, the star player was fouled out of the game.
Doncic spoke to the media after the game and was evidently frustrated with his on-court performance. For Mavericks supporters, hearing that he received an injection to help with his back during the third quarter is terrifying.
“I wasn’t in my 100%. I received an injection in the third quarter and I’ve been dealing a lot this EuroBasket”, Doncic said. “But today I played terribly, I let my team and my whole country who was supporting us down. That’s on me. I’ve gotta look back on this game and be better”.
Ponitka, on the other hand, scored 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in 35 minutes of action versus Slovenia while shooting 8 of 17 from the field and 5 of 13 from beyond the arc. The 6’6″ wing was praised by Doncic after the game. “He had an amazing game. I’m not surprised, I’ve played a couple of times against him, he’s a great player and a great leader. Probably he’s an NBA type of player, but I’m not a GM,” said Doncic.